I posted about this blouse on instagram, and I wrote a really long caption. I’ve never been good about keeping it brief! So, blog post it is!
Pattern: Elisabeth Blouse by Republiqué de Chiffon , in size 36.
Fabric: Drapey viscose from Stoff og Stil, bought at some point in 2018 or 2019 I am guessing.
How much fabric is left: Between 1 metre and 1 1/2 metre.
How will I use the leftovers: As I have gotten more into the idea of combining different fabrics into the same garment, I have been looking at my stash to see contenders. This fabric is one of them. I am thinking of a shirt dress, heavily inspired by this Gucci one.
As I mentioned on IG I really like the design of this blouse, and I am super-happy with how well the fabric type, print pattern, colors and design elements unite into a cohesive whole. The fabric is swishy and adds a bit of drama, like the ruffles and gathers and volume does, while the colors and print patterns gives it a modern direction. I feel elegant, bold and confident – what a win!
Another thing I am pleased with is that this was my August project, started in the beginning of August, and finished a few days into September. My efforts to choose one project to work on (and preferably finish) each month is working so well for me! It is giving me room to focus on just this one project instead of having six or seven on the go, and so far has made me finish them instead of putting them away and forgetting all my changes and decisions in the intervening months.
By the way, for September I’ve been knitting a sweater, which I didn’t finish so it is also my October project. At the end of October I’ll choose what I am in the mood for and what makes sense with other things planned in the upcoming month.
The buttons I used were the first ones I pulled out of my bag of buttons, and after considering a few other options I think it is a very nice fit. They are mustard colored matte shaft buttons I bought at Lorna’s Laces in Chicago, during a tour while I lived there, so … 2009 maybe? I think I bought them for a knitting project, for which they looked flat and cheap. Here the slightly large and matte buttons work well to mix a modern and vintage flair.
I went off script for several things, and the cuffs are one of them. I think the cuff paper pattern piece must have gotten misplaced before cutting the fabric, so I just eyeballed the dimensions of a rectangle. They are deeper than the original design (which I don’t really mind), and they are tighter than intended – they’re actually supposed to overlap just a little. This does bother me a little, but not so much that I’ll redo anything.
The fit is really quite nice, and the drafting is good. My measurements usually put me in a size 36 for upper body and hips, but a size or two up for my waist and bust. With the design of this blouse I figured the shoulder and length of the sleeves was what I needed to fit to, so I cut a straight size 36 with no pattern changes except to lengthen the bodice a few inches, based on a couple of reviews I read. I was surprised to find the shoulders too wide on me, which is rarely the problem – here the shoulder seam sits beyond the shoulder point instead of inside, as it usually does for me. I would ideally have narrowed the yoke by 3 cm to have the sleeve sit at the right place, since the underarm seam drops down a bit and feels weird when I move my arms now.
I also mentioned in the IG caption that I was less than thrilled with the instructions. I do believe there might be some translation issues at play, as it is originally written in French. In a European tradition you have to add seam allowance yourself. I’m not crazy about that in indie patterns bought individually. I get it for magazines I guess, but for a single paid pattern I would prefer not to have to do the work. The pattern pieces are labelled in French, which allowed me to practice my language skills. :)
The pattern layout makes absolutely no sense (so much waste!), so I ignored it completely. Some of the steps in the instructions are very brief, such as “Prepare seven 5 cm-long loops from scraps of fabric.” With my experience I can deduce that these are for the rouleau button loops, decide how wide they should be, and how to construct them. This isn’t very helpful instructions for a less experienced sewist. I also staystitched and edgestitched liberally where I thought prudent, though that isn’t suggested in the instructions.
Some things construction wise I altered as well, such as doing a double layer for the yoke and burrito-ing it into a nice finish, and not using a single long gathering thread along a section that changes direction twice, and insert the sleeve flat instead of in the round. The sleeve and the cuff were both lacking notches I would have expected to see, to align with seams they intersect with. I also chose to have the non-interfaced part of the collar and cuff face out instead of in, as I wanted to keep a soft line overall. I am not sure that was the best choice on my part, but it’s not bad either.
I always worry a bit about coming off as grumpy and nitpicky when I point out things I’m not thrilled with about patterns, and I can’t imagine it being super-fun for the pattern company to read either. However, there is such a span in quality in sewing patterns, and I think it is important to share what works and what doesn’t.
The instructions particularly frustrated me in this make, but the design and the fit is very nice. Being such a particular design I’m not picturing making this again, but if I did, it might be fun to choose a more structured fabric. I have seen some really great versions in striped shirting!