Pattern Review: Vogue V1527 View B Blouse

Long one coming up! I love this type of blouse, and I have since I was young. When I saw Paco had included it as part of his Vogue Pattern V1527 I knew I would have to make it. Then this silk came across my desk and the rest is history…


Pattern Description: (From Vogue’s website) Loose-fitting blouse has collar extending into tie, back yoke extending into forward shoulder seams and French cuffs.

Sizing: 4-18, I made a 12

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used:

Note: Theresa pointed out that the pattern requires 3.5 yards and that seems like a lot. I pulled 3.5 yards per the instructions and I have a solid yard left over.  I think the yardage requirements are wrong. Do yourself a favor, especially if you have an expensive fabric, and measure the pattern. Realistically, on a size 12 body, 2.5 yards  of 45 inch fabric should do a blouse unless you have a very large print that you are trying to match.

White 3-ply Silk Crepe from Gorgeous Fabrics. Silk crepe is my favorite fabric to work with! This fabric is SOOOOOOO amazing. It’s got a heavy, luxurious drape to it, and it feels amazing. Swoon! I also used Wide Silk Organza – Off White for the cuffs (more on that later).

Even better, both these fabrics are still available! That almost never happens. I usually don’t get the chance to sew something until the fabric is long since sold out, so it’s a treat to show you a fabric that’s on the site. Did I mention we have our 10th anniversary sale going on right now? Get 10% off, plus US shipping is flat $10, regardless of how much you order! International peeps get a $10 gift certificate upon ordering, good for a future purchase.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Juki MO654DE serger, Reliable iron and board, sleeve board, ham/stand, shoulder stand, pressing finger, bamboo chopstick, point presser.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 60/8 needle in the sewing machine, Universal 70/10 needles in the serger. Vilene Shirt interfacing (a gift from Paco Peralta last year), pearl buttons, self-covered buttons, basting thread, thread, hand needles.

This interfacing isn’t available in the US, but any good shirt-weight interfacing will work as well.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, of course. Scary Silks,

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes.

How were the instructions? They were fine. This is not a terribly difficult pattern. The fabric choice can make it tricky to work with, but it’s a good pattern for anyone who’s been sewing for a while. If you’re intermediate level you should have no trouble with this.

Construction Notes: I made a muslin to check the fit. It went together pretty readily, but I noticed that the bust point on the pattern was really high:

What the Whut?

The pattern bust point marking is 8 inches from the shoulder line. I checked it against the printed pattern to make sure I didn’t make a transfer error. Nope. 8 inches. I don’t know anyone over about age 10 who has a bust apex 8 inches below the shoulder line.

I tried the muslin on to see if it mattered, and there was a slight drag line between the bust point and the armscye, so yes, it does make a difference, especially if you are large busted. I made a small FBA, mostly to drop the bust point down to where it should be. Drag line gone. I also shortened the sleeves about 5/8 inch, which is not unusual for me with Vogue patterns.

Vogue recommends lightweight fabrics like crepe de chine or charmeuse for this pattern. Because my silk crepe was heavier than recommended, I made some modification to the construction. They have you use French seams for the sleeve and side seams. I did a mockup to see what I thought of it with my 3-ply crepe.

There’s 4 layers of fabric in a straight seam like this.

With this fabric, that would put 8 layers of fabric into the seam at two points – where the yoke joins to the front and back. That’s a lot of bulk, so I decided instead to use standard 5/8 inch seam allowances and finish the raw edges with a 4-thread overlock.


This is a judgement call. If I had used a georgette or charmeuse, the French seam would be great, and would give an elegant finish. But my fabric was heavy enough that I think it would have been a bit of a disaster. I heartily recommend doing mockups with scraps when you are dealing with situations like this.

The pattern recommends using fusible interfacing. I decided instead to use sew-in interfacing. The Vilene that I used is nice and crisp, but I wanted to avoid bulk in the seams, so I cut both the Vilene and I also cut silk organza. I stitched the Vilene to the organza just outside the seamlines. I trimmed the Vilene close to the stitching, leaving just the organza seam allowances. Voila, less bulk!

Stitched Vilene to organza on the bottom, Vilene trimmed from the seam allowances on the top.

I used purchased pearl buttons for the front closure

I made self-covered button cufflinks. I fused a scrap of lightweight interfacing to the silk to give it a bit more support and to make it easier to cover the buttons.

