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Pattern Drafting from Ready-to-Wear Class – PART TWO

My last blog was all about doing this great Craftsy Course by Steffani Lincecum and learning how to draft a sewing pattern from my favourite ready-to-wear sleeveless blouse. I shared how I made a muslin to try it out. I had to learn several new techniques and happily Professor Pincushion on Youtube covered them all.

I watched “how to sew a shirt collar” which covered the new-to-me two-part collar, where the collar fits onto a collar band. Then there was “how to sew a button band” which I had never tried, and “how to sew a shirt yoke” which was more of a refresher sewing course.

From studying my finished muslin I knew I had to make a few changes to my pattern!

1 The blouse does not need any interfacing at all, it needs to be soft and unstructured.

2 The collar band fitting to the front body is a problem. It isn’t a traditional square shape. I managed a little better this time, as I remembered to shape the top of the button band to reduce some of the bulk. However I still don’t like my finish. The collar band didn’t pull down far enough to hide the seam, and as it shows so prominently I must get it right next time.

The collar band didn’t cover the seam properly

3. I have dropped the front hem to match the back. I didn’t find the shorter front flattering. It still doesn’t hang as long as the back because of my bust but I like it much better. I am tempted to make the next one 2″ longer, with two patch pockets on the hips instead of one on the breast.

4. My armhole binding was awful last time. I had matched the binding to the raw edge instead of to the stitching line, and I never seem to get good results using the sewing machine to finish it. So this time I trimmed the seam allowance of the armhole and matched the binding to the stitching line. Then I finished the inside by slip-stitching by hand (the way I was taught) which is also how the button band is finished.

5. I also noticed the button placement on the original blouse didn’t place the button on the fullest part of my bust, so I corrected that, and reduced the number of buttons to six, three-inches apart. They are larger, and so much easier to undo!

Overall I think I have cracked it, and have two wearable muslins to prove it. Old sheets are so useful! I had been surprised to find my blouse was not fine cotton but actually Viscose.

So the next problem was finding some on-line when I couldn’t feel it first! Happily I found this polka-dot Viscose print in burgundy with white dots on e-bay and it has the same feel and drape as the ready-to-wear blouse.

Tips for sewing with slippery fabrics:

  1. wash and iron your fabric before cutting and sewing

  2. Use a fine size 70/10 universal needle (had to buy some)

  3. Use 100% polyester thread (Gutermann’s Sew-All)

  4. fit a straight stitch foot (as I have one) or tape over the hole in the needle plate to stop the fine fabric getting stuffed in there by the needle.

  5. Use a shorter stitch

  6. Use a looser tension

  7. Do a trial sample of above before sewing the garment!

  8. Let it hang overnight before hemming so it can drop out.

As a reward for all my hard work, I treated myself to Steffani’s book “Pattern-making For a Perfect Fit”

Watch this space for part three, when I make my viscose blouse!


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