Monday, 12 March 2012

My Self-drafted Semi-Couture Blouse in the Making

I have finally got around to making a blouse from my master pattern, which I drafted using the block in Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear, with one difference: I drafted the sleeve cap to have very, very little ease (I was trying to get no ease, but couldn't quite manage it). It's the sleeve that's giving me trouble. Maybe I'm just too used to knit tops.

Anyway, this is a bit of the fabric I'm using. It's a soft, pink Broiderie Anglais with a scallop border. It looks much prettier in real life than it does in the photo.

I didn't cut the fabric in the usual manner, i.e. pin it carefully then accurately cut along the seam allowance. This time, having watched Gertie's and Susan Khalje's Classes on Craftsy, I traced the seam lines onto the fabric using carbon paper and my tracing wheel.

After that I machine basted the stitching lines. I used Gutermann Cotton 30 Sulky thread, which makes a lot of fluff in your sewing machine. I also found out one of the reasons it is good to have adjustable presser foot pressure (which I don't) on your sewing machine: one layer of Summer weight cotton fabric is not held down properly on a sewing machine with set presser foot pressure.

My basting stitches made the fabric wrinkly. There could be several reasons for this (one may be the presser foot pressure), for instance, I used thread that was apparently too thick for the fabric.

Another mishap was that I accidentally cut two identical front pieces. It wouldn't have mattered but the scallops look different on the inside and I will not have my blouse look like I put it together in the dark. Fortunately I have plenty of extra fabric so I cut another one.

I drafted a shawl collar (not a real one, basically a Peter Pan collar in a different shape) onto sew-in interfacing. I forgot that I was supposed to overlap the shoulder points by 1" (not 1/4") so I am hoping that it will look alright. It'll be worth seeing anyway and I can always unbaste and try again. : )

Tracing the stitching lines meant that I could cut the fabric rather sloppily with wide seam allowances, and it allows me for "wiggle room" for matching the scallops at the hems (especially on the sleeves which I must have accidentally cut a little off grain, because they don't match.) Why do we ever cut with set seam allowances? This way is so much better!
Update: I've changed my mind; collars and such things turn out much better if you have set seam allowances on the outer edges.

At the moment I'm basting everything by hand. I tried to use gussets on the sleeves but there doesn't seem to be many tutorials for inserting them into set-in sleeves. There certainly aren't any instructions in my sewing books. Do you know any tutorials for drafting and setting gussets into set-in sleeves? Please let me know if you do!

How will I sew the darts if everything is basted you ask? Well, when I get the darts, I flip them out of the way and then sew the other side of them, like they do in couture. I've done the same when the seams cross. It's so easy and practical.

So that's how far I've got. I think the fit should be alright, but this is the first thing I have made from this pattern.

You know one of the things I love about sewing right now? You can have a few patterns (dress, top, skirt, trousers, maybe jacket, bustier dress) and easily alter them for countless looks! When I first start learning something, I sometimes think things must be a lot more complicated than they actually turn out to be, rather than using common sense. When I just started learning pattern making, I for some reason thought there must by a lot of maths for each different style, but like everything else, it turned out that there were some basic principles that pretty much solved everything else! Isn't that great?!

Well, I think that will do for now.
Until next week, happy sewing!
Sabrina Wharton-Brown
The Sewing Corner