Likes/Dislikes: I love this pattern! It was a pleasure to sew, and the fabric was a joy to work with. The pattern is beautifully drafted and goes together without a hitch. Do test runs of your seams to see how the French seam works with your fabric.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes I would, and yes I do! This is another winner from Vogue and Paco.

Conclusion: A beautiful classic, something that I will wear for years to come. At some point I’ll get a shot on me, but here it is on Shelley:

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: McCalls M6559 Bolero, AKA Snow Day Sewing

When the weather does that, and the fireplace does this, it’s time to head upstairs and sew!

Snow Day! I seem to get either my baking or my sewing mojo going during snowstorms. Today we have had at least 6 inches of snow -they’ve been forecasting a foot- and my sewing mojo made an appearance like a long lost cousin of Punxatauney Phil. Yay! I rummaged through my (long neglected) pattern collection and found this gem. I previously made the maxi dress, but I wanted something I can layer over tee shirts and tanks as the weather gets warmer. A girl can dream, can’t she? This fit the bill perfectly!

Pattern Description: From McCalls’ website, “Close-fitting, unlined jacket in 2 lengths has front extending into single-layer tie ends (wrong side shows). A: Three-quarter length sleeves. B: Long sleeves. Very close-fitting, pullover dresses are sleeveless. E, F: Racerback straps, front seam detail, bias upper/middle fronts, and lower front/back (cut on crosswise grain of fabric. All have narrow hems. F: Star detail.”

I made view A, the shorter bolero with ¾ length sleeves.

Sizing: 6-22. I made the 12.

Available as a PDF? I thought it was when I made it before, but now it appears not.

Fabric Used: Silk jersey in Soft Mauve from Gorgeous Fabrics. It’s long since sold out, sorry, but there are a few Here

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Juki MO654DE serger, Reliable Steam Generator iron, ironing board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, silk press cloth.

Needle/Notions Used: Scraps of weft interfacing, Stretch 75/11 needle, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Tricot – It’s Not Just for Lining any More, Anything by The Pressinatrix, Tip – Check the Grain on Knits, Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Knits.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? I did look at the instructions after I finished and they seem fine. I didn’t need them during construction, since this is pretty straightforward.

Construction Notes: I made a FBA. I also applied scraps of woven interfacing to the shoulder seams to stabilize them. I serged the seams. I Flat Set the Sleeves.

I made narrow hems all around the edges.

All in all, this took an afternoon to make, and that was with long breaks for checking in on orders and emails. I’d estimate this took me about 3 hours from first cutting out to final stitch.

Likes/Dislikes: Love it! This will make a great piece for transitioning from winter to spring. It’s also will be pretty tossed over a tank or dress for cool summer evenings.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes! This one will definitely go into rotation. Great pattern. I made this one from silk jersey, but I’ll make a more “workaday” version with ITY.

Here are pictures on Shelley:

Front

Back

Conclusion: A great pattern, this will get lots of wear. It’s easy enough for beginners, but also a great wardrobe component.

Happy sewing!

Not Much Sewing Going On Around Here

Man, the winter doldrums have hit hard! Since I got back I have made a total of two things. I copied a Calvin Klein dress for my friend Renee. That dress is one of her favorites, and she asked if I could make her one from (sold out, sorry) Big Bold Chevrons ITY Jersey. It’s a perfect colorway for her, and she loved the bright and graphic print.

On the left, the original CK dress. On the right, the copy made by tracing off a pattern.

I simply traced her dress to create the pattern. The design couldn’t be simpler – it’s a close fitting tank top maxi dress with a flared hemline – more flared than any of the patterns I have without being overwhelming. It’s kind of nice because it gives a lot of freedom of movement to the legs. The pattern is two pieces, and I bound the neckline and armholes with Beyond Basic Black ITY Jersey. The order of construction was:

  1. Stabilize the shoulders with scraps of fusible interfacing.
  2. Stitch the shoulder seams.
  3. Stitch the side seams.
  4. Apply binding to neckline and armholes.
  5. Hem

Ta daa! A dress that took less than 3 hours from starting to trace the pattern to finished garment. I shipped it off to her last week so hopefully she’ll have it soon.

