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Pattern Review: Burda 01-2009-108 Blouse

2012 December 3
by elizabeth_admin




Pattern Description:  Blouse with pockets, collar and stand, button bands, and sleeve plackets.  I opted to leave off the pockets and I don’t think I need to explain why.  😉

Pattern Sizing: 36-44.  I made the size 38 with a 3 inch FBA and some other minor fit changes along the way.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Not really.  I chose a completely different kind of fabric than what Burda suggested.  They suggested “fluid, light-weight blouse fabrics.  I used linens.  Choosing to leave off the pockets also significantly changes the look of the  blouse as well.  And finally, my preferred way of wearing the blouse as an overshirt rather than on it’s own with the buttons done up also makes the look and feel drastically different.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  The basic construction instructions were okay, especially if you have made shirts before and know your way around collars and stands and shirt order of construction.  But the sleeve placket instructions are inscrutable.  Even after making several test plackets and and a total of 4 final plackets, I still can’t decipher their instructions.  I used Pam Erny’s tutorial for my shirt.  It was the most helpful to me tutorial I could find.

Pam Erny’s method sleeve placket


I tried David Coffin’s method from his Shirtmaking book, but I still couldn’t wrap my ahead around it until I read Pam’s info.  I do love his book though.  His collar and stand methods are fantastic.

I also found another, simpler way to construct a sleeve placket with a single continuous strip from The Rusty Bobbin.  It was super easy and would work well with fine shirtings or silks, but with my linen, the point was a bit too bulky.

Continuous single piece sleeve placket sample on the left in red linen. On the right is my Pam Erny method sample


What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?


  • Good basic shirt pattern
  • Drafted well
  • Loved all the darts and CB seam for all the fitting and shaping opportunities they provided
  • The sleeve placket instructions were horrible.

Fabric used:  As mentioned above, I used linens for my two versions of this blouse.  I used to have a tan linen blouse in the early 90’s that I wore to death.  I eventually wore holes in the elbows.  I loved wearing it as a layering piece.  My first version was a red linen I bought from P&S Fabrics in NYC early on in my sewing “career”.  I bought it with the intention of making just such a shirt for layering.  And now I have.  🙂   The second version is an absolutely delicious purple linen which I am embarrassed to report I cannot recall its provenance.  I do know I bought it in the last year though.  This purple  linen has slightly more body than the red linen and it has a luxe sheen to it.  I adore this version.

Pattern changes or design changes made:   

  • I made two muslins of this blouse before cutting into my red linen determining my 3 inch FBA, moving the darts up and down, giving the CB seam lots of shape to eliminate the swayback issues.  I wanted this blouse to be fitted, but not overly fitted, and to skim my torso.  I wanted to look like I still had a figure, but not be skin tight.
  • On the finished red linen version, I noticed that the shoulders were a little extended off my shoulder.  And I see that on the model picture above, they’re extended as well so it must be a design choice.  For the purple version I shaved off 3/8’s tapering to nothing in the armscye.  That helped, but I think I need to take another 1/4 inch off the next time as well.  I reduced some curve off the upper back of the CB seam for the purple version as there seemed to be some dowager’s hump action going on in the red version.  I like it much better now.
  • I cut out an addtional back yoke piece so I could use this burrito method of yoke construction from Pins and Needles to completely enclose the yoke seams and give a nice clean finish to the interior of the shirt.
  • Left off the pockets
  • Added more topstitching to the finished blouses on the collars, yokes, side seams, sleeve plackets, cuffs and button bands.  Why not?

Interior of Burrito Yoke with clean finish

Any problems encountered while sewing this pattern?  Why yes, how did you know to ask?

  • Many newbie shirtmaking mistakes on the red version: used the wrong weight of interfacing and had to recut a lot of pattern pieces, forgot to add length to the button band after making my FBA alteration to the shirt front.  I must have cut out the cuffs like 3 times each, the collar and stand twice and the button bands twice.  But it was all worth it in the end.
  • I had major buttonholer problems with the buttonholer that came with my Husqvarna Emerald 183.  It was very distressing actually.  Distressing to me emotionally and distressing to my linen as I almost destroyed my red linen shirt trying to add the buttonholes.  I had to rip out buttonhole stitching three times each on two of the buttons.  I didn’t think it would be salvageable.  But thankfully it was after I purchased a vintage Singer Buttonholer for my Featherweight machine (thanks for the tip Peter!).  It took some practice (and a hammer, but more on that in tomorrow’s post), but I was able to successfully add buttonholes to both my shirts.  Phew!
  • My cuffs somehow have the pleats running the wrong way.  They open away from the cuff.  Again, user error.  I’m so annoyed.  Am I annoyed enough to correct it?  No, I don’t think so.  I will most likely wear my shirt with the cuffs rolled up so the offending pleats will be less noticeable.  Also, ripping out two rows of topstitching to correct the pleats is not exactly high on my list of pleasurable activities right now.


Distressed buttonhole


Backwards pleats


Which sewing machine(s) did you use for construction?  I used my Singer Featherweight for all of the construction, topstitching and buttonholes.  I used my Brother 234D overlocker for the seam finishing.  And I hand sewed the buttons on as I was so annoyed with my Husqvarna Emerald 183 for the buttonhole debacle, that I didn’t want to deal with it for attaching the buttons.  I used Peter’s tip to tape the buttons in place on the button band to sew them.  The tape made it sooo easy.


