I was so pleased when I finished refitting the Tabula Rasa Jacket. The jacket pattern required few alterations to fit like I wanted. Well just a few alterations, plus a half-inch shoulder pad. The Tabula Rasa Blouse is created by making changes to the jacket. I start by making a copy of the jacket front, back and sleeve. It already has the round-back and shoulder slope alterations I need.
- First change is actually some downsizing. I will not be wearing half-inch jacket pads in my blouses. (I will substitute a 1/4 or 3/8″ blouse pad.)
- The shoulders will need to narrowed about an inch. This is so easy to do with the TRB. Essentially I will stitch the sleeve where I want the new shoulder. This will be done during fitting.
- The bust dart will need to be raised. Oh it’s in the right place for the jacket, but without the pad it will drop about 1/2″ too low. Easy change is to remove the excess length above the dart through a tuck across both front and back pieces.
- Then the sleeve cap will be too long so a corresponding tuck will need to be made across the sleeve.
- There is a possibility, I will want to remove a little wearing ease. The jacket is meant to be worn over blouses. The blouse needs to be a little smaller than the jacket for that to happen easily. This is another change I plan to make during fitting.
My fabric is an incredible crinkle print purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics a few years back.
I’ve held onto this fabric because I wanted to be sure it was beautifully show cased. I think the TRB is the perfect pattern. The fabric is a crinkle with a knit backing. Because of the backing I could never decide if this was a summer or winter fabric. I was afraid it was too warm for summer but not heavy enough for winter.
Now I folded it carefully and started placing the pattern pieces on top. I paused to consider a neckline. I’d copied the jacket design lines faithfully. That means the neckline is a long gradual V. Very flattering in a jacket and has the advantage of being easily modified by using various bands and facings. For a blouse, I want the neckline considerably higher. For chemo, I want a neckline that opens in front giving access to my port. I make a quick decision. measure down 6″ from the top of the shoulder and then sketch a rounded neckline on my fabric.
For chemo, I can add a placket easily during sewing. I should modify the pattern. That 6″ is one of my favorites. It is also a guide point. If I want a lower neckline, cut below the 6″. I tend to do necklines on the fly. Having a reference point can be very helful.
Note the front is placed on the fold. While my favorite versions of the blouse are button front, I don’t want to deal with buttons/band/holes right now. I think it enough that I need to adjust the shoulder width, armscye, sleeve cap and maybe some ease in this first blouse.
I serge finish all the edges of my TRB. The way this sews together, it makes sense to serge finish first.
In seconds I have decided upon a slit front placket with FOE. A decision reached mostly because I have this interesting FOE sitting on the shelf instead of squirreled away in the FOE boxes. It has a basket weave effect which I think looks nice with the lines of the fabric. I stitch one of the shoulders together; mark my front placket and reinforce with some stay stitching and Frey Check before I clip. I like to stitch my FOE with one shoulder open. When done, I close the shoulder. Makes a very nice neat, unlumpy neckline. Every other procedure I’ve tried, well I end up with a lump or ends sticking out. Too late I realize that while this neckline is quite lovely, it’s a bit deep. I will need a button closure.
I have 7 boxes of buttons. Sorted by color. Works well. While not filled to the brim, there are plenty of choices. Yet I am unable to find a button which I think would look nice with this fabric. I spent a hour. Looked through blue, black, gold, white, silver. Nope. Nope. Noooooo. I give up for the day, mostly because dinner is ready, and go upstairs. On the kitchen table is a big terrarium bowl filled with buttons. I bought it last year at a garage sale.
I keep intending to move it to my sewing/stash rooms but just never can find the time to straighten, rearrange and make a place for it. I look at it now. Look inside….and would you believe the perfect button is on top?
Just staring at me. Saying “Here I am, Bev.” I still question the color. Do I want blue or black; and I was concerned as to whether this 1″ button would just disappear or make a contribution to the end garment.
I”m still thinking of getting out my black marker and changing the color.
I stitched it to the left side next to the slit. It was wobbly. I removed it, put a big button on the underside and then stitched this button on the public side. That’s an old trick which works surprisingly well. You’d think that 2 buttons would be too heavy for the fabric but no, they hold each other up. Next up which I don’t have a picture, was needing a button hole. I defaulted to another fav, the hair elastic. Stitched on and the excess clipped, it works really well.
Possibly I should have used water soluble thread and done some ripping and restitching but I knew I was running out of time. I can’t be sure that I will be able to return the next day. Any next day. I always have 1 bad day every week but there can be more. So I pressed on, pinning the sleeves with their side-pieces in place, offsetting the top of the shoulder /sleeve seam allowances 1/2″. I was rather shocked to find that the sleeves needed easing. Not just a little bit either. It is like I didn’t shorten the sleeve cap at all. I was stunned looking at that. Could I recut the sleeve at this point? Exactly where needed to be changed? Was this a fabric issue? Obviously my calculations were off and I needed to walk the pattern pieces. Thing is, chemo saps my energy. I want to do more, but I can’t. I decided to ease the sleeve caps and stitch them in place. I like the way this looks…
…but it isn’t the way the pattern is drafted. I love the way the pattern is drafted. I am running out of time on this day and decide to leave it as is – it does look nice, I’ll deal with the pattern later.
I have another issue, the sleeve is too long I’d already serged the cuff to the sleeve. Even with the fabric bonded, I didn’t want to rip that. Instead, I make two 1/4″ tucks parallel to each other across the sleeve. I’m sorry the pics didn’t turn out because it looks really nice. Planned, instead of an after-the-fact fix.
Above, I don’t know if I’m looking at fit issues, posture or photography issues. The back hem is not level. Later on, during wear, I find that the back neck wants to creep up. This begs a few questions. Was my 5/8″ RBA too much? Not enough? In the wrong place? Do I need to add more back width? Or do I really just need more length? These are questions that I will answer in future fittings.
When I look at this pic, I see the curvature of my back. But then I step back and say, “Hey that doesn’t look all that bad.” I can wear this blouse so many places.
So conclusion is that, I’m not ready to go onto other TRB variations. Basically I need to work on this version and target 2 issues
- Shoulder width
- Sleeve/armscye fit and length.
I think it’s a great blouse. Glad I made it. I may even keep copy the jacket sleeve again and keep this pattern for times when I want a gathered/eased sleeve.