I had enough fabric left over that I decided to make myself a top. This time I did another StyleArc Cold Shoulder Top. Everything is the same as the Last Time I Made This Pattern. I did make sure to carefully place the pattern on the chevrons, to avoid any arrows pointing to the wrong place. Here’s a front/back shot on Shelley

This is one that DEFINITELY looks better on a real person than on Shelley

I haven’t decided what I want to work on next. I need some more knit tops, but I’ll make those from my go-to long sleeve tee, the Ann Tee Top from StyleArc. That’s not really worth a blog post. I also am inspired by Tany’s version of Paco Peralta’s Vogue 1527 Blouse, so I may start making a muslin of that.

So that’s what’s new here. What have you all been sewing?

Five Pattern Companies I Love

Happy New Year, everyone! I know it’s been the better part of a month since I posted. Lots happened. I went on a bucket list trip. The website will be back up and running shortly (big updates, meaning little things broke and we want to fix them).

In the meantime, I want to share with you my favorite pattern companies. I try very hard to be egalitarian with my recommendations for patterns for the fabrics on Gorgeous Fabrics, but these are the ones that I sew for myself.

Vogue Patterns
I’ve sewn Vogue patterns since I was a teenager. They are the gold standard for designer patterns. They went through a bit of a fallow period, but recently they have brought in new designers, and the results are great! And hey, they have recently engaged with one of my favorite pattern designers…

BCN Unique Patterns (aka Paco Peralta Patterns)
Classic, Barcelona (the home of Balenciaga) inspired, fabulous for any age patterns. Amazing drafting, beautiful lines. Total LURVE! Full disclosure, Paco is a dear friend, but still – the patterns are great.

StyleArc Patterns
If you want to copy recent ready-to-wear, this is the company that you want to hook your little red wagon to. Recently they have embraced the athleisure wear trend, and that’s fine, but I really like their more structured looks.

Marfy Patterns
Couture patterns, meant for those who really (really) know what they are doing, but drafted so well that the less complicated ones are pretty easy to figure out. No instructions, no seam allowances. You are on your own but the results are almost universally FANTASTIC!

Jalie Patterns
If you want casual clothing with a truly RTW fit, and easy sewing, great drafting and adherence to trends without going all wacky, this is the line for you. Emilie and her mom design and grade the patterns, and most of them (all of them?) come in sizes from les petites to femmes/hommes and they all seem to fit beautifully. A real treat!

Lots of new stuff is coming once we get the small broken shoelace module *cough*shipping*cough* fixed on the site. It should be back tomorrow, and thanks for your patience.

Happy sewing!
Ann

Just to be very clear here, I have not received any recompense for this post from any pattern companies. I don’t solicit or take reimbursement  for any recommendations. I really like these guys, and I hope you will too!

Finally I Sewed Something! Pattern Review of New Look 6396 Capelet

I’ve been slowly making my way on this pattern. If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen the progress. But with the holidays, children coming home to visit, refreshing our SCUBA skills, getting ready for vacation (YAY!!!!!) and the sale (yes, The Sale!) I’ve been too busy to post, or even to sew very much. But I did finally finish this cape, so here we go!

Pattern Description: From Simplicity’s website (don’t even get me going on that), “These military style capes and classic cape and capelet are the stylish statement piece your wardrobe is looking for. For the cooler weather, view E offers faux fur collar that will keep you warm and cozy”

My take on the pattern description, “Capes and capelets in different lengths with neckline and armhole variations. I made View A with several changes.

Sizing: XS to XL. I made a Small

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Bouclé (sold out, sorry) lined with 4 Ply Silk Crepe left over from my Pippa Dress (also sold out, sorry again!). Silk Organza for interfacing, French cotton braid that was a gift from Susan Khalje.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030 sewing machine, Reliable Iron, Shoulder Stand

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needles, squared-off hooks and eyes from Pacific Trimming, Silke waxed thread (THE Best!! Never knots. I’m totally sold), thread, Clover Needle Threader (is that a tool, rather than a notion?)

Starting from the bottom left, clockwise: Hook/Eye, Thread, Silke Waxed Thread, Clover Desktop Threader.
Starting from the bottom left, clockwise: Hook/Eye, Thread, Silke Waxed Thread, Clover Desktop Threader.

Tips Used during Construction: Make the Lining First, Anything by The Pressinatrix.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Kinda-sorta. I left off the epaulets and the (really badly done on the pattern photo, but we won’t talk about that here) closures.
How were the instructions? They seemed adequate, though I made enough changes that I didn’t use them very much.

