Pattern Sizing: One size, to be adapted by the sewist. Approximately 36" bust, 25" waist. I kept the bust the way it was and added some width to the waist. I'd much rather take the waist out than try to do an FBA on some of these designs.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? More or less. I chose to omit the contrast collar because my original contrast fabric choice did not please me and I started over. Thus far I haven't found a contrast fabric I like that works well with the silk.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This wasn't an assigned pattern for the 1912 Project but we are allowed to request patterns assigned to other groups if we want to make them up. I really liked the drawing for this one and was intrigued when someone mentioned that the construction meant that the vertical stripes on the front chevroned down the back. I had to have it after that.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: A few. The pattern as designed called for a back closure. First off, how often do we have someone available to button us into our clothes when we get dressed? And more importantly, once I realized that the stripes would form a chevron down the back, no way was I interrupting that with buttons. Since my friend who is wearing this blouse likes the historic look but doesn't require accuracy, I inserted a very discreet invisible zipper down the left side seam, opening at the hem. The zipper pull sits right in the bias trim I used to edge the blouse, and it's barely noticeable. It's one of the best invisible zips I've ever done - the stripes chevron almost perfectly the entire length of the zipper.
I had also made the sleeve trim/cuffs the same way, and when I ditched the collar, the cuffs couldn't stay either. I cut them off at the seam allowance and made new cuffs from the striped silk. Since the sleeves were cut cross-grain, I cut the cuffs so that the stripes went vertical again. I backed them with muslin for a little extra body and used a very narrow seam allowance to sew them on. Even though it's a little over-stripey, I think it's a much better result.
The blouse also included pattern pieces for a lining, which I could see being necessary with a lighter or drapier fabric. Instead of pleats in the front, the lining has gathers which would help to puff the bottom of the blouse out in a historically-appropriate way. The dupioni silk I used (even though it's been washed) still has enough body that it poufs on its own. I decided I didn't want to add the extra layer of fabric, and besides, after the contortions with the contrast fabric, I'd decided I'd had enough.
Conclusion: Another interesting pattern from the 1912 Project. I'm enjoying this way more than I expected to, and I can finally make something for my friend that I know she'll get some use from.
Edited on 4/24/12 to add VPLL project checklist:
- Pattern Name E0191 Blouse
- Sewer's Skill Level: Advanced
- Pattern Rating: 3 - Good/Average. I'd give it higher marks but I think it's a pattern for a very specific body type; some of the VPLL patterns I've tried are much more wearable by a wider selection of people.
- What skill level would someone need to sew this pattern and why? I think this pattern is fine for an intermediate sewer so long as they are patient and follow the directions, simply because some of the techniques are not familiar to a modern day sewist.
- Were the instructions easy to follow? If not, what needs to be changed? I thought they were fine. I got a little confused about the pleating at first, but I took a break, re-read them and fiddled with the fabric and it all worked out. That's generally what I have to do when I can't get the words to make sense. The fabric doesn't lie, and it rarely confuses. One other note: the instructions say to gather the sleeves into the armscye, and there isn't sufficient fabric in the sleeve piece to do that; I inserted the sleeves flat and they fit without easing.
- How was the fit/sizing? Did it correspond to what you thought? It was spot on to the measurements promised on the pattern.
- Did you make any pattern alterations? If so, what alterations did you make? Were they fit or design alterations? I made one fit alteration, which was to add an extra pleat in the front because the friend who got this blouse is a bit smaller-busted than the planned measurements. My design alteration were the following: I omitted the optional lining (requested and also my fabric was opaque enough) and to add an invisible zipper in the left side seam because I wanted her to be able to dress herself and I also hated the idea of interrupting that beautiful chevron of stripes with a button placket. I also left off the collar because my fabric choice didn't work and instead I widened the square neck by about a half inch and bound it in striped bias tape. I also bias-bound the hem to neaten the edges at the zipper insertion.
- Changes I'd like in this pattern: It worked beautifully as drafted, but if it's made up with the original back closure, it should be altered to either add a button placket or note that extra fabric needs to be added to accomplish this.
- Changes to instructions: The instructions were clear, if minimal. You might want to suggest a side zip or buttons/snaps for those who aren't going for complete authenticity; it made the blouse much easier to wear. Otherwise, my suggestion above regarding redrafting to add a button placket or a note to add enough fabric to make one.
- Discussion of fabric/trim, etc. I've had this tangerine-and-cream striped silk dupioni for at least 20 years, waiting for the right project. The only problem was that I couldn't find a contrast fabric that I liked at all, which is why the blouse is made of one fabric only.
- Description of technique - insertion, cutwork, etc. This was a pretty straightforward pattern, construction-wise. My only real contribution to construction on this is to note the invisible zipper insertion in the left side seam. I inserted it so that it opened at the bottom, which made it very easy to get in and out of the blouse.