5202 Loes Hinse Blouse (4 of 6 Piece Spring Collection)

I continue to work towards my 6 piece spring wardrobe. I’ve realized that the gold and blue color scheme I’m using is probably more of a fall color scheme. But I’m well on the way and nearly finished. So onward…

I’ve completed:

  1. 3rd layer:  Gold Vest
  2. Bottom 1:  No Yoke Blue Microfiber Pants
  3. Bottom 2: Gold Yoga Pants

and now Top #1 (Piece #4) Gold and Blue Blouse  

I’m using a rayon print which I believe I purchased on-line from Fashion Fabrics Club last January.  I love rayon for the way it drapes.  I don’t like that it continues to shrink. Slowly but perceptibly, my rayon print blouses will not fit me 2 years down the road because they’ve shrunk.  Yes, I have weight difficulties. But when the old rayon blouse is too tight and I use the same pattern with not a single adjustment resulting in a new rayon blouse which does fit…. well the old blouse shrunk. Rayon shrinks. Unless it is dry cleaned.  I’m not doing dry cleaning. Period. End of sentence. I also dislike rayon’s tendency to pick up color in the wash. Rayon greys. Slightly with each wash until I notice that it looks old, tired, grayed.  Unless rayon is dry cleaned…. (we’re not doing that route again, OK?)  Despite my objections to rayon, I love the colors, prints and drape. I continue to buy rayon fully understanding that I will have at most 2 seasons of wear. I therefore prefer simple, easy to sew garments. I’m just not willing to invest 80 hours of work into a garment that may be worn a dozen times. (Yes I have an over-abundance of clothing resulting in most of my garments being worn maybe twice or three times per season.)

Under these constraints, Loes Hinse 5202, the Tunic blouse, is a natural choice. It is a simple, shapely blouse which works well with Rayon prints. Loes Hinse’s patterns can criticized as slightly “dated”. Personally, I believe her patterns are contemporary classics. By that I mean they’ve been sewn and highly praised for the last 2 decades.  Dressmakers (especially those of us at home) prize her patterns for the simplicity of style, ease of fit and that the styles can be updated by fabric choices, trims and easily replicated design details. It would take nothing, for example, to change this to a high-low hem line or a two level with the back longer. Loes patterns are easily adaptable after the fit is perfected (or near-perfected.) In addition to my preceding praise, I particularly like the Tunic Blouse for its sleeve finishing. This is the easiest cuff I’ve ever made; and it  is so danged easy. No collar, although I think that could be easily remedied.

I made the shorter length because I’m a shorter person.  The tunic length indicated on the pattern is about 4″ above my knee. Which is how much I shortened this pattern.  I did my standard NSA and BWL. However, I can see, and will point out, that I’m needing more fitting solutions.  Not the patterns fault at all. I’m aging.  My body is changing.  I need more adjustments to patterns if I want to flatter my body. This is such a bold print I’m not sure how visible my fitting issues are. In addition to the length, I’m needing something around the bust.  Nearly every blouse I sew displays diagonal drag lines that start under the fullnessof my bust; proceed across my ribs and tummy towards the high hip and rear.  Usually they are mirrored on the back (more on that in a later paragraph).  I find this perplexing because I’ve never been particularly busty while these drag lines are classic indicators of insufficient ease across the bust.

While I’m not chesty, I definitely have  ample seating room.  I used to fret about it until  then I learned this classic “pear” shape is really good for child -bearing. But those wrinkles mid-back, just above my rear, are the result of velcro butt and nothing else. Before the photo I didn’t pull down and smooth the back.  Easily seen (at least to me) are my uneven shoulders.  I plan to buy shoulder pads of differing  heights (3/8″ and 1/2″).  I plan to put the 3/8″ on my left shoulder and the 1/2″ on my right shoulder. But I haven’t placed my order.   I’m a little cheap. I want to be sure the shipping costs I pay are worth what I buy.  Frankly, I’m repulsed at paying $5 for a pair of shoulder pads along with a $12 shipping charge.  I’ll wait until my purchases accumulate to the point of justifying the $12. Besides, I’m not unhappy about this back view. In fact, I’m pleased.  I have been noticing the rounding of my back indicated by a very light or strained area between my shoulder blades with vertical folds directly below. I don’t see that here.

It is this side view which concerns me most.  I copied a single size (vs the multi-sizes I copy for Ottobre patterns.)   I applied my NSA and BWL before adding a new alteration: lengthening the center front.  Which was relatively simple.  I extended the center front line at the hem 2″.  Just a straight line drawn at the bottom. Boom. Done. Then with my dressmaker’s curve, I connected the new and lower center front with the existing side seam at the existing bottom of the hem. Boom. Done. Side seam not changed. My front hem looks better; i.e. it doesn’t look like it is raising as high in the front as it used to. But that is also because I hemmed the back 1″ higher. Yep, during hemming I turned the the front and side hems 1.25″. I turned up the back hem 2.25″. It helped. Not sure this is the answer but it is progress.

I need to take more side views and more side views with my arm raised. I perused my blouse pictures back 2 years looking to see when the front hem started raising and by how much. I was shocked at how many tops I’ve made but didn’t take side views.  It’s not that I didn’t publish the pics but that I did NOT take the side pics. From now on that will be changed. The side view tells me if the garment is pulling forward or back to accommodate the fleshy parts of my body. It also tells me where the diagonals start and stop.  Here, I can only guess. The diagonals look like they make V’s. It looks like they start in the back at the bottom of my shoulder-blade, cross to the side seam at the bottom of my rib cage and then turn upward and end under the fullest part of my bosom. (However small it may be.) They seem to echo lower down starting just above the waist, crossing to the high hip and then proceeding upward towards my tummy. Without a picture of my lifted arm, I can’t be 100% sure that is true.

I’m not obsessing over these issues in this garment. For starters, I don’t think anyone I personally know (outside marciae) would even see the issues I see. Besides, there is not a doubt in my mind that this blouse with its errors is a much better fit than most of the clothing  most of the people in my community wear. (It’s not that they don’t care, it’s that they make the best choices they can from the RTW available.) Besides that, all of winter, most of spring and fall and even part of summer, the blouse will practically be covered by my vests (which I wear to carry my phone and other stuff).    More importantly, to me, this is a fitting-base.  This contains my standard NSA and BWL along with an attempt to correct the rising front hem. It is a starting point going forward towards a better fit for my current body.

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