Still searching for that TNT Shawl-collared blouse I next tried the McCalls 7837.
This pattern has long been in my stash and I recall that I have made it up before – but a very long time ago and the blouse itself has been lost in the mists of time.
I superimposed the collar, neckline and facing onto my personal Bodice Block and cut out from some 100% cotton print bought (also a very long time ago) from Fabricland, Salisbury branch.
Dusky Sage Green Floral printed Cotton
The Dusky Sage-coloured just about fits into my ‘Spring Greens’ capsule and will go well with the other items in this collection.
Construction was straightforward. All seam allowances were neatened with the overlocker. Because the collar and facing are cut in one piece, this makes for a speedy sew. The hem of the bodice was shaped, hems on the bodice and the sleeves were overlocked and then double turned before top stitching in place. I made 7 buttonholes and used my favourite coconut shell buttons (stitched wrong side up) also stitched on the machine. In fact, there was no hand sewing at all on this blouse!
McCalls 7837 hacked
Conclusion: I give this an 8 out of 10 as it is not yet the TNT Shawl-collared blouse I am searching for. However I will be making it again but next time with a less structured fabric such as a viscose. My only other reservation is that by using the coconut shell buttons, the blouse has a more ‘Autumnal’ feel rather than ‘Spring Greens’.
I am still searching for the ultimate shawl collared blouse and so recently purchased this pattern. I had some pretty ‘Peach’ crinkle dobby fabric that I thought would coordinate well with the Sage spotted pinafore dress.
Ignoring the measurements chart I cut a size 20 across the shoulders, neckline and collar grading to a 22 over the waist and hips. I would make the ‘boxy’ version without the body fish-eye darts. What I should have borne in mind was that the crinkle fabric stretches and therefore the garment would ‘grow’ when ironed but more of that later.
Cutting out took just 1.6M x 130 cms wide fabric and I was able to include the long sleeve into a cuff. As this would be my ‘wearable toile’ I used the overlocker to finish the seams. Also as this was a new pattern for me I followed all the instructions to the letter.
When constructing the blouse I found that all the notches matched up which was quite something on this very mobile fabric! However, I found the drafting and construction of the collar overly complicated and the end result is very narrow in the back collar.
At the fitting stage I found that the shoulders were (once again) far too wide, the bust dart was too low (makes a change!) and the sleeves were about 2 inches too long.
To resolve the shoulder and sleeve length issues I re-stitched the sleeve insertion by sewing the top of the sleeves at least 1½ inches away from the cut edge. This also solved the problem of sleeves being too long as it took up some of the excess length. I did like the cuff construction although they are a little too big for my preference. I have adjusted the pattern in the shoulders and also taken 2 inches off the length of the cuff. With regard the overall excess of fabric in the body, I made the blouse double breasted. As I could still put the blouse on over my head I stitched the 10 buttons straight through all layers and did not go to the effort of making buttonholes that would never be used. I had been unable to find any colour coordinating buttons and therefore used 10 shell buttons from my recent bulk buy of 15mm buttons.
Lilian Blouse in Crinkle Dobby Viscose
Lilian and Jane
Conclusion: I can’t say that I am particularly pleased with the final result. It will probably end up in the charity bag but at least I have learned quite a few lessons while constructing this blouse. The colour of the fabric does indeed coordinate well with the Sage Green so that is something to bear in mind when thinking about fabric colour for another blouse or shirt to wear with the pinafore dress.
The first iteration of the Pattern Emporium All in Easy Fit Shirt was such a success that I immediately cut out another using this charming quilting weight cotton print bought from the Sew Hot pop-up shop at a bag-making retreat last October.
The design of the fabric is Midnight in the Garden by Sweetfire Road for moda #43122 and features all sorts of motifs associated with gardens. As I intend to wear this shirt when gardening it was too good an association to miss.
Cutting out took just 1.7M x 108cms wide fabric. I cut the shirt to a size 18 at the neck and yoke, grading out to a 20 from under the arms to the hem. As the fabric is quite structured I would use the overlocker to finish the seams rather than French seams which would be too bulky.
Construction was plain sailing as this fabric stitches and presses well. Rather than the box pleat, my preferred method is to gather the excess fabric across the width of the back yoke. I added a burrito yoke which was then topstitched. The hem on the sleeves was turned under by ¾ inch and top stitched in White thread. In order to avoid extra bulk at the hem on the button placket, I first stitched right sides together across the bottom before turning right sides out and completing the hem with a double turn and top stitching. I made 7 buttonholes, starting parallel to the apex of my bust and then spacing about 3inches apart above and below. I then used 17mm shell buttons from my bulk buy from eBay.
Conclusion: I am pleased with the way that I finished the hem of the button placket and delighted with the completed shirt. I will be using this pattern for my White Viscose Linen. Next time I make the shirt I will add some extra length to the front for a large bust but apart from that no other alterations.