Construction Notes: I decided to take a more couture approach to this garment. I used sew-in interfacing (the silk organza).

organza-interfacing

I thought the sewn closures that were included in the pattern had a very Becky Home Ecky… well, not the look I want, so I used large hooks that I bought at Pacific Trim, which I sewed in right at the Center Front.

4-ply-silk-liningThis pattern has straight CB seam.  Simplicity does that because they have you turn the lining out during construction through the CB seam. A straight back seam? I don’t like unnecessary seams, so I eliminated that and used one of the side seams to turn the garment. It gives a much cleaner line.

back

I hand sewed the Trim around the CF, neckline and the arm openings.

trim-detail
Likes/Dislikes: This is a cute pattern, good for non-frigid days in the New England weather.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? No, I won’t do it again. One (I guess that’s me) only needs one of these.
Conclusion: A cute topper that goes together easily. It’s good for anyone who has a little sewing experience. Here are shots on Shelley:

front
Front

side back

 

Okay, so here’s the BIG NEWS

I am going on VACATION for the first time in 10 years. No phone, no internet, no nothing. The site will shut down (you can still view it but you won’t be able to buy) starting at 5:00 PM on Friday. We’ll move the warehouse and then we are all heading out!!! So if you want any fabric, grab it before 5 PM Eastern on December 23. We will be back on January 12, 2017. Have a wonderful, wonderful holiday season and I’ll see you next year!

Some Details about the Sale

moving-sale-11-29-16

Thanks to some lovely folks who have kindly mentioned that our moving sale is going on, I’ve fielded a bunch of questions so I figure I’ll answer them here to have an easy place to reference.
  • First, our sale is not just for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. So go ahead and shop all you want. We’ll be here!
  • Second, you don’t need a coupon. The sale prices are already taken for you. You can tell fabric is on sale by the green “sale” button in the upper right corner of the fabric’s picture! Feel confident that you are getting the amazing 40% savings on your Gorgeous Fabrics!
  • Third, I’ve had some complaints about the fact that we don’t show original/sale prices explicitly. I won’t bore you with the technical details, but it has to do with the way our underlying shopping cart software works. You really are getting the discount, and we have put in a bug fix request to get it changed.
  • Fourth, during the sale, no other discounts apply, including Gorgeous Points. However, you will earn points for your purchases that you can use on future orders.

I hope that helps! Have fun with the sale and happy sewing
Ann

Pattern Review: Vogue V1527 Paco Peralta Tuxedo Jacket

First up, I hope all my friends who celebrate it had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! It was delightful to have the kids home. Both our boys were off from college all week, so we got to spend lots of time with them. Last night was really wonderful, because a bunch of their friends came over and we made homemade pizzas. The house was filled with laughter and happiness.

Second, this is a long post, so grab a cuppa or a glass and settle in. And just to add the normal disclaimer, Paco is a very dear friend. I bought this pattern without any urging from him, and I get nothing from anyone for doing this review. So here we go!


Pattern Description: From Vogue Patterns’ website, “Semi-fitted lined jacket has princess seams, single-button closure, shawl collar, in-seam pockets, two-piece sleeves, back vent and contrast inset. Loose-fitting blouse has collar extending into tie, back yoke extending into forward shoulder seams and French cuffs. Semi-fitted skirt has back invisible zipper.”

I made the jacket- though I refer to it as the tuxedo coat.

Sizing: 4-18. I made the 12.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Ralph Lauren Wool Double Crepe – Black for the body, Silk/Wool Satin- Black for the contrast lapels, Iridescent Rayon Twill Lining – Ruby for the lining.

BTW – we’re having a huge Moving Sale at Gorgeous Fabrics right now, and almost everything is 40% off store-wide. Just sayin’…

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Reliable iron and ironing board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, ham, silk organza press cloth, clapper.

Needle/Notions Used: Buttons that my dear friend Rosie brought back from Paris for me a while back. Hair canvas interfacing that was in my stash (not sure where I got that one from, sorry), 1/2 inch Tailor’s Set-in Shoulder Pads, sleeve heads that Paco sent me ages ago, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Pretty much anything from The Pressinatrix, Make the Lining First, Using Pins to Mark Start/Stop Points, How to Use Sleeve Heads and Chest Shields, Setting a Sleeve into an Armhole.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes!

