We can all use a few more basic tops that can be dressed up, or just worn with jeans. Butterick’s 5218 tunic top pattern fits the bill perfectly.
For a bit of interest I chose this black linen with a tad of lycra and silver metallic pinstripes. Click on any of the pics for a closer look.
As usual, before I started sewing I checked out the reviews on pattern review. I came away wondering if I should even bother, but then decided to go for it. I especially love the folded-up-and-held-with-a-tab style of sleeves.
Aren’t those pretty buttons? I think they go perfectly.
The notes I made from other pattern reviewers were as follows:
- eliminate dropped shoulders
- runs really long
- adjust sleeve length
- add curved hems
After looking at the pattern pieces I realized the armscye was ridiculously deep, so decided to take that in as well. (This alteration also reduced the sleeve width by 2 inches, which was just fine with me.)
To reduce the armscye by 2 inches, draw 2 parallel lines on the front pattern piece. These lines should be 1 inch apart, perpendicular to the center front line and should cross the armscye. Like this: (the lines going across the “1”)
Cut on one of the lines and slide the cut line to meet the other drawn line. I like to use repositionable scrapbook adhesive. It’s much better than tape because you can iron over it without it melting. This adjustment shortens the tunic top and the armscye by 1 inch. Repeat the alteration on the back pattern piece as well.
To make the alteration on the sleeve, make two pairs of parallel lines, 1 inch apart, one pair one either side of the center line, perpendicular to the hem.
Repeat the cutting and sliding with each pair of lines.
Here’s how it looks on the actual pattern piece.
Some measurements confirmed that the shoulder dropped 2 inches, so I wanted to take it up that much.
To get rid of the dropped shoulders, draw a line perpendicular to the shoulder. (It should be near the center, but positioning isn’t crucial.) Make a mark 1 inch to either side of this line at the shoulder. Draw another line about 90° from this one going to the side seam (NOT into the armscye).
Cut on both lines, leaving a small bit of tissue intact between them for a hinge. Rotate this wedge shape until your two marks at the shoulder meet. Use scraps of tissue to fill in the gap along the side seam and true up the side and shoulder seams.
Here’s my back pattern piece with both the armscye and the dropped sleeve alterations.
Repeat the procedure on the front pattern piece.
Since this pattern piece is cut flat, not on the fold, I have to make the adjustments on each side. (Oh, and you’ll need to shorten the front facing by 1 inch as well. The rest of the details are covered in my review of the pattern.
Butterick 5218 Pattern Review
Pattern Description: Loose-fitting, pullover tunic tops have collar variations, front button closure with front pleat, back gathers, dropped shoulders and sleeve variations.
Pattern Sizing: If I’d followed the pattern’s recommended sizing based on my measurements I would have made an 18. Instead I looked at the finished garment measurements and made a 12. Can you imagine how ridiculously huge an 18 would have been?
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were fine.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the folded sleeve cuff held up with a button and tab. I didn’t care for how humongous it was.
Fabric Used: A linen with a bit of lycra and metallic pinstripes from Joannes.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn’t care for the dropped shoulders and altered the pattern to elminate them. I also raised the very deep armscye by 2 inches and reduced the sleeve width by 2 inches.
Since raising the armscye effectively shortens the sleeves, I added 2 inches to the sleeve hems.
To make the hems I folded them 5.5 inches to the inside and stitched 5 inches from the folds. Then they could be folded 2.5 inches to the outside for the cuffs.
I didn’t add the button tabs until the sleeve cuffs were completed.
I skipped the pockets because I wanted to keep the clean lines of the pinstripes.
A dinner plate was a great template for making more interesting rounded hems, but I had to chop off 6 inches from the bottom first. (Else it could have been a mini-dress on me, and I’m 5’7″!)
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Now that I’ve taken the time to make the alterations, I’d like to make a couple more.
Conclusion: A nice wardrobe staple that can easily be dressed up or down. Just keep in mind it runs really HUGE.