|Blouse - taken outside today at 6pm and I wasn't cold.|
You'll remember that I said I wasn't going to sew in order to blog - that I would be blogging about what I'm sewing? Also that I won't sew something purely to join in a contest or whatever. Unless I need the item and it fits in with my other plans.
I decided to join this contest because the first item was a fitted blouse. I'm in the process of trying to modify my blocks (slopers) ready for my course (intermediate pattern cutting) starting on September 17th. The blocks are my pledge for the Made Up Challenge, and they will be finished and it seemed that it would work nicely to use the bodice block in the process of fitting a blouse.
At least, that was the theory. In practice a week wasn't enough time for me to design a fitted blouse with collar and sleeves from that block, make up and present. The contest was announced on 1st September and closes on 7th September. So in that time, it's necessary to choose pattern, get materials, make any pattern alterations and make up the blouse, then take photos and post a review.
The requirements for the contest were that the blouse is fitted with darts or equivalent; that it had to have a set in sleeve, that it had to have closures and could not be made from knit fabric. Collar optional.
Last year, I entered the PR Fitted Blouse contest. I was pretty pleased with my effort. I've put on a bit of weight since then and I was fearful that I'd have to alter the princess seams. I could have made in a larger cup size, of course. That pattern came in cup sizes but I had to make other adjustments to length and to bust apex position. I decided against this pattern as I didn't need another blouse like this one.
|I like the look of it here, but I haven't really worn it|
|The darts were further altered after this photo to look better and fit better|
|Well, what more do you want?|
Also, my basic block has a waist dart and a bust dart. So I decided that the blouse I made more recently for the PR beginner contest would be a more suitable starting point as it also has a bust dart and a waist dart. That was New Look 6407.
There were a few issues with the blouse I made. I altered the bust darts after I made it up and they weren't even, though neither am I! I wasn't happy with the dart position. The sleeves were too short. The top button was too high, I realised when I reassessed the fit, so that the top of the band didn't lie perfectly.
I knew that if I repeated that blouse and used piping again, this could possibly do reasonably in the contest, maybe getting me through to the second round. However, I have no need of a second blouse like that one.
|Same blouse, different version|
When I made that blouse, I resolved to improve my collars. I felt there could be a big improvement in the stand insertion. I was going to be doing that in my non- certificate sewing class but the course requirements for my two certificate sewing classes meant that all my time was spent completing my portfolios.
So in the end I decided to do a different view of this blouse. Short sleeves, collar stand but no collar. Though it was the stand that gave me the problems.
I had some blue lightweight cotton chambray and felt that there would be sufficient for the short sleeve version. I had blue thread, even blue overlocking thread and interfacing. The only thing I didn't have was specific buttons but I do have a stash so should be able to find something suitable. No piping, trims, embroidery etc.
First step - I used my pink piped blouse as a muslin to assess fit.
Second step - alter pattern. I had already previously done a full bust adjustment and lengthened pattern and raised front neckline. Now I needed to alter dart position, length and angle. I used my block to check key areas, but not to cut the pattern. I had modified the sleeves in my previous blouse for a full biceps and so did the same with the pattern for the short sleeves.
Third step - cut out fabric, which had been pre-washed, and interfacing.
Next - I made up the front and back and joined at the shoulders then tried on to assess for fit. Following this, I further altered the bust darts, one rear dart and one side seam.
I tried to research collar stand insertion but didn't come up with anything suitable. I decided I didn't have time to go any further with this research and I needed to try to follow the pattern's instructions. I very carefully transferred all markings, making sure of accuracy and symmetry.
Nevertheless, I found this extremely difficult, largely because the facing was longer than the point to which I had to stitch it. I had it in and out a few times. The pattern didn't specify which piece was the collar stand and which piece was the facing and I think I chose wrongly! It looks reasonably play in the end - better than last time and I have a better idea of how to go about it the next time. This time, I finished by hand sewing rather than using a row of machine stitching.
I didn't have any problems setting in the sleeves except I did have some fullness because of my changes so that had to be dealt with. The sleeves I chose apparently wouldn't have had to be eased in if I hadn't made the changes I did.
Then understitching to bands, topstitching and edgestitching.
Hem. In the end I decided to overlock raw edge and turn up once.
Buttonholes. I altered spacing for 5. I knew to start lower down on band than I had last time.
Buttons. Luckily I found some suitable buttons in my stash. Sewed on using new button foot. That made it much faster.
I had to rush to get some photos before it got dark and write up review. I'm busy all day tomorrow, the last day of the contest, so I had to jump to it.
Some issues that have come up:
I thought the fabric I used previously was too thick but this fabric was floppy and lacked body. This definitely needs a crisper fabric. I'm also not particularly fond of the shade of blue on me - I think I like more intense colours better.
I found out that my overlock thread melts and creates little black balls. It's presumably polyester without any cotton coating. It's supposed to be a good brand, though. I had used my iron at cotton setting to press seam, so had to drop the temperature
I had a few problems with getting the tensions correct for my edge finishes. I did overlock all edges, using same colour thread.
Part way through making one of the buttonholes something happened and things seized up. I eventually got it to work again after resetting. I'm still not sure what the problem was. I had to take out quite a bit of stitching, which is not easy when it's a buttonhole.
I've seen some of the fitted blouses entered into the contest and mine is so simple in comparison. I simply wouldn't have had time to do anything more adventurous. I might have considered doing French seams which I've never tried, and the inside would have looked nicer but I didn't feel that this was the right time to try - I need to try when I have time. I doubt I'll get through to the next round - unless you vote for me when the voting opens!
|View of back - inside, as required by contest|
|View of side - inside - optional view|
|View of front, inside - as required by contest|
So, in conclusion, this is a simple short sleeved fitted cotton blouse that will get worn with trousers or jeans. Now that autumn is here, most likely with a cardigan, although today belied that. The hips are a bit tight as I forgot to reread my own review and add a bit there! The pattern actually comes out with much less ease than you'd expect. However, I'd further increase waist shaping in the next version.