How were the instructions? Not great: I had several issues. I’ll send this list to McCalls to let them know as well.

Problem 1: There are 8 pages of instructions. I got pages 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and another 5/6. I didn’t get 7/8.

Whoops
Whoops

I understand from several friends who have this pattern that they had the same issue. Paco sent me a picture of the last two pages of instructions, and I’ll ask McCalls to send me a copy of the PDF so I have a complete set.

Problem 2: The instructions and pattern markings conflict on the front interfacing.

So which is it? Interface the whole front, or just interface the facing?
So which is it? Interface the whole front, or just interface the facing?

The cutting instructions tell you to interface the entire front piece. But the pattern piece, and the illustrations in steps 3 and 5 all indicate that you only interface the facings. The ultimate answer to the question, “Well, which is it?” depends on your fabric and interfacing. In my case, I knew I only wanted to interface the facing. But that’s because I know what I’m doing.

Problem 3: The instructions omit one small but potentially crucial step. After step 8, clip the seam allowance to the stitching line at the small dots and press open. If you construct the buttonholes and follow the illustrations as written you’ll block the hole.

Another whoops
Another whoops

Problem 4: The instructions don’t explicitly tell you to hem the sleeves. They have you baste the sleeves , then they tell you to attach the lining to the sleeve at the hem.  This will give you a wibbly wobbly hem, especially after putting the jacket on and taking it off a few times. I hemmed the sleeve attaching the lining to it. Doing this will give you a crisper finish that will withstand wear and tear better.

Much as I love Vogue Patterns, I’m going to lay the blame for this at their feet. I’m pretty sure Paco didn’t write the directions, and even if he did, someone at Vogue should have caught the discrepancies before publishing them.

Construction Notes: I Made Two Fitting Muslins to get the fit the way I want. It was pretty good out of the envelope, but to make it better I did a FBA

This is a cleverly disguised princess line, so it's pretty easy to adjust
This is a cleverly disguised princess line, so it’s pretty easy to adjust

and I added about 1 inch around at the waist, sigh… Other than that, I didn’t make any major sizing changes.

I inserted sleeve heads to support the shoulder/sleeve.

Top: inside. Bottom: outside
Top: inside. Bottom: outside

After making the buttonhole, I decided that I didn’t want a small button. Rather, I wanted a statement button, so I closed up the buttonhole and I used a snap closure and stitched the button on. (Yah, I know – it’s a men’s-style close. Sue me.)

Good lord, Black is hard to photograph!
Good lord, Black is hard to photograph!

I used the smaller buttons (which fit through the buttonhole) on the sleeves. Here’s a picture of the buttons so you can see the details.

Couture Buttons!
Couture Buttons!

Likes/Dislikes: Instructions aside, I LOVE this pattern! The lines are beautiful, it makes me look long and lean. It’s fabulous. Period.

The dislike is the instructions. That’s fixable. As long as the pattern is well drafted (it is!) and the fit is reliable (it is!) you can work around the instructions.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again. How many of these does one need? But I am saving this in case I change my mind, and I DEFINITELY recommend it. This is one that will stretch your abilities and give you a beautiful result. Make a muslin, that’s my biggest recommendation.

And of course, now that I’m thinking about it, I do have a pink duchesse satin that would look fabulous in this design for Easter. Maybe with some of the silk satin left over from my Wedding Gown Refactor as the lapels. Hmmmm…

Conclusion: A great pattern. Keep in mind the instructions issues and power through and you be rewarded with a great garment! Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll get pictures on me later this week.

Front
Front
Had to overexpose the back to get any detail, and still...
Had to overexpose the back to get any detail, and still…
Side view – love this sleeve!
Overexposed to show the seams
Overexposed to show the seams
And the subtly contrasting lining - love it!
And the subtly contrasting lining – love it!

I am so happy with this jacket! Hopefully I haven’t put you to sleep. And as a parting shot, here’s Hoover saying “I like the holiday season.”

It's a dog's life
It’s a dog’s life

Happy sewing!

Muslin of Paco Peralta for Vogue Patterns V1527 Coat – and binge watching

Before anything else, a disclaimer. Paco is a close friend, and I am thrilled beyond belief that he has secured a license for some of his patterns with Vogue Patterns. Bravo, Paco!!!!

