My First Concord

10629842_10101384179944609_5396031717182495646_nNow that I have some other projects out of the way, I finally found the time for some selfish sewing and testing the Concord T-Shirt from Cashmerette.  I have not been this excited about a pattern or collection of patterns in a very long time.  I am so tired of trying to find some way to alter a standard B cup bodice to fit around my girls, 50F’s.

Using a coupon code, I ordered the paper printed version of the pattern.  As large as I am, I knew there would be no way I would have the patience to tape that entire grid of pages together.  Let me say that was a very good decision.  The paper pattern comes in a nice card stock envelope and the instruction booklet is of better quality than necessary.  It was worth the extra money.

I began by tracing a size 28 with the G/H cup size on some very thin scrap sew-in interfacing.  I graded the pattern up to what I estimated was a size 32 with a 62 inch bust.  I don’t like my tops to have negative ease so I tended toward the larger size.  I graded the waist out to 56 inches.  I chose the v-neck, the long sleeve and the tunic length.

My fabric was what I hoped would be a wearable muslin.  It was some sort of stretch terry that I found in the Spot-A-Bolt sale last winter at my local Hancock Fabrics.  (Let’s all pause for a moment of silence for Hancock’s untimely demise.  Sadness!)  I usually snap a pic of the bolt end while I stand in line at the cutting table but when I cataloged this fabric into my stash I could not find it.  For the first time in my life, I had the forethought to check for placement of motifs in the fabric to be sure they did not line up with any prominent body parts.  I think I was successful.

Results:  I am very pleased with this pattern!  It gives me so much hope for sewing garments that will look good on me.  I am not a fan of sewing knits but this one turned out fabulous.  I have some tweaks to make on the final tracing of the pattern pieces.  As one can see in my pic, the v-neck is too wide on my shoulders.  It is also too long for my liking but that is an easy fix.  I will simply re-draw it based on an old tried-and-true method for drafting v-neck t-shirt necks that I learned many years ago in a serger class.

The sleeves fit very well with the exception that they are too short.  Nothing but a tall man’s shirt has ever had sleeves long enough for me so that was expected.  I will add two inches in length there and I will be good. The most powerful thing is the shirt fits well around the girls AND fits around the abdomen!

I was so encouraged that I promptly purchased Cashmerette’s new Harrison shirt pattern.  My favorite thing to sew is creative blouses using quilter’s cotton.  There are so many colors and design possibilities.   If I can get a basic tried-and-true button-up woven shirt pattern, the world is my oyster!



Goldilocks & the Three Blouses

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 rightIMG_2021!
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.