Here is the blouse that I have put together from Burda Style 6/2013 pattern 118 and the bow collar from the October 2016 issue of Dressmaker magazine. Making this blouse has been a labour of love. The fabric is sheer, slippery and just a little stretchy and it frays like mad. I have taken each step slowly and carefully because I really wanted this to be successful. Here are some of the tips that helped me.
I used plenty of pins whilst cutting out to stop the fabric from slipping.
I sewed a trial seam and found that I needed a size 60 universal needle. If I used a larger size it pulled threads in the fabric. Sharps and ballpoint needles had the same effect, pulling at the threads. I used a brand new needle to be sure that it had a good point on it. I also bought a new reel of Gutterman thread, which was the finest and smoothest that my local shop had in stock.
I have used French seams for the side seams and sleeves to ensure that all of the raw edges are neatly enclosed and won't fray.
Because this blouse is made from a sheer fabric and is a dark colour, interfacing would show through and spoil the finished look. I was worried that an iron on facing would stiffen the blouse front. However, the fabric was so soft that it needed reinforcing for the buttons and buttonholes. I made fabric interfacing using the leftover material and had just enough to cut out the interfacings for both centre fronts. This is the first time that I have faced a garment with fabric interfacing. I sewed the interfacing in along the seam lines and everything is held in place by the button and buttonhole stitching.
I found very useful advice on sewing with sheer fabrics on the Sabrina-Student Designer website with clear photos, which was a great help. However there is lots of advice out there when you start looking.
I know from experience that buttonholes made with my automatic buttonholer are rather thick and chunky. I chose a buttonhole setting on my machine and then followed the instructions in the manual to make small, fine buttonholes.
|close-up of buttonholes|
This time I did put a layer of tissue paper under the fabric to ensure that it fed evenly under the presser foot. The tissue paper tore away easily without leaving any trace once the buttonholes were finished. I keep a supply of tissue paper from packaging for this purpose but I noticed that Sabrina was using the off-cuts from dressmaking patterns and I thought what a good idea this was. I usually throw this away once the pattern is cut out but now I am going to keep the bigger pieces.
This blouse is a much better fit than the last one. The darts and shaped side seams mean that it falls better and is comfortable to wear.
While I have been sitting writing this blog I have noticed that the snowdrops have just started to come out in the garden, They are really late this year but perhaps spring is on its way!