Despite it’s errors, which I will share, I’m really happy about this blouse and have much to say about it.
Let’s start with the fabric, a rayon-challis, striped-print purchased recently. I emphasized the ‘striped’ because for a long time I wouldn’t sew with stripes and reached the point of checking carefully to be sure I didn’t buy any striped fabrics. (I’m buying most fabrics on-line and it’s easy to miss subtle details that will be obvious when the fabric is received like the Bargello nature of the Faux Surplice blouse shared Nov 30.) Then I learned about Pinterest. Started collecting pins. One of my most inspiring and I think soon to be most helpful boards has been my Stripes board. It has freed me from the assumption my only choice was carefully matched stripes which were usually mis-matched some place. That board and all the wonderful artists it represents has opened my eyes to creative uses of striped fabrics. For this blouse I cut the front and back on grain which made the stripes horizontal; and cut the sides and sleeves cross grain giving them a vertical direction.
Especially by using the Tabula Rasa Blouse version, I think this arrangement is excellent for us larger ladies. I think the stripe disruption causes the stripes to slendarize me instead of adding pounds to my frame and especially hips which I think is best exemplified by the full back version:
I was absolutely thrilled at this tall, slender version of me. Stripes across the back were supposed to be matched. ‘Fraid my center back seam which allows the much-needed round-back alteration was also a place for the fabric to slip just a bit. I did not attempt to match the stripes from back to sleeves. It just happened.
However I had some issues. First off, I couldn’t find some of my blouse pattern pieces. I considered use the large size which is fitted but fitted as a jacket. I fit the medium for use as a blouse and as you can see above, the ease if perfect. The jacket is, as a minimum roomy. So I should have 2 sets of pieces for the TRT with each piece is labeled respectively Jacket-Large, Blouse-Med. I could find the neck-darted back and the 1″ front placket front. But the plain pieces i.e back with CB seam and front extended for a CF seam were nowhere to be found.I preseume what happened was something like this: a frantic, creative process followed by a sweeping clean-up. Said clean-up sweeping away these 2 valuable pieces. Sigh, with no other alternative I traced again the basic front and back sized medium and set about trying to restore alterations which made it a TNT. Easier written than done because I make lots of notation on the basic piece but in subsequent copies only note the current changes. So I did which I could remember and compared as best as possible to the neck-darted back and button-placket front. Then hoped for the best which created issues down the line. having the basics in hand I proceeded to my inspiration piece
I’m being inspired by the Afternoon Blouse by Jennifer Lauren. A PDF pattern is available in her store which I didn’t buy. I hate PDF patterns and avoid them as much as possible. I hate printing all the pages, then assembling them. Then they never stay taped together so I need to either trace the pattern or struggle with missing pieces. What’s more, I have little faith that any pattern is going to fit me the way I want. Sadly, I’m passed the days when a simple tuck for a BWL (back waist length adjustment) makes a pattern fit. I’m usually looking at a possible 8-10 alterations and lengthy fitting process. Well I have become smarter and found that some patterns are easier to fit but this is not one of them As much as I drooled over the neckline, I could not spend the $$$ needed to work with a difficult-to-fit me pattern. Instead, I worked with my TNT, the Tabula Rasa Blouse version. After tracing and then altering the front and back pieces for fit (as best as possible), I set about adding a front pointed tab to my front pattern. First I added a 3/8″ front seam allowance and extended it up above the shoulder line. Not that I need it that far, that just where my big ruler ended. Then I guesstimated that the button should be at the fullest part of the bust. I can tell you that I have pretty routinely shifted button placement around so that one would be right on that line. In fact, I’ve often wondered why they even indicate individual button placement on a pattern because everyone ends up shifting that button to the best place for them and then rearranging the other buttons for a pleasing effect. Anyway, I drew a horizontal line from my bust point out across the front. I was using pencil here and dotted in my first distal point about 2″ from the CF line. Then placed a 2nd point 2″ above and a 3rd 2″ below on the CF stitching line. Now I could draw a triangle extending from the center front. Didn’t seem big enough. Changed those points to 4″. Whoa! Too big. I’m over-weight but not really a big girl. I adjust the points back, then back again. I stopped at 2.5″ . Picked up my curve. Found a nice curve from shoulder point to the furthest triangle point and drew my neckline curve. Add 3/8″ for seam allowances and I’m done.
