TBP: The Blouse Perfected

I’ve been waiting for this pattern for months.  I love Louise Cuttings drafting and her wonderful instructions.  I have to stop short of saying I love all her patterns.  If you’ve followed me for any time at all, you know that I’ve not had good results from a few.  But the CLD patterns that work for me, are wonderful.  I’m on the auto-ship list just for a chance at another great pattern.


I’m working on View B and it occurs to me that although this pattern is named “The Blouse Perfected“, it looks more like the perfect shirt for women.  Seriously, it has all the hallmarks of a perfect shirt.  It has a back yoke that extends over the shoulders just slightly onto the front.  It has the button placket front; collar WITH stand; single breast pocket and is slightly drop shouldered.  View A has the classic tailored sleeve, with cuff and sleeve placket placed in exactly the right place.  Most shirts, have a rolled or narrow hem. Louise, and I agree completely, prefers a much deeper hem. The depth of the hem, is the only difference I would note between a classic women’s shirt and The Blouse Perfected.



I opted for View B because I knew I would be spending lots of time and effort on the collar and stand.  I wanted to breeze straight through the sleeve application.  I love View C, but probably won’t make it.  It’s very distinctive.  You know how I feel about distinctive garments.  I’m so looking forward to perfecting the fit for View A and B.  I do think this is a pattern I can use over and over.


I’m using a fine 100% linen from Fabricmart.  I’ve never worked with a linen like this before.  I like linen. It’s always been a pleasure to sew, but it seems to continue shrinking with each wash.  I preshrunk this twice and them steamed heavily.   This linen is so smooth. It is lightweight, but I wouldn’t call this handkerchief linen.  It’s also opaque- not transparent at all.  It is quite fluid;  drapes and swings nicely.  I’m totally beguiled by it’s wonderful qualities which turned into horrors during sewing.


I did say I loved Louise’s instructions?  I followed them carefully for the collar and stand.  They are similar to Debbie Cook’s instructions but there are several important differences.  It’s one of those things you have to try for yourself and determine which is best for you.   I’m so glad I followed Louise instruction to put those small pieces on the ironing board and on top of the pattern piece to fuse the interfacing.  You kind of scoot the fabric around so that it’s the same shape as the pattern piece.  My wonderful, fluid linen flowed all over the place, totally losing it’s shape.  And get this, it grew.  The collar (cut mostly on the bias) grew by 1″.  The stand grew only a little. I didn’t check the other non-interfaced pieces.  My thought is, not to adjust the pattern according to the fit of this linen.  I don’t trust the fabric.  I also had a horrible time with the front plackets entirely because of the fabric.  I clipped as instructed and tried to fold the plackets using my metallic hem template. What a disgusting mess.  Pressed all that out and tried marking with a disappearing marker.  OK, it marked fine.  But when I tried to fold on the marked line, it wiggled back and forth like some kind of panicked snake.Finally, I basted (love the basting stitch on my HV Ruby) along the lines, folded on the basting and finger pressed every 2 inches before pressing at the ironing board.
That did work. I was just concerned because my top stitching looks to be a scant 1/4″ when the pattern dictated top stitching a full 1/4″.  Collars, stands and necklines are all carefully drafted with close tolerances.  I was uneasy about being off even 1/8″.


But I persisted.  I’d read an instruction; execute the instruction.  It was going really, really well even if it was slow. I didn’t have to rip anything out or resew.  I got the stand on.  I got the collar in and basted to the back stand.  I carefully and accurately top stitched the stand.  Oh my Gosh it was beautiful.  I’m getting close to RTW perfection with the stands.  The public areas look perfect. I’m off in 2 places on the inside back of the collar.  No one but me will every know this stand is not perfectly executed.  I’m doing the happy dance.


It’s been a long day and I place the work-in-progress on my dressform.  Despite the fact this linen as been a b*tch, it looks great on the dress form. I may have a little more ease than desired across the bust and under the arms. The under collar pulls the upper collar to the wrong side just barely 1/8″.  The plackets overlap beautifully.  That pocket is gorgeous.  I turn the dressform so I can see the back




W-T-H????   I’ve inserted the collar upside down and in easing have gotten it off-centered. What the H??? am I going to do with this?


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