collectively, half of a woven top

When I started Butterick 5356 for the second time, I was not in the mood to use woven fabric, even for the yoke. But I did, in the name of science… with a knit, I would not have been able to tell as easily if the changes I made were right. This one is indeed a much better fit, and it’s perfectly comfortable because of that. I’ll explain what I did.

Butterick 5356 better this time!

In case you missed my last post, I made a straight XXL (24-26) the first time I made this pattern (although my usual size is a 22 with alterations), and I regretted it. So back to the tracing board I went. With the yoke pieces, I traced the XL lines everywhere except at the shoulder seam. This reduced that excess width at the underarm, and it also shortened the sleeve. Leaving the shoulder seam at an XXL ensured that I still had enough ease in the upper arm. I left the neckline at XL — that, in conjunction with the larger sized (read: higher) shoulder seam, made the neckline came down a little lower. In the below pic, the purple outline represents my new cutting lines at the XL size; the part I left at XXL is pink. The green annotation shows where the underarm part of the yoke came out further on the first version… that inch made a world of difference:

Butterick 5356 yoke - pattern alteration
click for larger version

And finally, I made the slight changes to the lower front/back pieces. For these, I traced an XL everywhere, widening to an XXL at the hem. This removed the excess ease from the bust area but left it at the hips. In the below pic, you can see the better fit below my left arm. (The first version is here.)

Butterick 5356 worked much better the 2nd time

I’ve now washed and worn both of these new tops more than once, and this second one looks and feels much better at the arms/yoke. I really like this pattern now, and I will likely make it again. It doesn’t take much time at all and is a little nicer than a plain t-shirt. I think the main limitation is that it doesn’t easily lend itself to the more fitted silhouette that some prefer. As I mentioned last time, it’s definitely better with something drapey, at least for the lower part, despite the “lightweight broadcloth and stable knits” fabric recommendation on the envelope. Ye ol’ envelope… sometimes it knows stuff, sometimes not so much.

Lastly, a fabric detail shot. I made the yoke from a lightweight cotton shirting from Sarah’s Fabrics. The main fabric is a bamboo knit from Common Thread — it’s medium in terms of thickness, but somehow bamboo is quite heavy weight-wise, so that makes it drape well. It’s awfully soft, too. This is my first time using an all-bamboo knit, so I don’t know how likely it is to pill — anyone have experience with that?

Butterick 5356 fabric up close

Comments 10

  • Your top is really cute. Thanks for including your fitting tips; that really helps. I have used bamboo knit and mine have not pilled. My only complaint is they take forever to dry in the dryer. I guess, I should not be putting my knits in the dryer anyway…oh well.

    Thanks, Claire! I’m glad to hear that — so far so good on mine too. I always put my t-shirt type knits in the dryer, but I remember hearing that for rayons, that exacerbates the pilling, so I have been taking it out while it’s still damp. And you’re right, that’s easy to do with this one — it’s still damp when everything else is dry! ~Susan

  • I just found your blog through your review at PR. Great blog and lovely top – and even more excitingly (is that even a word?) for me…I think we are fairly similar in shape! So it (and the alterations you so kindly showed) should work for me, too. I’m now going to spend a little while going back through your other posts. Thanks!

    That is fortunate, Kelley, and I’m so glad to hear it! It can be rare to find someone who needs similar alterations, so I’m happy that I can save someone else some time and fabric. :-) Good to “meet” you! ~Susan

  • I’ve seen this pattern before, and it looks like such a great idea, but I think the execution can be challenging. Thanks for explaining your process on this one. It looks so nice on you!

    Thank you Gail, I appreciate it! I agree… I think it looks deceptively simple. ;-) ~Susan

  • REALLY cute one, sis! Love it.

    Thanks!! :-)

  • An Austinite?! Yay! I cannot tell you how excited I get when I “meet” an Austin sewist online. I’ve been wondering how big the sewing community is there since I’ll be moving back there eventually.

    I love the top and mix of fabric types. Great improvement on the size. It looks great.

    How awesome that I may get to meet you IRL one of these days! :-) The sewing community here is INCREDIBLE. Thanks for the compliment on my top… That Hazel is happening soon — it has been calling to me, loudly! ~Susan

  • Susan, you did well with the changes, it looks like a perfect fit now. Great job not giving up and pushing through the frustration!

    Thanks Kim — I’m glad that I did, too! I really did it mostly out of curiosity; I wasn’t expecting to actually end up with a pattern (and a garment) that I liked this much! :-) ~Susan

  • hey! nice top! great job on the fit. i like the color combo. you really are cranking out the garments! i’ve used all bamboo rayon before and it did pill, mostly under the arms where you’d expect from lots of fabric rubbing against fabric.

    Thanks! That makes sense. So far mine is doing okay, but it’s only been washed a few times… ~Susan

  • I really enjoyed your photos and details of how you changed the pattern to give you the lovely fit you wanted! I’ve been thinking of buying this pattern, but was concerned about buying it for my larger bust size and smaller shoulders. Your tips are just what I needed! Thanks so much! Love your beautifully-fitted result!

  • Any way you can help me with the directions for this pattern as I have the pieces but somehow no directions. thank you

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