burdastyle | ballet wrap top

i’ve thought way too much about how to cleanly finish the hem for a wrap top, so i thought i would share my most successful method. my thoughts on this started with my coppelia wrap cardi and my dissatisfaction with the pattern’s instructions. i like the idea of a hem band because often the knits i would choose for this kind of cardigan would be difficult to hem with a twin needle (since i don’t have a coverhem machine in my arsenal). i was determined to find a better way, and was able to have a second (and third) try on ballet wrap tops i made for two of my girls.


i used burda 12/2011 #143 and made a few pattern changes so i could finish all the edges with bands. i cut 2″ off the sleeve hem (and replaced it with a wide cuff), 1″ off the bottom hem, and simply left the neckline as is on the pattern. the pattern has a wrap around edge binding, so adding the band as i did brings the neckline in a little. however, looking at the picture on burda’s model, the neckline looks pretty wide, and adding a neckband band fixed that.


so here’s how i do the hem band and ties: take the tie pieces and sew the side and one end, and turn them right side out and press (this burda pattern has you do more of a spaghetti strap thin tie, but i prefer the look of a wider tie). the rest you can see in the following pictures.

i love how easy this is, and so much less fiddly than the coppelia instructions.

as far as this particular pattern goes, i made up the girls standard RTW size (i didn’t measure them for size) and the fit is a little bigger than i would have preferred. however, they should be able to get at least two years of wear with these sweaters. the regulation dance wrap sweaters are $20-25 each, and i made two for under $15, with fabric to spare. this is one of those cases where making it was a huge money saver.

as you can see, the sleeves are ridiculously long. in burda’s defense, Isabella is quite small for her age.


i don’t have any modeled pics of my other daughter, sylvia, but the fit on her is much better. still large, but not comically so. the girls love their sweaters so much, they’ve hardly taken them off since i made them! they have worn it with dresses, leggings, skirts, jeans, you name it. this turns out to be a much more useful sweater than i would have anticipated.

—lisa g.

shorts and wrap top | mccalls 6689

a while ago i placed and received an order from fashionfabricsclub.com and had ordered a smokey black with white polka dot cotton lawn. pretty sure i would classify it as a stretch poplin. not sure who is categorizing their inventory, but i think a lesson in fabric identification is in order. after getting it i wasn’t sure what to do with it. i only had a narrow yard, so it was destined to be a kid something. i did know that some khaki twill i had ordered was going to be shorts for my oldest daughter. i had mccalls 6689 on hand which includes a super cute wrap top/dress, a pair of slim pants, and a mini skirt. that, my friends, is a lot of pattern for one pattern envelope.


clearly the top/dress is the star of the show here, and the mini might be okay, but the pants are most definitely a throwaway pattern. the drafting is beyond terrible—there’s no way anyone tested it! so let’s talk about the pants first. i decided it would be cute to make the pants as slim knee-length shorts. she measured exactly the waist/hip for a size 7 so i went with it. these have an at-waist waistband, so i chopped off 1″ all the way around the top and adjusted the waistband to match.

PicMonkey shorts

i made them up and holy smokes are they poorly drafted! the front rise is way too long, and the back is way too short. a simple moving of the crotch seam forward would solve all this, and had anyone actually made them, this would be so very obvious. a size 6 would have been a much better fit, but it just doesn’t feel right sewing up a size 6 for a nine year old. i know we all love to hate on the big 4—and this is why. yeah, i’ll probably re-draft and adjust the pattern because i really like the idea of this pant, but jeez louise. test your flippin’ patterns. don’t just throw them out there thinking no one will actually try to make it!

somehow, all the fit issues aren’t readily obvious in these pics, and as it stands, she loves the shorts and sees nothing wrong with them. they will be worn (and have been worn many times already) but they could be so much better. final verdict: unless you plan on doing a muslin for those pants and know how to make crotch adjustments, STAY AWAY. just walk away. that pattern sucks.


on to the top… when i went to cut out the shorts it dawned on me that the cotton lawn stretch poplin would be a perfect match for the cute wrap top. of course after the debacle with the pants, i was hesitant to attempt the top. but, like i said before, clearly the pants were a throwaway pattern never intended to be made up, so i decided to give it a try. p.s. this top has a billion pieces! i had just enough fabric to squeeze it out of the one yard i had. i strayed from the pattern’s directions quite a bit though. it has the top fully lined (bodice, peplum/skirt, and sleeves!), and honestly i think that is just a lazy way out of  writing alternate directions for finishing a non-eyelet fabric. so instead of the lining, i used bias tape to finish the wrap edge and around the neck, and used the inside waistband piece to neatly finish the bodice and skirt seams.

photo 3

while the pants were quite large, the same size top is a great fit. maybe too good, i probably could have made the size 8, never minding that the last time i made her a size 8 of something it was practically falling off of her…. you never can tell how crazy the fit is going to be on kid patterns!


anyways, this top is super duper cute! and the girl loves the whole outfit. i may even do the dress version at some point because who doesn’t love a little DVF-inspired wrap?

—lisa g.