That said, I bought this pattern with my own money with no expectation of recompense neither.

If you follow me on Instagram, you can see that I started this pattern a couple of weeks ago, and I want to do this right, so I made a muslin. For my first muslin (yep, there are more than one) I traced off the pattern as-is in a size 12 and changed the seam allowances to 1 inch a la Susan Khalje’s couture sewing guidance. I knew this would need some adjustments, but going with the Vagaries of Fit: Shoulders, I started with the 12. That works well with my shoulder measurement. Here are some pictures of the first muslin.
collage-shot
You can see that the bust is not right, and the waist is a little snug. The sleeves are great. Normally I have to shorten all Vogue/McCalls/Butterick sleeves by at least 1/2 inch, but these are perfect for me. So I made those changes (I’ll show them in the ultimate pattern review) and made another muslin.. Here are shots on mesecond-muslin-shots-better-fit
And here is a picture of the back on Shelley – I couldn’t get a good shot on me, sorry
second-muslin-on-shelley

So far, I am really in love with this pattern! The next step is to cut it out in the fashion fabric. For that I will use Ralph Lauren Medium Wool Crepe for the main pieces, Silk/Wool Satin for the lapels, and Silk Habotai for the lining. All from Gorgeous Fabrics, of course.

Binge Watching “The Crown”! (I’m sure my Irish ancestors are spitting on me from heaven. Oh well.)

If you haven’t had the chance, check out The Crown on Netflix.

It is totally engrossing, and the fashion is amazing!

More to come shortly. Have a great weekend, and happy sewing!

Pattern Review: StyleArc Holly Blouse


Pattern Description: From StylArc’s website, Beautiful feminine blouse featuring a front tie and 7/8th length sleeves. This blouse is designed to pull on so therefore easy to make and wear along with keeping all the on trend features.

I just noticed an error on the technical drawing. The sleeves have elbow darts which are not shown on the tech drawing. You can see them in the picture of the pattern pieces further down in this review. It’s a minor nit, but worth noting. Also, the blouse has slight gathers at the front shoulder yoke, which do show on the tech illustration.

Sizing: 4-30; I made a 10

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Emerald jewels print silk charmeuse that I received as a gift. This one was a bit ravelly, which made it tricky to work with, but I took my time and it turned out well.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Juki MO645DE serger, Naomi the late, beloved Naomoto, Reginald the Reliable Iron, ironing board, shoulder press, pressing ham, sleeve board.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 60/8 needles, Pro-Sheer Elegance Couture Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: How to Sew a Shirttail Hem Without Ripples, Pretty much anything by The Pressinatrix

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? StyleArc normal, which is to say pretty minimal. I didn’t need them, other than to check the diagram to make sure I inserted the tie into the neckline correctly. If you are an intermediate sewer, you can follow their instructions without trouble. I recommend keeping a good general sewing reference (my favorite is the Vogue Book of Sewing) handy if you need more information.

Construction Notes: I made two muslins before I cut into my silk. The first was from cotton muslin, just for fitting purposes. The second was with Abstract Floral Crinkle Crepe Chiffon – Brown/Eggy to better approximate the drape of the silk. I was planning to make the chiffon a “wearable muslin”, but I forgot to put the tie in the collar (doh!) so it was just a fitting muslin. I’m glad I did it, though, because it did point out that the sleeve cap wasn’t high enough. I added about 3/8″ height to it. I did a Full Bust Adjustment and lowered the bust dart by about an inch. Here you can see the changes on the flat pattern.

FBA and bust adjustment on the right, sleeve cap adjustment on all 3 pieces.
FBA and bust adjustment on the right, sleeve cap adjustment on all 3 pieces.

I sewed all seams with a 2.5 mm straight stitch and finished the seam allowances with a three-thread overlock, serging the side seams together, then pressing them toward the back. I made a narrow hem to finish.

