Simple Sew Olive Blouse

I’ve been very naughty and I’ve been putting off writing this blog post because this make has been a disaster and turned into a bit of a weight around my neck. This blouse (you can get the Olive blouse here) started off really promisingly. It had all the makings of a nicely fitted blouse/shirt. However, I really managed to make a pig’s ear of it and it had me seriously questioning my sewing skills.

I would just like to point out that it is my very imprecise sewing that has made me feel this way and not the pattern!

The fabric is a lovely viscose from Doughty’s Online (thankyou Doughty’s!) and it is by Creative Solutions. You can get it here. There are a number of colourways but this is the black swallows on the white background. The fabric, in theory, is perfect for this pattern. The pattern has a really pretty gathered back bodice which fits into a back yoke and it also has gathers coming from the front yokes. You want a fabric that is soft and drapey so it can flow across the body nicely. That bit went fine!

You can see the issue in the top photo of the blouse. It’s the neckline and button placket. This is where it all started to go wrong. The placket wobbles about in width all the way round so it’s really inconsistent. I also used too heavy an interfacing so you can see it sitting proud at the top.

I also somehow managed to make one placket significantly larger than the other (they were both cut at the same time using the same pattern piece) and that’s all down to me not really handling a slippery, fluid fabric very well. Once the plackets were interfaced and sewn on, one of the plackets didn’t even reach the bottom of shirt! Talking of which, the instructions state that you hem the bottom of the shirt before you attach the placket. I thought this was unusual but it did make sense once I got into it.

Now I made the bulk of this top back in August, but once I realised I messed it up, it went in the naughty corner and didn’t come out for a while. I had to mull over what I was going to do with it. One of the problems of my own making, was that, for some reason, and I cannot for the life me think why, but I had graded the seam AND I DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH FABRIC TO RECUT THE PLACKETS! I was a bit stuck with it all so I had to make the best of it…

…so, I started by lopping the bottom of my shirt to match the length of my dodgy short placket! I did my best to make it symmetrical, and to be fair, I pulled it off! It was a bit of a faff re-hemming the bottom but that bit did turn out ok – although I don’t recommend it!

I wouldn’t dream of offering any hints and tips to you if you intend to make this as I don’t feel qualified to, but here is a list of things I wish I had done…

  • cut the plackets longer than the pattern piece. You can always cut to size later. The (wrong) interfacing made one of pieces shrink a little so it didn’t fit.
  • use the correct weight of interfacing (duh)!
  • cut the plackets singly rather than on the fold. It was shifty fabric, as viscose usually is, and I think that accounted for my dodgy placket cutting too.
  • draw a stitching line on the placket. I know that this is not usual practice but I used to do it a lot and it really helps with precise and accurate sewing. Because my fabric moved about all over the place it was really difficult to maintain a constant seam allowance, and you can tell! I think this would have made the biggest difference to the success of my project.
  • DON’T GRADE THE SEAM ALLOWANCE until absolutely certain that it’s right!

I have actually worn this top for a night out and nobody pointed out to me how badly it was sewn! I suppose sewists tend to notice flaws in their own work more than other people would! And let’s just forget about the badly sewn bits for a moment shall we? The top fits me nicely and I do like the shape of it. I love the gathers and how they drape across the body. The blouse is a little low cut for my liking though. I need to wear a little cami vest underneath otherwise I’d be flashing everyone every time I bent forward a little.

I’m not sure whether I would make this again, at least not without some adjustment. I feel scarred for life from it and it is too low cut for me. However, I do like the gathers in the front and back yokes, and I like the overall fit and shape of the hem so I think some sort of future hack would be in order. One of the reasons I’m so angry with myself is that I love making shirts and I think I’ve got pretty good at them, so this should be good too. This placket/neckline was unusually shaped though (compared to a shirt) and I did struggle with it. I’m going to have a think about how I can make this more me.

If anyone has any ideas about how I can sort out the placket/neckline then please let me know!

See you next time!

3 thoughts on “Simple Sew Olive Blouse

  1. I really appreciated reading your post as it is an honest appraisal of problems one might encounter with this, or similar, patterns and fabric. Don’t know about others, but I research before I purchase a pattern, and your post would be a good indicator of what I would want to watch out for. Thank you❣️

    • Thank you! I did feel bad saying what had to be said. This is a new pattern, and as part of the Simple Sew team, I do get to try out patterns before other customers. That does mean that I can’t read other people’s experiences as the pattern hasn’t done the rounds. I felt most bad about not doing the fabric justice!

      • You’re brave to take on this sort of project, Corrine, and braver still to be honest about your experience. Yes, its too bad about the fabric, but hold onto it and another project might come to mind that could use up a bit of it. You never know!

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