Plastic buttons from Botani in NYC


Dill metal buttons from Yardage Town in San Diego


Will you sew it again or recommend it to others?  YES!!!  Definitely I will sew it again. It’s a great base pattern for a shirt/blouse.  And I definitely recommend it to you with the caveat that shirtmaking is not for the faint of heart.  There are a lot of details.  The collar/stand construction takes some practice as do the sleeve plackets.  But the details are what make something stand out and are so worth it.  My collar/stand on the purple shirt showed vast improvement over the red shirt and I assume the next shirt will show even more improvement.  Shirtmaking involves a lot of skills.  So I don’t recommend shirtmaking for a beginning sewist.

When I do make this shirt again, I will tweak the fit a little bit more by shaving off a 1/4 inch from the shoulders, maybe vary the topstitching distances in different places, insert the pleats correctly and fine-tune my sleeve plackets.  Also there is some tightness in the upper arms.  I think I need to add some width there.  Will have to research that first though.  And while I have no unintentional pleats in my sleeve head, it seems a bit poufy to me.  Will the poufiness resolve when I add width to the sleeve?  And the sleeves seem a bit long to me.  What do you guys think?  Any advice?

Conclusion:  I love my shirts.  And I’m proud of them despite their backwards pleats.  I know I will wear them both to death.  RSF people beware: You will see me in these shirts ad nauseum!

And now for some pictures 0f the shirts worn…




How I will usually wear the shirt, as a layering piece







I’m not sure what I’m going to work on next.  I kind of want to make another shirt actually.  I’m on a roll I think and I find that I really like shirtmaking.  I will write  an in-depth buttonholer post soon though.

Happy sewing everyone!


22 Responses leave one →
  1. December 3, 2012

    The shirts look great, Elizabeth! I’m eager to hear what you used the hammer for.

  2. Shams permalink
    December 3, 2012

    Both tops look great, Elizabeth. A perfect fit!

  3. Renee permalink
    December 3, 2012

    The shirts look great! You did a great job with the fit. I hope you love wearing them!

  4. December 3, 2012

    Way to persevere! Your review is very helpful but more importantly, you look great!

  5. December 3, 2012

    I agree with the other commenters. They look great! You’re so inspiring!

  6. December 3, 2012

    Love the fabric, especially the purple. Beautiful shirts, lovely fit!

  7. December 3, 2012

    Very nice shirts. I am with you on Burda placket instructions. I haven’t figured them out, ever. Whenever I see a Burda sleeve placket, I substitute bias binding for the vent finish!

  8. December 4, 2012

    What a lovely shape! Exactly what you said you were aiming for. Isn’t it great when a project comes out just like you wanted. I bet there will be more of these in the future.

  9. December 4, 2012

    You’re not the only person who has sleeve pleats facing in the wrong direction! I made that mistake on the ruffle front shirt I just made 🙂 To keep it straight in my head I did hit on this trick: install the placket first and then do the pleat because I can orient it from the finished placket. On the questions you asked: (1) is the tightness really in your upper arm or is it more of a binding across the back? The fix is different depending on the problem. I also had to solve this issue in my shirts. I an PM you about this. (2) I do think the sleeves are a tad too long but not by much, maybe 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch and (3) yes the sleeves are too blousey and this is a trait I’ve noticed in every shirt pattern I’ve used this year (from different pattern companies), the drafting is just not up to the current RTW standard. For my shirts I’ve narrowed the sleeve to be not much wider than the finished cuff so that the blousey-ness is captured only in the pleat (e.g. no easing of the sleeve where it attaches to the cuff.)

  10. December 4, 2012

    Nice! The fit is awesome! I wouldn’t worry about a distressed button hole. My button holes are pretty hit and miss.

  11. December 4, 2012

    Love linen. Especially love purple linen. The shirts look fabulous. Good job.

  12. December 4, 2012

    Great shirt/great fit! I just recently made a Burda Button up (haven’t posted it yet) and I found the placket instructions as well as the collar/collar stand instructions to be totally confusing. I wound up looking at demostration on Youtube.

  13. Cornelia permalink
    December 4, 2012

    I really love the purple version. The fit looks really good, especially from the back. I wonder if you would shorten the sleeves a wee bit if you make another. Maybe the photos are misleading however. Looking foward to your post on the buttonholer.

  14. Patti permalink
    December 5, 2012

    The shirts look really good. I think I would revisit the fit of the shoulder points. I think they are out too far or if you want them out that far, I would change the shape of the shoulder point so it doesn’t drop so tightly. That may be affecting the fit of the sleeves.

  15. December 5, 2012

    I am so late to the party on this one but E., these are so cute! So the pleats are facing the wrong way, you’ve learned something new for the next time! Sewing is a process ~ getting better is doing something wrong and getting up and doing it correctly the next time. Gawd girl you need to make more of these!

  16. December 5, 2012

    You’ve done a great job and the fit is very good. I think you should consider shortening the sleeve just a smidge next time around, but otherwise, c’est parfait!

  17. December 5, 2012

    Just realised my blogsite has been incorrectly attached to my comments.

  18. December 6, 2012

    Wow! Wonderful shirts! Great job!

  19. December 10, 2012

    Super cute!

  20. Angelique permalink
    December 13, 2012

    Beautiful and the fit looks so nice. You just can’t get that custom fit in RTW. I like how you can style it as an over-jacket. LOVE IT. Make a dozen!

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