I have had this remnant length of fine viscose in my stash since I bought it from Fabricland, Bournemouth in February last year. As there was a bare 1.7 metres of 130 cms wide and I would not be able to buy anymore of this particular print, I wanted to be sure which pattern I made up. After a great deal of procrastination I finally settled on my TNT blouse pattern which is a hack (yoke removed, fullness converted to a bust dart, shirt tail hem shaping) from Style 1441 from the 1980’s that I have made so many times I have lost count.
Vintage pattern – Style 1441 from the 1980’s
Provided I cut the back bodice at the selvedge rather than on the fold, I had just enough to make the long sleeved version with my own drafted deep double-buttoned cuffs.
Working with this fabric was akin to dealing with silk crepe de chine. It was very, very fluid and frayed as soon as you looked at it. Thus all seams were French seamed and the edges of the facing double turned and hemmed. I used fusible interfacing on the collar, facings and cuffs. Once again the shell/mother of pearl buttons were selected for the 5 buttonholes on the front bodice and two on each deep cuff. The shaped hem was first overlocked before double turning 1/4 inch and top stitching in place.
As I wanted the colour and print to be the star of this project I have not top stitched the collar, facing or cuffs.
Conclusion: After just two sessions of concentrated sewing the blouse is finished and I am delighted with the result. The fabric is so soft and has a beautiful drape. It will coordinate with the Sage Green/Ivory spot ‘Jane’ pinafore dress and also look good over trousers as a blouse or over a camisole top as a light jacket.
I have made the Aria shirt by Love Notions twice before. The first was a trial version for me and the second a trial version for my husband! The latter was not a great success for him but I wear the shirt with my dungarees when gardening!
Having a quick rummage through my fabrics I came across this pretty cotton poplin (ex Rainbow Fabrics) remnant and thought I would have another go with the Aria. I had only 1.10 metres x 150 cms but by judicious pattern layout and the use of a contrast for the inside yoke and undercollar I was able to cut out a size 2X with full bust and short sleeves with cuffs. The only alteration to the pattern was to shorten the length of the body (and button placket) by 1 inch.
It was only as I was preparing to stitch the button placket that I discovered a tiny scissor snip in the left front bodice. I appliqued and satin stitched a patch and hope that it is not too noticeable.
I chose my favourite Mother of Pearl buttons for the closure. I made 7 buttonholes. As I will never wear the shirt fully buttoned up I cut open only the bottom 5.
Neapolitan Aria (version 3)
Conclusion: I am pleased with the end result but there are a couple of changes to be made for the next iteration which I had identified last time and forgot to address. The shoulder width needs to be reduced by ½ inch. I need to lengthen the centre front of the bodice by at least 1 inch and grade to 0 at the side seams. As I did not like the box pleat last time, for this iteration I have gathered in the fullness across the back bodice and I much prefer this look. Due to the colour and pattern of the fabric my husband calls this my Neapolitan Aria.
A long time ago I purchased this pattern as a pdf from Sensibility.com who have several modern interpretations of Regency-style patterns. After several failed attempts to get the document to print, I abandoned the project and went other garments. Forward a couple of years and with more experience of using pdfs under my belt I revisited this pattern. Aha! To have the pattern printed to size one has to make adjustments to the settings – select ‘Poster’ and all will be resolved!
In the notes accompanying the pattern, the designer admits that whilst the pattern was created as a companion to the Romantic Era Dress, it is not period authentic. The first idea came from viewing a dramatisation of “Wives and Daughters” on TV.
The blouse is very versatile. It can be made with or without the shaping tucks, short or long sleeves, with or without trimming to the collar. There is a good range of sizes, from 6 – 24 and I chose to make the largest size. I shortened the sleeves by 3 cms and extended the length of the cuffs by 1 cm (next time they need to be at least 3 cms longer to provide a good overlap).
For this wearable toile I used some of a length of viscose bought from Minerva which although it was lightweight with good drape, was difficult to control and caused a few headaches where precision was required e.g. the collar. The sleeves themselves are lovely and full with gathers at both the sleeve heads and into the narrow single button cuffs.
The pattern itself was hand drawn and this maybe from where some of the problems originated. The illustrations in the instructions were also hand drawn. I started by following the pattern but soon realised it would be better to use my TNT methods for this type of collar construction.
As it was, the mobility of the fabric combined with less than precise drafting and fabric cutting out made that part of the construction a bit of a ‘fudge’. I will know better next time.
The fit is OK but not especially roomy. The length is also longer than I was expecting and I therefore added 6 plain Black buttons to the front closure.
Conclusion: I especially like the collar and blouse works well with a soft fabric but needs to be cut and sewn with precision. I am unsure about the colour and print of the fabric used although it does look good under both my Burgundy Brushed cotton and the recently-made Black viscose linen pinafore dresses.
I fell in love with the print of this fabric from one of my favourite eBay sellers. At the beginning of January I purchased the last remaining 2metre remnant at a grand price of £ 8.99 from crystal009. Such lovely fabric deserved special buttons and I splashed out on a set of 50 Red sparkly buttons from Amazon for £4.98.
