This is a PDF pattern, but I must say the pattern tiles fitted together much better than any other PDF patterns I have tried. My only gripe being that you have to add your own seam allowances. I found this just another tedious step that certainly added a lot of time to the process. You have to print the pattern, tape it together, trace off the required size and then add seam allowances. I don't understand why they are not added in the first place. Imagine how many hours are wasted if you added up the time it takes each individual person to complete this extra step, when it could have been included in the pattern. As you can probably tell, I was very annoyed.
Anyway, getting back to the blouse...the style really appealed to me. Fitted, but not overly fitted and no sleeves to set in. I thought this would make a great blouse to wear to work.
I thought I would start with the blouse to get the fit sorted, before I tried the dress. I bought some cheap pink poplin from my local Bargain Box Fabrics specifically for this and I cut a size B42 with 1.5cm seam allowances. I did add 5cm extra length at the hemline because I prefer to wear my tops a little longer. After sewing all the darts (8 in total) I decided I would just machine baste the shoulder and side seams to check the fit. I am so glad that I had the forethought to do this because it sure made the unpicking a lot less painful. This size was way too small. I don't know what I was thinking when I cut this size. Maybe I was thinking it would be like the Big Four patterns which have loads of unnecessary ease. I almost binned it at this stage until I realised I had added quite generous seam allowances so maybe it could be saved. I proceeded, with a new determination to make it fit.
After unpicking the basted seams, I scooped out about a cm from the bottom of the armhole as these were very tight. The shoulder seams were re sewn with a scant 6mm seam allowance which effectively added another cm of room to the length of the blouse. I decided to finish off the sleeve hem with some purchased bias binding. (I didn't have enough fabric to make matching bias binding). I did this step before sewing the side seams. The curve at the bottom of the armhole is quite tight and I thought this would be quite difficult to attach the bias binding in the round. Then I sewed the side seams with a scant 6mm seam allowance, effectively adding another 4cm of room to the width of the blouse. I was careful to line up the seam evenly at the underarm to create a nice neat finish. To stop the seam allowance peaking out at the underarm, I fold the tail of the overlocking threads under the seam allowance and then stitch the seam allowance down for about a cm to keep everything in place.
Another quick try on and I decided I could definitely make it wearable. This is actually quite an easy blouse to sew. None of the techniques required are terribly hard and I was enjoying the sewing process. I attached the collar and the facing and all was looking good. I must have started to rush as I could see the end in sight...a bit like a horse bolting for home, because I got careless.
I was grading and clipping the seam allowance after attaching the facing...snip snip snip *#%@! I had snipped two little slits in the back of the blouse. I had invested too much time and effort into this blouse to abandon it now. What to do??? The slits were right at the top of the back of the blouse, almost covered by the collar on the outside and totally covered by the facing on the inside. My solution was to iron a small circle of fusible interfacing over the slits on the inside. So far they have held together and it has been through the wash twice now.
I made the buttonholes as close to the edge of the front as possible and positioned the buttons to provide as much room as possible. When sewing the hem I curved it up at the side seam. I thought this would look more flattering than a straight hem all the way around. The fit is still a little too close. The bust darts are too high but it's passable...a wearable muslin.
I have a renewed enthusiasm to try this pattern again. Notes for next time:
- Cut the larger size
- Add 2cm length to blouse by cutting and spreading approx halfway between shoulder seam and top of front darts. (Do this to front, back and facing pattern pieces).This will do two things: lower the darts by 2cm and add an extra 2cm to the armhole depth.
- Add 3cm of length at the hemline.
- Curve hemline up at side seams.