One thing to note about this pattern: like all StyleArc patterns, it uses RTW industry standard seam allowances. That means that seams for the sides and main body pieces are 3/8 inch wide, and facings (like at the collar) are 1/4 inch. If you are dealing with a fiddly fabric like my charmeuse, which had a tendency to ravel, it can be trying, so you might want to increase the SAs along the neckline and then trim them after you finish. Also, I found the facings to be too wide and unwieldy, so I trimmed them back to about 5/8 inch and I topstitched around the neckline edges to keep them in place. If I were to do it again, I would probably use a bias piece of self fabric to face the neckline edge. Also, as I discovered on the chiffon, you really need to stay stitch the neckline edges or they will stretch out, especially in the front. Finally, the instructions have you fold the cuffs in half and then serge them to the sleeve. I decided to do a slightly more ‘couture’ approach and I sewed one edge of the cuff to the sleeve, folded the remaining raw edge under and hand-sewed it:

I think this gives a softer, more appealing finish
I think this gives a softer, more appealing finish

Likes/Dislikes: This is a very well-drafted pattern that goes together quite easily. I really like the clean lines that let the fabric have center stage. This would be great for a big bold print. I don’t dislike anything about this. It’s definitely a pattern that requires some precise sewing in small places, so take your time and you’ll get good results.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I doubt I’ll do it again. I now have two of these tie-neckline blouses and I think that’s enough for me. I do recommend it, with the caveat about the facings and seam allowances for the neckline.

Conclusion: I’ll get a lot of use from this blouse. It looks great with jeans as well as with a pegged black skirt, and I like it both tucked in and worn out like a tunic with a belt over it. Here are shots on Shelley:

Full-on Front
Detail of the shoulder and neckline
Detail of the shoulder and neckline
You can see the elbow dart in this picture
You can see the elbow dart in this picture
And back. I might add darts for a little more shaping.

I just received my order from the last McCalls Pattern Company sale, which included both Paco Peralta patterns. This morning I found out that my husband’s company holiday party is the first Friday in December, so I think I’m going to make the long tuxedo jacket, and probably pair it with cigarette pants. That gives me a hobby!

In Other (family) News…
This past weekend was the last home game and Senior Day for the UMass Minuteman Marching Band. Oh yes, there was a football game, too. We got to see DS the Elder conduct “Appalachian Spring” for the last time in his college career. It was a proud Mama moment. Sniff!

This move has a name: The Flying Mange. I can't make this up.
This move has a name: The Flying Mange. I can’t make this up.

And not to be outdone, it was Homecoming at University of Delaware, and DS the Younger and some of his tenor saxophone cohorts saw that their most famous alumnus was on the field so they went over to him and asked for a picture, to which he graciously said yes.

Man, Joe Flacco is TALL!
Man, Joe Flacco is TALL!

I’ll have more on the Paco Peralta tux over the next weeks. In the meantime,
Happy sewing!

La Pressinatrix est Desolé

Or is it desolée? Your Pressinatrix is so bereft, she cannot remember her proper French. Why, you may ask, is The Pressinatrix sad? Because my dear friends, Your Pressinatrix has lost the premier tool in her arsenal, her beloved Naomi the Naomoto.

Fare thee well, Naomi, you have served The Pressinatrix in exemplary fashion.
Fare thee well, Naomi, you have served The Pressinatrix in exemplary fashion.

Please pardon The Pressinatrix whilst she stifles a sob and dabs delicately at her eyes. The trouble started earlier this month when The Pressinatrix noticed that Naomi was leaking when powered off. Then two nights ago, when The Pressinatrix was perfectly pressing the seams on her new StyleArc blouse, Naomi stopped emitting steam. This was heartbreaking, and The Pressinatrix was thrown into paroxysms of grief and despair.

But the Pressinatrix is made of sturdy stuff, and following the 5 stages of grief, she ultimately picked herself up, dusted herself off, made sure her clothes were properly pressed and…

Hello, gorgeous. Come to mama.
Hello, gorgeous. Come to mama.

Stole the Reliable Steam Generator Iron from her lesser self’s alter ego’s office. She’s not using it there much anymore, anyway, since she sold her industrial sewing machines and stopped sewing at the office after hours. And The Pressinatrix’ needs outweigh any of those of her lesser self alter ego.

So now The Pressinatrix is able to resume her quest for perfectly pressed seams. On a positive note, The Pressinatrix remembered a trick learned on line (she believes it was from Kenneth King, the marvelous sewing teacher), and left the 5-liter water reservoir in place so she can easily refill the Reliable with filtered water.

Farewell, Naomi. You were a wonderful iron, and you helped bring joy to The Pressinatrix and her legions of followers. You shall be missed.