I knew exactly which pattern to make up – my TNT long-sleeved blouse. This is a pattern that I have returned to very many times over the past 10 years. I always refer to it as my ‘Threads’ blouse as it was drafted using instructions from an old issue of Threads magazine.
As the fabric had such great drape I decided on the long full sleeves gathered into a double button cuff. All seams were constructed using French seams so the inside of the blouse is beautifully clean finished. The shaped hem is finished with a narrow double folded hem top-stitched in place. Due to the length of the blouse, for this iteration I worked 6 buttonholes down the front and I know that it will look good worn outside my Black slim leg trousers.
Conclusion: This is yet another example of why I return again and again to this pattern. This fabric is a delight to wear. Although it was originally planned to go with the Black viscose linen pinafore dress I think it looks equally good with the Navy needlecord one as well.
Having just made a second version of the Tamarack I decided that now was the time to try a new to me pattern.
I was inspired by all the lovely versions of this shirt posted on Instagram. For the first ‘trial’ version I would use the remnant of Red/White gingham fabric that I had originally used for the binding on my first Tamarack jacket.
Q: How to make a complicated construction method even more difficult?
A: Use a ‘cheap’ loosely woven cotton with gingham weave, just so that it frays like ‘Billy O’ and is not ‘on grain’ so you can’t match up the checks.
As I knew that this shirt was oversized I cut the size 18 from the standard range. I am also aware that I don’t particularly like dropped shoulders but nevertheless I ignored those inner concerns – onwards and upwards!
I have made shawl-collared dresses and blouses in the past but never with the addition of a lined yoke and internal dart for shaping. Try as I might I could not decipher the written instructions so went with my gut and stitched the darts in the shirt and facing before attaching to the neckline and shoulder seams. That has worked out fine. I used the burrito method for completing the yoke and its lining – all without problems.
I inserted the sleeves flat using a French seam and having stitched the side seams also with French seam, turned up a 1½ inch hem. The hem of the shirt was narrow double turned and top stitched in place.
Having now had my final fitting I realised that the shoulder was far too dropped for my liking and the sleeves stick out like an American footballer. I will never wear this shirt. I found 5 Winter White-coloured buttons in my stash, completed the buttonholes, attached the buttons, photographed the completed shirt and ‘laid it to rest’ in the charity bag!
Conclusion: For me this is an absolute fail – lesson learned! However, I do plan to hack the pattern for the collar, facings and yoke onto my standard bodice block. That way I will end up with the collar and yoke detail that I like but without the voluminous shirt, dropped shoulders and massive sleeves.
A waistcoat has been in my plans for a very long time. I bought the recently released Birch pattern which can be used with minimum amounts of fabric. The Birch Vest is described as a lined waistcoat with princess seams, a deep scoop neckline, and a front button closure. A transitional wardrobe staple, Birch can be worn alone or layered with matching separates for a tailored or casual style.
I was lucky enough to find just enough of a Mustard fine needlecord remnant from making Texas trousers together with the remnant of lining used on the sleeves of my Sorrento jacket.
I printed off the pattern and having stitched a very quick toile in calico immediately saw that I needed to shorten the length by 1¼ inches. I also had to ‘finesse’ the curve of the princess seam over the bust. I transferred the alterations to the paper pattern and cut into my remnants of needlecord and lining. There was not quite enough to cut the centre back panel in one piece and so there is a seam at waist level. I may well hide this later with a half belt.
Construction was straightforward and all the pieces matched up well with the notches. I top stitched the princess seams and under-stitched as much as possible before turning right side out.
I found a batch of buttons in just the right size and shade of ‘Mandarin Orange’. Infact there are so many of them that I shall have to find some coordinating printed viscose to make either a blouse or dress to use them up!
Conclusion: Unfortunately the original Texas trousers in the fine needlecord have been sold so they won’t be worn together with the waistcoat! I am very pleased with the finished project and by using this particular fabric and colour it will coordinate well with many of my dresses and blouses.
When browsing through my stash of knit fabrics I came across this beautiful Ponte Roma in a lovely shade of ‘Sea Haze’ or if you like – Pale Greeny/Blue! There was just under 1 metre of fabric but where it came from – I know not where!
I have not made a Paola top for some time as previously I was ‘hooked’ on the cowl necked Freya top by Tilly and the Buttons. However, as I wanted to use up this fabric, the Paola pattern by Named Clothing fitted the bill perfectly.
I threaded up the overlocker with palest Green thread, inserted 2 new jersey needles, tested the stitching and was off!
When cutting out I discovered that there was insufficient for full length sleeves so I cut them as long as possible and then added a double folded cuff. The finished length is somewhere between the elbow and the wrist, which is perfect for me as I have short arms and did not want my wrists to be ‘cluttered’.
I remembered that Ponte de Roma does not have the same amount of stretch as cotton or viscose jersey so made the seams as narrow as possible. I stitched the top entirely on the overlocker with the exception of twin needle stitching the hem of the bodice.
Conclusion: The only adjustment that I made was to drop the centre front neckline by ¾ inch as I found the original a bit too close. Next time I will make the collar shorter but also a little wider, apart from that this top is just about perfect.