It did take a few minutes and, at this point, I’m unsure of the final results. My plan was to cut 2 fronts, then slice off the point from the left side. However when it came time to sew, I kept both points. I realized what I’d done after I’d topstitched around the neckline, twice.
Oh well. Some things are what they are. I made a mental note to cut that off for the next version. Wonder if I will remember.
My front button:
Is a huge thing. I almost didn’t get it into the buttonhole foot of my Dream Machine
The Dream Machine using this foot, automatically measures the perfect buttonhole for your button. Like I said this old button was almost too big.
It was definitely too heavy for the rayon challis fabric even though my facing was cut from a poly cotton shirting fabric which was itself interfaced. My solution was the time-honored practice of sewing a 2nd button on the private side and directly beneath the big button
It’s a bit tricky. This button is old, I’m thinking 40’s, 50’s but was just what I thought I needed: a big focal point
I wanted to bring attention to that unusual button placket which seemed to get lost in the stripe fabric. I even top stitched twice around the neckline trying to break attention away from the stripes. In that respect, the stripe fabric was not a good choice. Sort of like setting up a 60,000 stitch embroidery that doesn’t show up. What’s the point of so much effort if it is just going to disappear.
Front picture shows one of the pattern issues which developed. Well, tissue issue. The original pattern is fine. My alterations, well they can make unexpected changes. Here’s one, the sleeves, which have been used previously and are fitted for the front-placket blouse pattern, are too long.I did notice that as soon as I tried it on but haven’t correct it, even now. I seem to remember trimming the shoulder a 1/2″ in length but couldn’t find that info. I was waiting to see the blouse on me to decide if it is the shoulders or the sleeve which need to be shortened .
Having seen the pics, I’m thinking……. a little of both i.e. 1/4″ from the shoulders and 1/4″ from the sleeve. It’s an easy tweak even when done in two places and I will be much more satisfied with this blouse in the future.
Ummm so what else. Well the side view was a surprise
When I was sewing the front was 1″ longer then the side front. Both sides. But the back matched perfectly. I pinned the sleeve-side unit to the front and back (as in the instructions), took the pins out and pressed both pieces before pinning again. Pinned the second sleeve-side unit into place and discovered it too had the 1″ difference. So I stitched it that way and trimmed 1″ from the bottom of the blouse. (Also folded the front tissue up 1″). To my surprise the front is just dramatically rising. First thought, this can’t be sitting correctly on my shoulders. But it is. Or it isn’t far off. This will need some careful walking to determine what really needs correcting. The back matches. The notches match. The sleeve notches match. How did the side front get shorter than the side back? A mystery I must solve because..
I will be making both this TRB and this tabbed version in particular in the future. Not next week. I mean I won’t be making the tabbed version next week. I very well could make a different TRB version. I love this pattern because it was so easy to fit as well as being flattering and easy to sew. You can’t get much better than that. Oh wait, yes you can. From time to time, the designer, Rae Cumbie offers Variations. These are templates to use for easily creating style variations to the basic pattern. Love it!
This Tabbed version is especially interesting to me. I made one tab, how about several? Mine is 2.5X2.5″, other sizes are possible. I’m not even sure the 2.5×2.5 is the best on me. I placed my tab bust level, how about moving it up? Or down (especially on a jacket)? I made the pointed tab, if you buy the PDF pattern Jennifer Lauren includes a rounded tab and some other style variations. But beyond style, I also want to perfect the technique. I haven’t worked a lot with plackets of this sort. I have a “magic placket” pattern with which I can stitch 3 sides of a box and create a rectangular tabbed opening after it’s all folded and pressed correctly. But this sticking-out tab is a little different. Not something I’m familiar with and it sets my mind to thinking……