Jul 31, 2014

the butterfly blouse: v1247

Sewing with the Big Four is a very different experience than sewing with independent patterns.  I learned to sew for my kids from Oliver and S, and when I began sewing my own clothing, the Colette Sewing Handbook was the perfect place to start. I have lots of love for Sewaholic patterns these days too.  Independent patterns (at least the ones I've work with) seem to focus more on detailed instructions with diagrams and clear explanations; in fact, this seems like a requirement for success in the independent pattern market.  Obviously, this is a huge benefit to a beginning sewist--when people ask me how to get started sewing, I always recommend that they start with a Colette pattern instead of a Simplicity or Butterick.  That's not to say that all independent patterns are easy, but there seems to be a lot more help in the instructions and on the internet to help someone who gets stuck.

However, I have quite enjoyed sewing my last few projects from Vogue patterns.  Each one presented a new construction method and unique design, and I liked doing something a little different.  For example, this blouse has a pieced section that was interesting to construct, especially with french seams, along with shoulder pleats, bias cuffs, and a narrow curved hem.  I've done all of these things in separate garments before, and combining them meant that this blouse became a bit fiddly--lots of little details to take care of.

Overall, I like this blouse.  The v-neck is dangerously low, but the loose, drapey fit is cool and comfortable in the summer heat.  After reading the many reviews and posts about this pattern, I decided to cut a size 8 instead of the 12 I actually measure for, and I almost wish I had gone with a 6.  To be honest, the fit is not that great.  The bust darts are at least an inch too low, and I think I could stand to take up the shoulders half an inch or so.  The fabric saves the day.  This is an Anna Maria Horner rayon challis, and it is heavenly.  I did a lot of stay stitching on the bottom sections and on the neckline, and I think that helped the bottom section come together easily and drape pretty nicely.  I'm afraid I still managed to stretch out one side of the neckline a tiny bit, but it's not very noticeable.

I'm not sure why there is a seam down the back of the blouse.  Maybe to save fabric?  I'm not sure I will make this blouse again, but if I do, I'll probably eliminate that seam.

The final verdict for me is that I enjoyed the process of sewing this blouse, and I'm sure it will get it's fair share of wear.

This is my awkward model pose.  Enjoy. :-)


  1. That is some seriously beautiful fabric! Perfect for this top. I've made this one up a while ago and you are making me want to revisit it. Gorgeous!

    1. Definitely revisit this pattern. I can see this pattern suiting you perfectly. :-)

  2. This turned out beautifully, especially in that fabric! You're making me want to sew up another one :) This is one pattern where the bust point is about right on me, which probably means it'll be way too low on most people. Same story with the neckline and width of the shoulders!

    It was interesting to hear what patterns you started sewing with. I took the opposite route (not on purpose!) and started with Burda and Simplicity patterns. I thought the instructions for Simplicity were pretty good - lots of Googling techniques - but the Burda ones, even the printed versions distributed through Simplicity - were terrible! I made more than my fair share of mistakes, so thank goodness I was motivated enough to continue sewing.

    1. There has to be a willingness to make mistakes in the beginning. As much as I hate it, I learn so much from having to rip out and redo.

      Waaaayyy back when I first started sewing for Cara, I used a Project Runway Simplicity pattern and made every single view. Those dresses are hilarious (especially this one), but I learned a lot of basic skills. When I discovered Oliver and S, a whole new world opened up. It's so interesting to hear how people get started in this craft, especially since I rarely encounter someone else who sews in real life.

      And thank you so much! :-)


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