My fabric is a Rayon Challis purchased from Fashion Fabrics after much self debate. Debate as in add to cart. Delete from cart. Add to cart. Delete…. I love Rayon Challis for blouses. It wears like a dream. Drapes beautifully without revealing all the curves. Sews easily; doesn’t ravel badly. Its greatest downfall is that it shrinks with every laundry cycle. Most blouses I make of Rayon Challis survive between 1 and 2 years then must be replaced. This particular challis was bright. Individually, I liked warm yellow, bright turquoise and kelly green. But altogether they didn’t feel like me. Except that I’m changing. Yes you can still change even with 6 decades under your belt. In my case I’m wearing blouses all year round. Especially printed versions they tie together a clothing collection beautifully. A new combination such as this, will freshen my wardrobe while making use of existing garments. In the winter, I layer blouses with vests (on top) or camisoles beneath. In the summer, well fall and spring too, blouses become jackets to be worn over short or sleeveless tops. Blouses have become a welcome staple that add comfort, coordination and color to my wardrobe. It’s quite a change from suits and subtle tops worn most my career. I finally purchased this fabric because I knew I’d only live with it for a couple of years and if it was really bad IRL, it would make a good muslin.
Putting it together construction was straight forward. Not terribly difficult but then I’ve made a thousand camp shirts. This pattern, even with all my changes, went together as well or better than most.
I did not stitch the front and back darts. I wanted the boxy, blousy, casual look of a camp shirt. This time, anyway. I think I only made one mistake. I serged the shoulders together with a 1/4″ SA. It should have been 5/8″. I should have serged off 3/8″ height at the shoulder. Since I didn’t, my blouse is a little lower than I would prefer. But not so low that I want to rip out the shoulder seams.
I had a problem choosing buttons. None of my red, green or yellow buttons would work. They were the wrong shade; the wrong size or too few (I needed/wanted 5 or 6). I settled upon the 5 blue buttons shown. Attaching them I discovered one was slightly smaller than the other 4. I put the smaller one at the top. The theory is: if you can’t camouflage the problem, make it feature. I attached the buttons with matching (nearly) blue thread but I made the buttonholes and top stitching in green. No good reason. I just liked it.
Notice, there are no U’s on my side. I’m really happy about this because it means that copying the shoulder from 1201 and adding the original armscye solves those drag lines (which I refer to as U’s/drapes/curtain swags). I’m even more pleased because this could be the solution I need for my Louise Cutting and Loes Hinse patterns i.e. (1) change the shoulder slope to my shoulder (2) redraw the original armscye. It’s a two-step process I’m happy to make. If this is the solution I’m looking for, I may be able to find a more elegant one-step solution. Usually, I have to work at these things for a while but the end result is ideal.
I also like the side seam vents. They are purely decorative. Louise Cutting often includes side seam vents but they serve a fit purpose in her draft. I’m happy that they are decorative because it means I can stitch straight down eliminating the vent without creating fit issues. While I don’t think a number of design features (pockets, vents etch) are needed to make a shirt a camp shirt, I do like to add variety with details. A few easy changes can make it look like I’m using a new pattern when in truth I’m being creative with an old favorite.
I took pics without shoulder pads; slipped them into place and took another series of pics. Shoulder pads seems like overkill in a soft casual blouse, but I like the end result. I think the blouse drapes better and this especially show up in the back view. I’ve added 5 small flat washers in the back hem. I nearly always have a problem with Velcro butt. I’m experimenting with small chain (like Channel utilized with jackets but finer) and light weight flat washers. The bulk of a chain would be unnoticeable in a jacket. I’m not so sure that will be true with a blouse. With both the chain and washers, I’m concerned about adding items that won’t rust or otherwise damage my garment. Once this pattern is fit, I can sew a camp shirt from start to finish (providing I’ve not decided to do something creative) in under 4 hours. But even with that little time invested, I don’t want to do something I know will ruin my garment. OTOH, I’m tired of this issue. I’d like to find a permanent fix.
It’s summer now. The heat can be oppressive. Yet I’ll get into doctors’ offices and into the freezer section of the grocery store and be thoroughly chilled. I’ve even had to leave without needed groceries because I couldn’t stand the cold. Typical use during the summer will be more like this:
After I started sewing, I noted an odd thing about the pattern. The front over lap is drafted to finish at 3/8″. It’s drafted for 3/4″ with a 3/8″ seam allowance that means the overlap will finish at 3/8″. I prefer a wider overlap. Perhaps I did something wrong, but I think I’ll widen the overlap a half-inch to suit my personal preference
I’m hoping this pattern works as well with cotton, cotton-poly or other fabrics I might choose (I have some lovely silks in mind). Rayon has a wonderful drape that can make a good pattern look great while other fabrics will reveal a good pattern’s short comings. More importantly, I’m really hoping that through Conni’s fitting procedure I’ve discovered the new-to-me alterations needed to make my garments look their best no matter who the pattern cutter is.
Planned Pattern Alterations
- Front Overlap
Increase to 1.25″
- Seam allowances
- center front
- 5/8″ SA
- side seams
Summary Pattern Alterations
Include the above plus
- +1″ length at hem
- Shoulder slope – copy from 1201
- Armscye copy from original
- -1 BWL
- Hem wedge lengthen 3.5″ at CF 1″ at SS
- Shoulder slope – copy from 1201
- Armscye copy from original
- Lengthen to 21″
- Wrist 14″ wide