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Where there’s a will, there’s a way

2011 March 2
by elizabeth_admin

I am probably one the most stubborn people you will ever have the chance to meet.  Just ask my ex-husband.  😉 

I was not about to let a little sissy blouse pattern get the best of me with it’s poofy bias back and ill-considered, too-high C-cup bodice.  As soon as Jack was tucked in bed, I tackled the pattern changes.  I knew I wanted to lengthen the top bodice so the seam would cut across the bust.  I also wanted to add more ease under the arm and at the hips. 

Using tracing paper, I traced new pattern pieces.  For the additional ease at the sides of the back pattern, I went out a 1/4 inch under the arm tapering to the original cutting line near the lengthen shorten line of the pattern and then going out to a 1/4 inch again towards the hem. 

Then I cut the pattern straight across near the top of the back to add the inch of length I was going to add in the front.  Originally I thought I would need to add the inch at the top, but when I went to do the same to the front, I realized I should add the inch to under the armscye since doing it above would change and lengthen the armscye shape.  So here’s what the final changes look like on the back pattern piece.


I did the same on both the bodice pieces.  I only took a picture of the top bodice though.


Then I cut out another muslin and sewed it up.  I should say I sewed it up twice because the first time, I did not realize that I sewed the to side seams together on the upper bodice instead of the CF.  I should have realized this immediately when I all the gathering notches didn’t match up.  I even went back to the tracings to check my markings.  But noooooo, I didn’t listen to my inner notch.  I just shrugged my shoulders, gathered and sewed up the blouse up to the sew the side seam step.  It was at that step that I finally realized that my side seams were necklines where the side seams should have been.  ARGH!!!!!!!

Ok, long story long, I took it all apart and put it back together the right way and tried it on.  You will have to take my word on it, but the fit was still a little off.  I have decided not to take late night pictures anymore because I look like crap and the lighting is crap which leads to crap pictures.  So just take my word that it was a little poofy on the sides about 2 inches under the armscye. 

My first change to remedy the poofiness was to taper in the side seams on both the front and back pieces evenly about a centimeter tapering up to the original seam line about 2 inches below the armscye and likewise below.  This eliminated some of the poofiness, but not all.  So I had the brilliant idea of removing some material from the top front bodice piece only, somewhat like a dart.  I probably took out about a centimeter there tapering to nothing at the start of the gathering section.  Here’s what those changes look like.


Then I tried it on.  And it was love at 2.5 muslin!!!  The huge poof of back fabric was gone.  The front bodice seam was in the right place, under the girls not cutting them in half, and the whole blouse skimmed over the body with a nice silhouette.  I am so so happy with it now!

Claudine mentioned to me that the back is drafted to not be fitted and that it’s the style of the blouse.  So I decided not to cut the back with a CB seam or on grain.

In talking off line with Carolyn about the blouse yesterday, she mentioned the dangers of overfitting.  I don’t think I’ve gone into the land of the overfitted here.  I think I have a nice balance with nice silhouette and enough ease.  And I’ve dealt with the bias back satisfactorily.  AND, I can still pull this blouse over – no need for an opening/closure. 

Check for yourself!

In a drapier fabric, the back will drape much better than this stiff unwashed muslin which still has sizing on it.  What do you think?  Isn’t this blouse truly the Holy Grail now???  Please let me know your opinion.

21 Responses leave one →
  1. birdmommy permalink
    March 2, 2011

    That looks wonderful! Congrats!

    Now I want to make one…

  2. March 2, 2011

    That is one seriously improved blouse! The fit looks a million times better.

  3. March 2, 2011

    Much improved! But looking at the last picture, I think some shaping may need to be built in. If you decide to to do so, consider extending the underbust line to the back, then you can fine tune the center section along that seam if needed. Try it without the seam first, though, if you have enough of your fashion fabric to recut if needed.

    Looking forward to seeing what happens. It’s a cute design.

  4. March 2, 2011

    Yay 2.5 is a winner :)! Do you see yourself making quite a few of these in other views ?

  5. March 2, 2011

    Fabulous! I think you’ve gotten it to fit the way it was designed. Good to see, since this pattern is getting made by me as soon as I’m done with Easter sewing! I’ll be reviewing to see what worked for you!

