Making a summer blouse is total wishful thinking right now. It seemed to be all warm and nice here for a little while, and then it snowed a few inches over the weekend and went right back to the cold and deceptively sunny weather we’ve had all winter. But I couldn’t resist the allure of a breezy cotton blouse in cheerful colors, so I went ahead and sewed this up, to be squirrelled away for another few months.
Pattern: Summer Blouse from Heather Ross‘s Weekend Sewing
Size made: Small (bust: 36″, length: 23″)
Fabric used: 2 yards Full Moon polka dot in Yellow, 1 fat quarter Tree Peony in Sand, both Amy Butler Lotus fabrics
Date started: don’t know!
Date completed: don’t know!
- I found the blouse really gigantic, and the cotton I used isn’t very drapey, so I added darts to the back in an attempt to tighten up the silhouette. It is still pretty gigantic and billowy (but at least it’s comfy).
- I only had a 1-inch bias tape maker, so I used this instead of 3/4″. I think the 1-inch measurement is before it gets folded in half, so actually my bias tape is 1/2″, narrower than the 3/4″ bias tape called for in the book.
- Did not add a button at the neckline.
- Had to cut the button loop a lot wider than called for in the book–at the specified dimensions and seam allowance, it was so narrow I couldn’t get my loop turner through it to turn it inside out.
- Ran out of fabric, so I cut the sleeves a little short–bracelet length instead of “to the base of the thumb” as the book recommends. I would have liked the longer sleeves, but I think they still came out fine.
- Instead of hemming the lower edges of the sleeves and body, I used the extra bias binding to hem them.
I think this was fine for the sleeves, but the stiffness of the bias tape adds to the excessive flare of the body. Unfortunately, the blouse was on the short side, so I didn’t feel like I could hem it without baring my midriff.
- Accidentally sewed the bias tape on wrong, because I didn’t read through the directions carefully. I was supposed to sew it on one side, then fold it over and top-stitch to secure the other side. Instead, I folded it over and sewed just one seam through both layers of tape.
- As I mentioned, I think there’s a problem with the button loop directions as written. The loop needs to be cut wider, or the seam allowance smaller.
- I think there’s also a mistake with the yardage requirements and cutting layout shown in the book. There was no way to fit the sleeve above the fronts/backs on the 45″ fabric, so I had to move it down along the fabric, with the result that even with an “extra” 3/8 yard of fabric (I had about 2 yards) I ran a little short and cut the sleeves shorter than the pattern specified. I think the math confirms this: the 45″ fabric is 22.5 inches folded in half, and 1/2 of a front or back for a 36″ bust (without any ease taken into account, even) is about 18″. That only leaves 4.5″ for the width of the sleeve (which is cut out flat in one piece, not folded in half). So if you are planning to make this, buy extra fabric.
- If I make this again, I will see if I can figure out a way to take out a couple of inches from the body without making the shoulders too tight. It just felt too big for me. Alternatively, I might try making it in a drapier fabric. I’m a sucker for pretty quilting cotton, but it’s maybe a little too stiff for a non-fitted blouse like this.
- And I really want to make it again, and figure out a way to make it work as a somewhat fitted garment, so that I can cut it longer and make an awesome sheath dress like Heather’s.
- The body, aside from being too big, was also too short. If I make another blouse version, I will lengthen the body by probably 4 or 5 inches, and hem instead of binding with bias tape.
- Another problem I had with the fitting was the neckline (check out that awesome contrast placket, btw. I loved the construction of the placket): The problem with the neckline, which may not be readily apparent, is that it is super high and chokey. I don’t really understand the photo in the book; the blouse (as made by me) has a really high, tight neckline, not the wide bateau neck shown in the photo. It doesn’t matter much, since it looks nice with the lapels turned back, but it would be absolutely impossible to wear with the button fastened. Looking at the few other finished objects in the Weekend Sewing Flickr pool, it looks like other people have had this issue, too. So next time around, I would lower the front neckline by about 3 or 4 inches.
- I think the bust darts are slightly too low for me. Not sure if I would bother changing this.
- The pattern mentions sewing a gathering stitch between the markings on the sleeve cap. These seem to have been accidentally omitted from the pattern paper. I just fudged it by sewing along the top part of the sleeve cap. Check the errata for more information about this.
- The pattern was really simple and well-written (aside from the issues noted above). Aside from not reading the directions carefully enough, I had no particular problems with the pattern instructions. Note that all the patterns in this book are printed on giant fold-out sheets stuck into the front and back of the book. Before you can use them, you need to trace the pieces on tracing paper and cut these out, instead of cutting out the pattern pieces directly. I went on a little tracing spree last night and traced/cut the pieces for another three patterns, and sewed up one more (the Saturday Night Silk Jersey Set, which only has three pattern pieces!)–I’ll have pictures of this one soon; it came out great, but is even less suited to the weather than the Summer Blouse. I am keeping the pattern pieces for each pattern labeled and folded up in a gallon Ziploc bag. Unlike Built By Wendy’s Sew U, there is no envelope included in the book to hold pattern pieces.