Saturday, 24 January 2015

Maria Denmark's Edith Blouse: A Wearable Muslin

After admiring the Edith Blouse and Dress out there in blogland, I have finally had a go at making my own. I loved Paola's dresses at La Sartora here and here and Heather's blouse from Handmade by Heather B here. Let's just call this a wearable muslin.




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.


Looking forward to making a much better fitting Edith soon.

Happy Sewing

14 comments:

  1. Thank you. I've admired Paola's as well. Thank you very much for your sizing info - a lovely save ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you MaciNic. I hope I haven't mislead anyone with the sizing of this pattern. I think the sizing corresponds well to the sizing chart...it was just me in denial about what size I actually am.

      Delete
  2. Really interesting to read your take on the blouse version of the Edith. I had the same gripe re the seam allowance thing, and like you, found the armholes rather high. I have a blouse version of Edith planned too, and might just copy your curved hem idea. Hope you enjoy your Edith as much as I enjoy mine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Paola. I have completed my second Edith now with my planned changes and it has turned out quite well. Blog post coming soon. Feel free to copy my curved hem idea, as I copied it from Heather.

      Delete
  3. I too tried this pattern after seeing lots of examples that I admired. I was a little disappointed - I found the armholes too high/tight (and I usually petite them), I also found them to be the wrong angle, the hem on the shirt is just a straight line instead of curving to the side seam and the facings only look ok with a fabric that is completely opaque since they narrow at the bottom. Like you I found the sizing ran small. All that said after lots of pattern changes I ended up with a nice blouse and I think you did too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you C Berry. Once you have tweaked the pattern to fit your individual shape it is a winner. I can see myself using this pattern over and over.

      Delete
  4. Oh how I can commiserate with you! I have not made this blouse but had a similar experience with a dress with princess seams. However it was well worth persevering also the color looks lovely on you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Therese. I am glad I persevered and made it work. Very satisfying.

      Delete
  5. I am so pleased that you were able to resuscitate this blouse because it looks lovely. I adore that pink!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sue. It is quite satisfying when you persevere and make something work.

      Delete
  6. Pretty color on you! I like how you put the notes to yourself right in the blog post. That's what I need to do because I always forget. Or if I write it on a piece of paper, I lose it......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Angela. It is amazing how we forget those notes so quickly. I try to use my blog as a sewing reference for myself...just have to remember to look back at what I did before to remind myself of any changes for next time.

      Delete
  7. That is a lovely color on you!
    Have you seen this attachment for the rotary cutter? http://www.threadstandhero.com/Rotary_Cutter_with_Adjustable_G.html
    It makes it very easy to just cut exactly the distance you need, no need to add SAs to the traced pattern.
    There's a magnetic attachment for scissors that do a similar thing - http://seamallowanceguide.com/ - but I've never used them since I do almost everything with the rotary cutter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much June for your lovely comment and for sharing that great information. Very much appreciated.

      Delete