I mentioned a fortnight ago that I would try my hand at Heather Ross' Summer Blouse from her book Weekend Sewing. I did and I now have a pretty blouse.
If it fit me I would be wearing it right now but it doesn't; a circus big top would probably offer a closer fit than my latest effort.
Either I suffer from an extreme form of body dysmorphia or Heather Ross is bucking the Size Zero trend.
I usually wear a size 12-14 in blouses but the large cut Summer Blouse is closer to 16+++
Of course this doesn't detract from the fact it I have finally made my first blouse – woohoo!
I hadn't actually planned to do more than brag about my efforts but as I am here I will give a little insight to this pattern & book.
Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing book provides 2 huge sheets of paper crammed full of her designs.
Don't be put off by this, simply trace the pattern you need onto tracing paper or as I did – interfacing. That way you get your pattern and you get to keep the original sheets for another time.
Heather also uses a mix of diagrams and written instructions which is great although I think that they both could perhaps be improved to make things a little clearer for beginners.
Adding the binding to the neckline was my biggest stumbling block. As much as I like concise instructions I found the neckline instructions were just a little too basic.
I reread the instructions countless times, rotated the diagram to the left and right and upside down (think unopened chrissy present) and I still couldn't quite work it out.
This went on for some time.
I finally worked out how to add the binding to the neckline by playing around with some spare binding and scrap material, so I am now extra proud of my efforts.
The placket (long rectangle bit of material inside the front of the blouse?) turned out great as well.
The sleeves on the other hand were less amiable, there is certainly a knack to them.
Heather's pattern instructs you to add two lines of large basting stitches to the top of the sleeve which you can then tweak to help shape the sleeve and to use to help fit the sleeve into the armhole.
I had a fair amount of fun/stress adjusting these two lines to create the shape of sleeve I wanted but in the end I opted for the 'bugger it, lets just sew and see what happens' look.
In summary, despite some issues over the instuctions this pattern has been fun to make and was a great introduction to blouse making.
If you are organised and don't pffaf about as much as I do you could probably complete this blouse in a day.
p.s. Heather recommends that you loosely sew the placket half way up (presumably to keep the decency police away).
I chose to add a single set of hook & eye instead, partly because I am lazy, partly because..okay I am all lazy.
So, onto the next project.