I have just finished pattern #0191, Ladies Blouse. Starting with the checklist as a summary, I’ll follow with notes made as the blouse was in process, so you’ll get the main points first.
- Ladies Blouse #0191, bust 36”
- My sewing level is advanced (though after this project, I question that!)
- It does look like the illustration on the pattern, but not exactly (due to my changes). I like the result, but would rate this a 3-4, given fiddly details and the quantity of hand sewing.
- The pattern would be best for intermediate and above.
- Instructions were confusing in places, did not address a couple of steps, were ordered awkwardly at times, and left me with questions as I went along. Suggestions for clarifications are listed below.
- Sized for bust 36”, waist 25”. Added a total of 2” to accommodate 37” bust, and wish I had added more ease both across the bust and under the arms. This was a surprise given that the measured pattern seemed sufficient, and the muslin for the lining fit well with only 1” added.
Used cotton batiste for both lining and bodice, with harvested embroidered linen (from petticoats) for blouse and sleeve trim.
- Changed the width of the blouse trim to feature an embroidered motif.
Added 1” width to back of bodice, lengthened bodice 1 ½”.
Added button placket to back (emergency measure to add width!)
Did not add beads as trim, as unsuitable with embroidered trim.
- I’d be careful to whom I recommended this pattern. It is fiddly with much hand sewing, but does off a good example of the period.
Suggested changes to instructions (in italics):
pg. 5 (under “Cutting”), para. 4 and 5, Bias Binding Strips: additional bias strip is required if one is to bind the bottom of the sleeves (see pg. 6, para 6)
pg. 6, para 3and 4: “Place the Right Blouse Trims right sides together and base(sic) to hold in place.” This should read “Place…. wrong sides together and baste…”, unless trim is stitched and turned, in which case, that should be specified. It might be helpful to a beginner/intermediate sewer to point out that for a bound edge, one must remove the seam allowance first. The bound edges were tricky. I would revise the construction for the decorative blouse trim to make it such that a commercial trim could be added for the (almost) same effect – that is, I would place the blouse trim right sides together, turn it, and then add edge trim as desired.
pg. 6, column 2, para 1: might be helpful to indicate pleat depth.
pg. 6, col. 2, para 2: Suggest pre-measure binding and seam up before placing on sleeve. If not, one must hand stitch exposed raw edges.
pg. 6, col. 2, para 4: Suggest turn under entire blouse neck edge with a narrow hem (clipping at corners of front) for a finished edge. If not, remaining neck edge remains raw. If bound, then there would be two bound edges together at the back neck edge, which would be bulky.
pg. 6, col. 2, para 7: Suggest move instruction to add beads to blouse trim following felling in the lining, or following working the button holes/buttons.
pg. 6, col. 2, para 8: Suggest move instruction to “Place Blouse Trim on Blouse…” to follow hemming the blouse neck edge. Would suggest to baste in place before sewing on by hand or machine (I sewed on the blouse trim by hand from the back). Then add: “Sew up blouse side seams, taking care to sew binding together beyond seam.”
pg. 6, col. 2, para 6: Suggest move this instruction to precede para. 5. It is simpler to finish the bottom of the sleeve before setting it in, and even simpler to do so before sewing up the sleeve seam. It should also be noted that the upper edge of the sleeve trim should be finished (bound), hemmed, or sewn to the sleeve.
pg. 6, col. 2, para 5: Suggest change “Gather upper edge of Sleeve.” to “Ease upper edge of Sleeve.” This applies to line 4 as well.
Notes as I went along:
July 8, 2012 I decided to make this up along with skirt#0162 into a walking whites outfit, suitable for a period afternoon tea. Thus, any contrast will be with texture rather than color. I have hand embroidered trim harvested from period garments for the blouse and sleeve trim. Both the main fabric and the lining are cotton batiste. I have some lovely flower shaped mother-of-pearl buttons, size line 16 (approx. 3/8”) for the trim and closure.
I made up a lining muslin with the sleeves for fit, and needed to lengthen the bodice by 1 ½”, and its width by 1”. The blouse is intended for a 36” bust and 25” waist, so adding 1” means it should be true to size. (Later, it was apparent that I should have also made up a muslin for the blouse, as once the blouse and lining were combined, more ease was needed. My mistake! Another time, I would add 1” to both front and back, but this time had to resort to adding a button placket at the back. That in turn unsettled the fit at the neckline…). Conclusion: measurements for upper chest and back (above the bustline) must also be checked, as the pattern seems to run small at that point.
July 10, 2012 Pg. 6, para. 3, line 1: “Place the Right Blouse Trims right sides together and base (sic) to hold in place.” should read “Place ….. wrong sides together and baste…” (If this is not so, at what point is the right side exposed? Unless the trim piece is turned after basting, but that is unlikely if the edges are to be bound.)
July 11, 2012 This is a very fiddly blouse, with lots of bits of hand sewing as one goes along. The binding around the blouse trim was tricky with so many corners to make tidy. It might be preferable to sew the blouse trim right sides together, then turn inside out and apply edge trim as desired (see comment above). Because I needed to accommodate embroidery harvested from an older garment, I made the blouse trim wider, and did not remove the seam allowance when binding it. (It was necessary to hem the blouse trim neckline for fit; I hemmed it with the seam allowance bound for a clean finish.)
I decided to bind the bottom of the sleeves before setting them into the blouse. It would have been even easier to bind them before sewing the sleeve seams. I did not “trim the Sleeve Trim edges narrowly…” (pg. 6, para. 2, line 5), but did a catch stitch to keep them flat to the inside of the sleeve for a quiet finish.
There is no direction to sew the side seams of the main blouse. I suggest adding that after dealing with the seam allowance along the blouse front neck edge and prior to setting in the sleeves.
July 13, 2012 I suggest measuring and seaming the ends of the binding strips for the blouse front armholes before placing and stitching them on, to avoid raw edges . I did not do this… I sewed on the binding strips, and then sewed up the side seams. Voila the raw edges! I tucked the raw bits in and hand stitched them to be tidy.
Instructions say to “Turn under the seam allowance along the Blouse Front neck edge…” Question: only the front neck edge? Seems one should turn the entire blouse neck edge under, as later on, the lining will be felled to it. I turned the whole neck edge and narrowly hemmed it, since the blouse trim already provides the finished edge one sees.
Suggest change “Gather upper edge of Sleeve” to “Ease upper edge of Sleeve.”
It has become clear that adding one inch to the back was not enough. Now that the blouse is virtually complete, I am adding a button placket to the CB to offer an additional 1” ease. This means that the basque also needs widening…
July 14, 2012 I notice that the front trim “tab” detail does not align with a pleat as illustrated (maybe to look like a front closure?). I checked the pattern pieces again, but still don’t see how they would align with the pleats being set as they are. Am I missing something here?
It should be noted that the sleeve trim should either be finished at its top hem, or stitched to the sleeve.
July 16, 2012 It took several hours to complete all the hand sewing, felling the lining to the blouse as invisibly as I could. By the time I was finished, I wondered just how much the ratio is of hand sewing to machine sewing. I chose not to add beads to the front trim – the embroidery on the trim is sufficient decoration. The blouse looks as I hoped it would! It will be worn with skirt #0162 (white sutache on white linen), a very large white hat (with *lots* of flowers on it), gloves and a parasol.