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On my summer essentials list, I planned to use my newly acquired bodice/blouse block, adapting it to look like Simplicity 3263 from the 1950s. The goal was to have one ivory scoop collar sleeveless blouse and one black with a peter pan collar. The kind of essentials you can use again and again.
Before I show off my less than perfect wares, two things are worth mentioning 1) My waist is not that tiny. Oh, pattern photos, they deceive and 2) I always forget how much work goes into refining a pattern and this'll take time.
For the ivory blouse, I used an oversized thrifted top -- drapey with a bit of sheen. My first introduction to how drapeyness (drapiness? drapability? ha), er, fabric drape, can drastically effect fit. It seems you can go down an entire size if you're using a very drape-y fabric. I also learned the important of edgestitching such fabrics to prevent puckering that occurs at my typical 1/4 inch topstitch. A million little tweaks later:
Nothing much to holler about, it sort of pulls in the wrong places but that might have to do with the fabric. In fact, I may not need/want to use contour darts in drapey fabric again, instead folding in the darts on the pattern before cutting the fabric. The top reflects the 50s neckline and the hem of the original shirt. Don't like the hem, but am afraid if I chop it off it will affect its tuck-ability.
More than anything, I hope this'll be a great layering piece. Here it is with the sweet and sassy skirt from last year (McCalls 5803). Nice with a short jacket or cardi.
For the black blouse, I used a thrifted Eileen Fisher tunic made of Italian linen, though there must be a bit of polyester because it doesn't wrinkle. Just a really beautiful fabric to work with. I traced the peter pan collar from the vintage pattern.
I'm torn on this -- I LOVE the fit of the blouse and the feel of the fabric but I'm of too minds about the collar. Retro? Yes. A wee bit prim? Uh, yes. But I sported this to see X-Men: First Class (Michael Fassbender: I love you) last night with jeans, heels and a red cardi and I was feeling pretty good! It definitely feels like one of those basics that has just a touch of flair. I can imagine sporting this with grotesquely large and colorful fabric flowers.
Above, I'm trying to show off the collar, but black is difficult to photograph. Here's a close-up:
I'm very crooked here, but I suspect the collar is a bit too :0.
The linen, too, ran large, because when I made a muslin incorporating all the changes I made on this linen version, I could barely breathe! In fact, that seems like the incredible benefit of me using the same pattern over and over is that I can start to understand the difference between fabrics & fit. At least now I have two versions of the blouses block -- one very tight fitting (good when adapting for fitted dresses, say) and one more classically fitted for blouses that I can pull over my head or add a button placket to for a classic oxford look.
This first foray into working with my blouse block has got me obsessed with ease, asking myself, How much do you need? How much looks good? In the Colette Patterns Rooibos dress I just made, the bust had a scant 1/2 inch ease. I had to go up a size as it was too tight. For this project, I adopted this bodice block using measurements from Fit For Real People: a standard fitted bodice has about 2 inches in the bust, 1 inch in the waist and 1-1/2 inches in the hip (-ish). And I'll say that conforms pretty nicely to my body.
What I didn't realize is that ease is also dependent on your overall size. The smaller you are, the less ease you need, and vice-versa. I've been thinking it's better to think of ease in terms of percentages—7-10% of your measurements, I've read, is the ease in classically fitted garments.
What about you? For shaped garments, how do you approach ease? Do you like a lot of ease in your blouses/dresses in the bust and waist? Less? How do you strike that balance between looking good and having enough movement in your clothes?
Brigitte Bardot - Brigitte Bardot