Category Archives: 5538 Princess Seamed Blouses

5538 Princess Seamed Blouse

Having made my princess sloper yesterday, I’m finally able to work with this pattern:

My sloper had all the basic pieces but they needed to be adapted to the styles above.  I assumed that the front pieces would be drastically different. Boy was I surprised. Upon opening the envelope I found the big difference was not the shape of the center front but the collars and cuffs… additional pieces.

I  traced the collar and marked the depth of the front neckline on my sloper. Fooled with the Version C sleeve but decided to use my standard sleeve instead.  Then decided I would want to use this pattern several times and should create a center front piece instead of marking a mark and cutting freehand.  I traced the center front but didn’t cut it out. I aligned it with the pattern and traced the pattern shape. To my surprise, both fronts were exactly the same except the V neckline of the pattern (my sloper has a jewel neckline).

Recently I’ve turned my attention to a new fitting issue, asymmetrical shoulders. My right shoulder is lower than my left.  I’ve been playing with different shoulder pads thinking of using one 1/8″ thicker than the other.  Could never really find a good set i.e. two different shoulder pads that were the same size, shape, material but slightly different thickness.  There are times when I still want shoulder pads but not to correct my asymmetry.  I’ve settled upon a 3/8″ fiberfill shoulder pad.  My sloper is adapted for a 1/2″.  Point is, I realized I needed to work with the shoulder fit so that my ‘standard’ would always work.  I laid out my pattern pieces, including the newly ‘drafted’ center front (I find it humorous to think my tracing is considered drafting) …and cut my fabric.

I’ll admit now that I was over-confident. I didn’t tape or stay stitch. I basted the shoulders and side seams together; marked center front and pinned shoulder pads in place. I couldn’t believe how many times I unpinned the shoulder pads; adjusted the shoulder seam and then repinned. I just couldn’t seem to get the underarm wrinkles to go away —on the back. The front looked pretty good after 2 fittings.  Finally I decided something had to have gone wrong in my process. I walked the seams. I found that to lengthen my finished garment, I had added 1.25″ to the front hem but 1.75″ to the back. The side seams were still uneven between underarm and waist. I’m thinking it has to do with how the bust dart was slashed and over lapped but I’m not 100% sure.  I trimmed the extra 1/8″ from the back underarm and sighed. Such an easy mistake to make and to catch. If I had walked the seams before cutting fabric I could have avoided at least 4 fittings.

By this time the fabric was unraveling horribly. I had used an interesting cotton fabric with woven, vertical, cream stripes on a lavender background.It’s raveled status now demanded that I finish sewing or toss it. I really wanted to see how the garment would fit after the changes I had made. In addition to increasing the depth of the shoulder seams, I’d also changed the shoulder slope, scooped the back underarm and increased the depth of the back vertical dart. It’s been tweak tweak tweak i.e. minor change after minor change.  They add up.  So I basted the collar to the neckline; positioned the facings and then serged the long neckline seam. Yep from one collar point, up the neckline across the back, down the other side and ending at the collar point. Beautiful.  Pressed like a dream. Looked good so I top stitched the seam from shoulder across the back ending at the other shoulder.

Then I tried stitching the front facing from collar to hem. It twisted. I saw odd stitches. I ripped. Smoothed. Carefully stitched again. Again twisted. I ripped even more. Smoothed carefully positioned…. b-a-s-t-e-d.  I never need to baste this seam.  I’m really good with this particular technique for adding collars and facings. I can’t understand why this is going wrong. Along about the 6th try, I get it basted nice and neat. But the lapels are now uneven. Yep, one is about 3/4″ and the other almost flush with the collar point. Wait, almost flush?  Look at View C above BOTH should be flush. Oops, I didn’t walk the collar seam with the back neckline of my sloper and the front neckline.  The collar was too short. UGGGGGGGGggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I took a break. I really wanted to see how this blouse would fit. Not only do the multiple changes add up but it seems to me the final stitching, buttons/buttonholes and a loving press can change the appearance and even fit.  I fixed the collar. I mean I added 1″ to the center back making it longer. Then laid out all my pieces and cut into  a ‘good’ blouse fabric.  This fabric is 100% cotton but it is a lighter weight. I chose to cut contrasting collar and facings.  This time, I taped shoulders, armscyes and the neckline. A V neckline is almost guaranteed to stretch. Even though a collar is attached, the base is a deep V. Then, I just went for it. I stitched the thing without trying it on once. Confidence? Annoyance?  Idiocy?  You be the judge:

Forgive the pants. I should have worn a belt.

I’ve got a little velcro butt going on but other wise, I like it. Most of the underarm wrinkles (U’s) disappeared however I confess to scooping out both front and back underarms another 1/4″. The fit, IMO, is pretty good. Not happy with the collar facing intersection:

I could not sew a smooth join. That little jog was the best I could do. It may be that I need to do something extra – like beat it with a hammer.  I also noted that the neckline is a bit low in front — something that I complain about with Burda patterns but didn’t expect with Connie Crawford. I admit it could be my tracing to the sloper rather than using Connie’s drafted pieces.  This is the way I’m going to be fitting new patterns. It is so much quicker to use my sloper and add details or morph into a different draft than to guess at size; trace and then adapt the fit. Fact is somethings must stay the same from pattern to pattern. I’m always going to need  my personal ease. I won’t be comfortable in anything else.  I’ll always need my shoulder slope.   It’s easier, faster and reliable to start with my sloper. It’s not important whether Connie’s draft was right and my tracing wrong.  It’s important that I note on my sloper what is too low for me. For now, I’m thinking of adding a free hanging hook and eye to the center front of this blouse. It will make me more comfortable.

And, I won’t be using 5538 again.  I love it. Why wouldn’t I use a pattern/style I love again?  Well I have an old Burda Style magazine that has the very same collar shapes. The difference being that they are one with the center front piece.  Think: shaped shawl collar.  No one else might notice that little jog. But I really don’t like it.  Since I”m not skilled enough to eliminate it, I’ve decided to move along to a technique that will.