Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes things would go better if I paid more attention. One of my vintage patterns is a blouse that looks to be from the 1950s. I really like this pattern and have wanted to make it for a long time. I even bought linen for it last year and then never got around to it.
Part of the reason that I hadn’t done it is because this particular pattern is for a size 36″ bust and I needed to grade it down to 34″. I’ve only ever done this once before and, now that I think about, it didn’t go so well that time, either. I used the tutorial found on Sense & Sensibility Patterns. It’s a good tutorial; it makes sense; it’s easy enough to do. It’s still a time consuming process, though, so it took me most of an afternoon to complete the resizing.
In addition to grading down the bust size, I also had to lengthen the torso, which is a pretty standard alteration for me. I’m only 5’3″ and would rather have that extra length in my legs, but whattya gonna do? Once I had my new tissue paper patterns redrafted, I pinned them together and tried them on. This is the
poor man’s lazy man’s version of a muslin. Everything seemed to work. The darts looked like they were going to hit in the right place, the arm hole wasn’t binding, the length was good. Good enough for me! Let’s get to the linen!
The linen is slightly sheer, so I was being really careful with my seam finishes. I had sewn the front pieces to the back, but had not yet put in the facing (which becomes the lapel) or collar when I decided to try it on. Well… in my pattern grading fervor, I had neglected to take into account the waist measurement. Normally not a big deal on a blouse, but, as you can see from the pattern art, it’s most definitely a big deal for this blouse. Or a small deal, to put it more accurately. When I tried on what I had completed of the blouse, it was great until I tried to lap the fronts enough to see how it would look buttoned. No amount of sucking in was going to give the fabric enough slack to overlap comfortably. I’d be bursting buttons all over the place.
Of course, I was kicking myself for not considering the waist measurement (according to the pattern measurements, a 34″ bust is paired with a 28″ waist. My next project may need to be a corset) and for always being too impatient to make a muslin. Lesson learned!! Rana suggested that I just wear it as a vest. It’s a fair suggestion, but I really have no need/desire for a vest. I do, however, need blouses to wear (quick survey of my closet turns up… two: one that’s too short and one that I bought just after giving birth to my second baby). I think I have hit upon a solution, though. I have just enough — just the littlest bit of fabric left with which I can make gores for the sides of the blouse. I think it will end up giving it more of a peplum effect, but I can live with that. And then, should the planets ever align and my waist shrinks down to 28 inches (don’t laugh; just let me dream), I can remove the gores and sew the side seams back up.
So, with all that in mind, I hereby swear that, before my next sewing project, I will meekly go to the thrift store and buy a sheet for muslin-making.