Remember how the fairy tale goes…….
-This blouse is too small. (Pardon me while I spare you a visual of that.)
-This blouse is too big.
My mother destashed this crisp watermelon red seersucker and it screamed “Hawaiian shirt” to me. (It doesn’t help that I have been binge-watching Magnum P.I. episodes.) I pulled out my best men’s Hawaiian shirt pattern and cut the largest size. I decided that I needed a little more space in the bust area so I pivoted the side seams on both the front and the back piece to add a couple inches to the finished bust measurement. The result, as you can see, is a comfy, oversized South Seas-inspired garment. Yes, it fits. Yes, it goes around my bust easily which is often a rarity. Unfortunately, the blouse is too big and does nothing for my shape. It is a men’s pattern so that is to be expected. I will wear this but I think I can do better. They say third time is the charm, right?
-This blouse is just right!
The next garment on my To-Do List was a blouse made from this navy blue and white striped seersucker with crabs embroidered all over it. The little red crabs have on white sailor hats. They are cute! Yes, I’m sure this fabric is intended for children’s wear but I have always been a sucker for seersucker and the motifs add just enough whimsy to suit my quirky personality. This is one of three embroidered seersuckers in my Fabric Stash. I pulled out another older tried-and-true pattern from the Pattern Stash.
My goal is to create a well-fitting blouse and then repeat it in different fabrics and with variations for a complete wardrobe of exciting blouses to be paired with basic bottoms such as capris, leggings, skirts or jeans. The sailor crab blouse in my mind had a white collar and white sleeve cuffs top-stitched in red thread. The cuffs did not make it to the final version but that is okay. I like this blouse. It feels good on and I don’t think it looks too big and boxy like the Hawaiian shirt.
The important thing is I believe I have finally found the basic blouse pattern I am looking for. I have altered many patterns with a traditional full bust adjustment(FBA) and it has always been an epic fail. See, in the fine print, it will tell you that an FBA is good for someone who does not need more than 2-3 inches additional width. I exceed that range by a large margin. An FBA for me results in a very large dart or two large darts on each side of my bust along with an extra thickness of fabric located in a spot where friction can be a problem.
I studied the use of pivoting darts also. I never found that to be a viable solution. In leafing through some older patterns, I came upon some older blouse patterns from years ago when I was sewing my own clothes. These blouses all had blouse fronts and backs gathered or pleated to the yoke. This seems to be a design method that is currently out-of-style. I remembered fondly several blouses that I stitched up back in those days. It made sense to pull out this pattern and pivot the dart and hide any bust alterations within the gathers at the yoke. That thought process rewarded me with this blouse. I love this blouse. I will make more. I have several variations in mind already as well as a growing stack of fabrics pulled from my Fabric Stash.