Monday, August 20, 2012

VPLL 1912 - Blouse 1000

VPLL 1912 - Blouse 1000
Ladies Blouse - #1000This is my next project for the VPLL 1912 Project.  My plan is to wear this with the skirt and the spring mantle as a complete outfit.  The pattern design is much closer to modern blouse patterns, but there are still notable differences in the side seam and sleeve placement.  The challenge in the pattern is the embroidery detail and the pleating.  MY challenge is to make this pattern fit me.  The bust is listed as 36.  That is likely true, however I believe it is 36 on a petite and corseted figure.  The pattern is quite small.  The only modification I plan to make is to shift the button opening from the back to the front.  This is a fairly straightforward change.  Then I need to size up for me.  In this case, every single pattern piece needed modifications.  It's somewhat intimidating, since I'm not cutting everything equally larger, but modifying each piece to fit me and fit adjoining pattern pieces.  For example, I added width to the back piece (pictured) at the waist but not at the shoulder.  Of course I had to modify the peplum too.  And, as always, the infamous FBA.  Also, there is no waistband pattern piece.  The sewist gets to do that on their own.  Luckily, it's a straight line.  
First try:
Nope.  Didn't work.  I calculated the FBA based on a modern side seam  The side seam for this pattern is toward the back by about an inch to an inch and a half.  Just about what I'm missing in front.

I re-stitched the pleats and un-sewed the button placket and to determine how much more fabric I needed to add to the center front.

Nope. It's a lot better, but not quite there. Next  I lowered the dart, and took up the inside of the shoulder seam.  This would allow me  to straighten the angle of the center front.  I also undid one of the two pleats in the back to determine how much extra ease I needed.

Yes!  This is pretty much it!  The peplum fits better than it looks in the picture because I pulled it closed for the picture.  The center front is straight and the dart isn't pulling.

I have marked the muslin extensively with all the little tweaks I made.  I've trimmed the muslin where I took seams in. Now I'm ready to cut.

For the record, to move the closure if the pattern fit properly one would need to remove the seam allowance from the back pattern piece and cut on the fold.  Then, for a 1 inch overlap for buttons and buttonholes, add 1/2 inch to the center front, plus 2 inches to fold over for the placket.  

I'm also adding length to the top part of the blouse, but not evenly.  The blouse was designed to have a poofy front (the style of the time).  I'm adding proportionally to the back and sides for a more modern fit.

I've moved on to the the polyester... I don't know how to describe's a tightly woven and 'drapey'.  

It's wiggley and making me crazy.  I'm testing the embroidery on it and weeping.  Skills!  I need them!

Catching up on my blog post - the blouse is done!  

Once I got the sizing sorted I sewed it together.  I didn't follow the instructions per se, but the instructions were fairly logical.  I sewed all the pleats and pressed them.  I sewed shoulders and side seam.  I sewed the sleeve seam. 
 I opted to add the cuffs after I sewed the sleeves to the blouse.  It could be done before that, but not before the sleeve seam as the pattern suggests a small gap in the cuff at the sleeve pleats.  Here's how mine looked:

Please note that I did not do the scallops or the granitos.  I spent many an evening toiling over my sewing machine and an embroidery hoop attempting to get the right 'look'.  I failed miserably.  That is not the fault of the pattern.  That is my personal failing.  I opted instead to use an decorative stitch that was available on my machine.  I like how it came out.

Next, I sewed in the collar.  Please note that I am not a fan of the pattern instructions for added the collar and cuffs.  It is not difficult as written, just difficult with a 3/8 seam allowance.  I should have noticed this and added a larger seam allowance.  Since I didn't have much fabric to work with, I had a hard time getting the collar to look even.  I will have to steam it like crazy to get it to match.  Again, it's my skill level that created the problem, but the pattern could have been easier with a larger seam allowance.  The instructions suggest binding the collar.  That is a solution, but it is difficult to accomplish without the binding showing at the neck.

The waistband was a simple strip of fabric.  I opted to make the width (finished) 1 1/4 inch.  I also opted to have the waistband overlap by two inches in the front because I thought it would look cute.  I cut two waistbands so I could use one as a backing to cover over the raw fabric edges of the top and the peplum. To do this, I pressed over the seam allowances on both pieces.  I sewed one to the 'wrong side' of the blouse attaching blouse and peplum.  Picture shows blouse sewn and peplum pinned.  Then I trimmed the seam allowances and sewing the top ('right side') waistband over everything.

The blouse is now completed except for buttons and buttonholes.

The amount of alterations I attempted really exceeded my skill level.  Not everything came out as planned.  I firmly believe this was directly due to my lack of skills. For example, when I sized up the peplum I added width at the bottom to accommodate my hips.  I THOUGHT I had it right in the muslin, but clearly I didn't.  The peplum overlaps slightly in front and in back.  Learning experience!  The collar was particularly challenging and fiddly for me.  Learning experience!  All said and done, not my best bit of work, but I like it.  Most surprising is that it fits!  Here are some additional picture of the blouse on my dressform, with the rest of the outfit, and finally, on me.  The funny looking part at the waist in the back is just a failure to properly 'blouse' the blouse.  Not how it actually looks.

VPLL Checklist:
Pattern Name - Blouse 1000
Sewer's Skill Level -  Intermediate (although I felt like a beginner)
Pattern Rating - Somewhere between 2 and 3,  I love the picture, but I'm not sure the risk/reward for this pattern is worth all the work.
What skill level would someone need to sew this - Definately intermediate, with a lot of patience and attention to detail.
Were the instructions easy to follow - yes, although I think the collar and cuffs should have a larger seam allowance.
How was the fit/sizing? - This pattern seemed very small for a 36 inch bust. Given I am substantially larger than that, I can't really tell, though.
Did you make any pattern alterations - I changed closure from front to back.  I also made substantial changes to the size of the pattern.