I have to change at Oxford Circus on my way home from work, and on Friday evening it was packed. I couldn’t even get near the platform, so there was no chance of getting a tube for a while. What could I do, but wait for the crowds to clear in the comfort of John Lewis? Well, I needed some ribbon for school to colour-code my new class’ bookbags (in an effort to get them to
do more jobs for me become more independent – each key group will have a different colour of ribbon on the handle so a child can hopefully grab everything for their group). See, I had a real reason to go into John Lewis!
When in there I got slightly side-tracked by the new layout of all the displays, the new cutting table and, of course, all the new fabrics. In my confused state I accidentally headed towards the new display of fabrics and a navy dotty fabric (I want to call it crepe, but I’m not sure) caught my eye. I picked up the ribbons (seriously tricky getting the three colours I wanted in the same width) and some hand embroidery needles, but felt drawn back to the dots.
It isn’t the Burda blouse I showed in my last post, it is actually pattern 106 from the September issue (my August issue was temporarily missing, so I thought I’d give this one a go). The pattern is actually meant for jersey, but after tracing the pattern onto garden fleece (cheap, transparent and robust) I tissue-fitted it to do a FBA. I really like to fit of this top and the french darts, even if they could still do with a bit of tweaking.
As the pattern was designed for jersey, I graded up a size before tracing then marked the stitching lines on as I traced using my double-wheel tool. I have just remembered, while looking for the link to the pattern, that Burda doesn’t do seam allowances – so effectively I didn’t go up a size at all! This could explain the fitting difficulties I later had!
After tweaking the darts the top had a good fit, but when it was time to add the sleeves I found I could barely move them. Luckily I remembered last weekend’s reading – Gertie’s new book – and how she inserted underarm gussets to allow for movement. This took a bit of trial and error, not to mention time with my seam ripper (I had some lovely french side seams!), but I managed to get something that works (luckily the print hides it pretty well).
Other modifications I made were:
- lengthen the bodice by a very precise “two ruler widths” (chunky craft ruler approx 2″ wide) so it is a great length to wear over trousers or tucked in.
- add little 2″ long side slits (I should have graded out more for my hips, but this was a satisfactory fix)
- lower the neckline slightly as the tissue felt like it would choke me
- deepen the back neckline. Looking at the photos, I could have made the back v-neck even deeper if I had wanted to, for more impact.
The next photo doesn’t show it, but the back is actually a really good fit with just the right amount of curve for me (the wrinkles are the way I am trying to pose)
Even though things went wrong and there are a few issues to be fixed, I love this blouse! I tried it on when all the hems were finished and it just felt good (I ended up having a little fashion show in front of my mirror trying it on with different bottoms and accessories). Being quite curvy I never used to wear woven tops as they didn’t fit or look good, but I think I am just so excited to be able to wear a fitted blouse that is comfy! After the arm gusset drama, I can now move my arms and have test-driven the top while changing bed sheets, doing a supermarket shop, and pattern cutting – all activities involved lots of arm movement and the blouse has passed the test.
Oh, did I mention pattern cutting? I may not have done any of my Minoru yesterday, but today I made the first muslin. I did a FBA and moved the dart to the shoulder for extra gathers, which seems to fit well so far. Using the couture tricks I learned at the beginning of the year, I marked the stitching line onto the muslin, with generous seam allowances. It is a good job I did because the way it is leaves no room for winter jumpers at all! I will let out the sleeve and side seams and try it on again.The only thing that is confusing my is the hood – how is it SO big? I hate it when hoods are too tight and don’t sit properly on your head, but this seems a bit too big. Or is my head a few sizes smaller than my body?!