  6. Sewer permalink
    March 2, 2011

    The fit of the front is greatly improved. If the back in its current form is the style, I guess I’m not a fan of that treatment. Look forward to seeing the finished garment.

  7. March 2, 2011

    oh, yes, I’ll give you a Holy Grail on this one.
    I agree – once you sew this from a drapier fabric, that bias will be sex on wheels.

    Looking forward to seeiing this sewn up!

  8. March 2, 2011

    Oh come on, Simplicity pattern sale, where are you…?

    Even in too-stiff muslin fabric, this looks to be in Holy Grail territory to me!

  9. March 2, 2011

    Good job! I think your muslin looks good. Muslins always look harsh and unforgiving drape-wise but I think they’re meant to look like that to check for accuracy.

  10. Lindsay t permalink
    March 2, 2011

    Yup, looking good.

  11. March 2, 2011

    Looks good to me and in a drapy fabric it will be perfect I think. It’s interesting to see how confident you are with making pattern adjustments now, just going by what you feel is right.

  12. March 2, 2011

    So glad your muslin worked out! Will be looking forward to seeing your new blouse.

  13. Rose in SV permalink
    March 2, 2011

    Great job! 🙂

  14. March 3, 2011

    That is looking really good! You have inspired me to do more muslins. Thanks for the detailed explanation of the changes, I’m fascinated by this sort of thing.

  15. March 3, 2011

    I think it looks spot on – your persistence is going to pay off when you make this up in your lovely fabric. I thought of you yesterday – I saw a woman on the London subway wearing a faux fur skirt – it looked really good! You have started a trend and it has gone worldwide already!

  16. Hatty permalink
    March 3, 2011

    It looks good but I think it is time to learn to do a swayback adjustment without a centre back seam. Yes, this is possible.. You fold out the swayback adjustment on the pattern piece, then straighten the back seam, then cut on the fold as usual. When you look at the pattern piece after straightening the seam, it looks crazy. You think, “Haven’t I just undone the SBA again by straightening the seam?” But no. It works. Mysterious though it may be. I don’t know, maybe I’m just bad at 3D thinking and I can’t work out why it works, but it does! That’s what I would do to the back of this shirt. I think it is currently a single step away from the Holy Grail. This adjustment will not make it tighter.

    And I think that that is probably the last fitting adjustment you need to learn – you seem to have learned all the rest that you need for your own shape.

    • March 3, 2011

      When you say “You fold out the swayback adjustment on the pattern piece, then straighten the back seam, then cut on the fold as usual.”, does that mean make the CB seam back into a straight line and that’s it? or is it more involved than that? I’m really curious.

      • Hatty permalink
        March 4, 2011

        Yes, when you make the SBA it makes the centre back into a point where the adjustment is, but then you do just make the CB into a straight line again. As I said, it looks strange and you think you have just undone your swayback adjustment, but you haven’t. It works and the fabric just drops from under your shoulder blades to your hip line without all that bunching and bagging that is part of the swayback problem. IMO when people put a centre back seam in in order to alter for swayback, they often actually make an adjustment to the waist (a width adjustment), not the swayback (a length adjustment).

        If you look at what Kenneth King says about removing the fullness of fabric from where you don’t want it and adding it where you do, what I suggested makes sense. You are removing length from just below the waist but not width. If you have a full rear as well as a swayback (like me) and you are making pants, you may want to follow up with adding a triangle back in at the level of your rear. It looks weird – you take out a triangle at one point and add it back in a few inches lower, but it corresponds with what KK teaches about cutting and alterations.

  17. March 3, 2011

    You are reminding me how much I like this pattern and therefore distracting me from my determination to make rain pants next. Shame on you. `-) Looks great! When I make it I’ll probably add a CB seam and some shaping, but it is truly personal preference.

  18. March 3, 2011

    Yes, it looks great! Well done. 🙂
    I’m with the Slapdash Sewist and would probably add a CB seam and some shaping but that’s just my personal preference and I also have a sway back so would need to get rid of some extra fabric.
    It’s a very flattering top, can’t wait to see what you choose to make it up in.

  19. Susan Sharp permalink
    March 30, 2011

    You are very talented. The fit looks great.

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