Back in the 70’s I made this blouse when I was learning dressmaking at school. In those days they only came in one size, and this is a 12. I have been shopping for an open neck blouse like this and have given up, so I thought I could make this one again. However, I am no longer a size 12, so I looked into grading the pattern up and found this post on sensibility.com. According to the measurements I am a size 16 now, so I am going to size it up to a 14, then up to the 16, using her instructions.
I traced the pattern pieces onto Swedish Tracing Paper and sized it up to a 14. I am going to make a muslin to try the fit, using some bits of polyester sheeting. I was surprised to see there was no interfacing required for the collar, cuffs or front facing.
I know you are supposed to keep the muslin basic just to check the fit, but I always like to take the opportunity to have a full rehearsal and make the whole thing. Happily my machine does automatic buttonholes and sews the buttons on too which saves a lot of time. I was surprised and pleased to find it actually did up! However, the darts end 2″ below my bust, and I definitely need more wiggle room across the hips!
I realised what the problem was, my waist was 2″ above the pattern waist. If I grabbed the shoulders and pulled it up 2″ the darts ended in the right place. Apparently I am short waisted, who knew? Time to read up on how to shorten the waist, which happily is covered in the sensibility post.
Can you see where I joined bits to make the sleeves?
I am going to double the length of the cuff and shorten the sleeve slightly. I had a blouse with long cuffs back in the day and loved it so I am going to going to recreate it. Here is the new version with the higher waist, the bust darts now actually end on my bust. I like my longer cuff, that can stay. I simply placed the cuff pattern piece on the fold to cut it out and marked two buttonholes.
The next step was to repeat the process to draft the pattern again in size 16. Now I know the 14 will fit my top I am going trace that and then grade it up to a 16 on my hips.
My size 16 pattern with the size 14 pattern pinned on top, ready to trace a new size 14/16
Time for another muslin to check I have got the pattern absolutely right before I cut into my chosen fabric!
This time I re-cycled an old duvet cover. I forgot to use the shorter sleeve with the longer cuff which was annoying. It all looked fine, until I jumped in the truck to go visit my dad. The front gaped open between the bottom two buttons showing unattractive bare belly! I had to sit up very straight to drink tea with my dad! When I got home I added 2 more buttons, and let out the back darts 1/4″. Now I can sit down without a gappy problem.
So this is my wearable muslin! I tried it with one of my denim pinafores as they are one of the main reasons I wanted this particular style of blouse rather than a blocky shirt.
I can see those sleeves really needed the shorter version!
I have a couple of fabrics in my stash I want to use to make this blouse, one is a very loose weave blue and white check, and the other is a beige cotton lawn floral print. I may do one a couple of inches longer, it may look like a peplum. It will be such fun to play now I have the fit right! Watch this space!