Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Empire-waist Surplice Blouse

I finally finished the Empire Surplice (crossover) top I mentioned before! As usual, it isn’t perfect…I need to shorten the center front length and lengthen the center back length by .25” for next time...but it is wearable.

The fabric I used was some drapey rayon challis that I purchased last year specifically for use in testing patterns. This dark color makes the style details hard to see in the pictures…I increased the brightness a bit, but it only helped a little.

The blue buttons were from my stash…actually, they originally came from my grandmother’s stash! I put one button/buttonhole on each side, just under the bust…two buttons total.

As mentioned previously, additional
length was needed on the pattern right there at the dart legs to smooth out the angle that forms when the dart is sewn. This extra length also helps the fabric conform to my body a little better, going over then under the bust, going all the way to the rib cage before falling vertically.

I had initially decided to just gather that bust dart, as I had done in my muslin (of septic paper). But in this drapey rayon, the gathers formed a poof of fabric BELOW my bust…not pretty! So I tried sewing two small darts then gathering the rest…nope, that was awful, too! So I went back to the computer, to play with the pattern to see what I should do.

I decided to divide the single bust dart into TWO bust darts. First, I rotated the bust dart out of the way…just as I had done previously to check the ‘flow’ of the waist seam.

Then, I located a point on each side of the bust dart, 0.75” away from BP. Next, I drew a line from each of these new points down to the place where the original bust dart meets the Empire waist seam. These two new lines form a ‘V’ shape under the bust. Then I rotated half the bust dart to each of these new slash lines. But I didn’t want to sew the darts all the way to the tips…I wanted the illusion of gathers…so I drew a circle around my original Bust Point, radius equals 2.5”, and only sewed the darts outside of the radius, basically converting them to tucks. I was pleased with this effect…not full under the bust yet still a ‘looser’ look.

The sleeves were another FUN adventure! I had wanted to see what happens when using a very low sleeve cap…I drafted with (-1.5”). But for some reason, I had also determined that I needed to lower my armhole depth 0.5” (I cannot remember why, but the ah depth was a bit low). These two settings combined to produce a really wide sleeve! The first insertion was comical. I ripped out the sleeve and trimmed the sleeve cap, then tried again…better but still no cigar. Eventually I got the sleeve recut to be acceptable, but due to the too-low armhole depth, my sleeve cap ‘trial’ was invalid…I still don’t know what is the lowest cap height setting I could use on my sleeve with the correct ah depth! But I did learn that I probably don’t need to lower the armhole depth after all…(duh).

I worked very hard to make the hem come out even, yet in wear, the overlap/underlap edges sag a bit and hang lower than the main hem. Bummer! I am hoping my interfacing might shrink in the wash and prevent this from happening in the future! Also, my neckline was fine BEFORE I understitched it, but after doing the understitching, the neck began to gap a bit! Again, let’s hope the interfacing shrinks and corrects for this! Ya know, that is usually NOT something I hope for! But on this blouse, shrinking interfacing might be a blessing!


Sew4Fun said...

Pretty blouse! I like the style and the fabric.

Marianne said...

I only recently came across your blog so wanted to say Hi. I like your empire blouse very much. It looks good on you and is a very nice blouse to dress up a pair of jeans.
I can so emphasize with your trials getting a sleeve to fit AND look right. I've just spent my whole Easter break trying to alter a sleeve and armhole from being very fitted to being a dropped shoulder sleeve/armhole scenario. I'm off to my sewing room today to make take 2. I have worn take 1 and it's very comfortable but looks a bit funny because I didn't take enough off the sleeve cap.
I'm looking forward to reading all of your posts; it will be a nice treat when I'm tearing my hair out over take 2 LOL. It's so nice to have found a blogger who struggles but perseveres to get a pattern just right and who drafts patterns. Thank you for sharing.

Marilyn said...

Oh Patricia,
Your blouse is quite becoming and looks great on you. You have inspired me to redo the gathers into darts on my fave dress--I swear I will do it!!

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