Sewing the Final Draft (B&R draft)

My fabric is part of the warehouse clean-outs that Walmart did 30-35 years ago when all the manufacturing was moved off-shore.  I didn’t do a burn test.  I should be more interested in fiber content but I’m not. It looks and feels like tussah silk but doesn’t have that peculiar silk aroma. I’m guessing silk/cotton blend in a pinky/peachy color.  More interested in the effect of my drafting changes, I tested for drape-ability (sp?).  I draped and pinned onto my dressform. Twisted, folded. Draped again.  The fabric wrinkles. It can be pressed to a smoother appearance but wants to hold onto at least some of the wrinkles.  Perhaps that’s because it’s been in my own stash for so long.

While I was playing with drape, I decided I didn’t want a center front or back seam.   I wanted to be sure my draft was not somehow ‘borrowing’ ease.  I’ve seen this phenom most clearly with pants with front pockets. Somehow the pant draft can use the pocket lining and facing to supplement ease. I did cut a wider neckline. 1/2″ wider on both sides of the neck.  1/2″ deeper in back and 7″ deep in front.   I decided this fabric would make a plain and nondescript blouse; especially when muted peach fabric blends with muted light-colored me.  I opt to trace the front ruffle from Burda Style 117 Aug 2009.

Hoping for a little more contrast and interest, I used the Natural colored Stretch Maxi Lock thread  and rolled the edge of the ruffle. I took a break. When I returned I realized even that added little interest.  After some consideration and testing, I decided to remove 1 needle from my cover stitch and using the same Maxi Lock thread apply chain stitched stripes to the front of the ruffles spaced 1.5″ apart.  Decided that the back was pretty plain too and added 5 stripes 1″ apart on the back.

Next issue was the front opening and closure. While I had cut the neckline deeper, it would not be enough to easily slip over my head. Also I wanted this garment to resemble the Burda from which I copied the ruffle.  I stitched the bottom half of the right and left ruffles together; carefully placed them with right side to wrong side of the front and along the center front fold. I stitched, well just like I was making a placket.   Checked the stitching from the front before Frey checking, slicing the center front and turning the ruffle to the outside.

Closure?  I had intended to add 4 buttons with elastic button loops formed from small hair elastics. Unfortunately, my hair elastics were bright yellow, magenta and dark purple. None that I wanted to use with this peach and vanilla.  Making sure I had twice the length of the front opening, I attached round elastic to the left front of the left side using a bridging stitch.   I’ll make a more complete post on this closure because I think it’s pretty neat but takes a long time to describe.

I hemmed and then tried on for fit. Yeah, possible mistake but I didn’t worry about fit until it was all done. I thought I was just making a tweak along the shoulder.  I really didn’t think adding 1/4″ to the shoulder height would make a big difference. Of course, I was wrong.

After, 5 pics of the back I knew this was a loser.

The best of 5 pics

For daily wear, I’m not going to adjust my clothes as much as I did for those first 5 pics. When I dress, I slip my clothes on; smooth them down and I’m gone. Anything that has to be fussed with is not kept in my wardrobe.  I realized I made one important sewing mistake.  My shoulders are uneven.  I’ve been able to compensate by sewing the right shoulder seam 1/8″ deeper than the left.  I got so involved in the embellishment; in trying to add interest that I forgot to sew that 1/8″ seam.

I stretched the ruffle. Despite being aware and taking care, I stretched the ruffle. It should not be this long. It should ruffle down the front — not stick out and away from the neck, shoulders and elsewhere

There is always the possibility the fabric had an effect on the final fit and appearance.  It does have a bit of nap. Not like velvet but a soft texture and a tendency to cling. And there are good things to say about the final fit.   Rotating the shoulder dart to the hem added enough ease across the shoulder blades and hip.  For the first time with this draft, I appear to have a little too much ease both front and back.  I’m not sure if that corrected the sleeve binding or if it was the shorter length (4.5 vs 5.5″) but the sleeve is definitely not cutting into my arm.  The hem is fairly level. In fact my first impression was that it is level. It’s only close inspections that has me questioning.


..but because I didn’t stitch the right shoulder 1/8″ deeper and I did raise the shoulder point another 1/4″, I have these droops.  On me, those are indications that the shoulder is not correctly fit.

I’ve already removed my antique buttons and thrown the garment in the trash.  Even with good things to say, I’m just not going to wear this blouse.  But I take away new knowledge and some answers to questions I asked two posts ago. I now know that there is a limit to how high the shoulder point can be raised in conjunction with extending the shoulder for a cap sleeve. For me that is  less than 5/8″. I also know that rotating the shoulder dart to the hem will provide the last bit of ease I need for my back side and simplify sewing.  I know that the Barnfield and Richards Draft is probably my best extended shoulder/cap sleeve although shortening the shoulder extension to 4.5 or less is a good idea.   I may make the pattern a little longer.  The final garment is a little blocky which is not my best look.

OTOH, I don’t think I’ll work with this particular draft much more i.e. I won’t be cutting yokes to make it look like the RAL top.  While not bad, the B&R draft is not wonderful either.  I want to proceed to the in-armscye cap sleeve and the kimono draft.



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