One of the patterns available as part of the 1st Sewing Indie Month bundle is the Sutton Blouse by True Bias. I've seen this blouse around a lot on the 'gram as well as the web. At first I thought, "This is cute and my style! It's a bit like the Cabin top...I'll just make another Cabin."
But upon closer inspection it had some details that were quite different. These differences became even more pronounced as I began to sew. Perhaps Sutton is similar to Cabin in style, but the construction is very different and I like it. Opportunity for french seams? Awesome. Center front seam? Not usually my thing...but boy does it make for a lovely & easy neckline finish! I love a side vent and the extra deep hem helps the fluid fabric hang nicely.
This top almost didn't happen, as I'll explain below, but I'm so glad it did! I love both the muslin (wore it yesterday) and the altered version (wore it today). But getting to this point was quite the process!
Part I: Pattern printing problems
We've all done it. Without thinking, I printed the pattern 'sized to fit page' instead of at 100%. I had been printing non-pattern things earlier and had wanted something resized to fit the page. Then when I went to print the pattern, it was still on that setting. After printing, I noticed that the top seemed awfully big and I was right. When I went back to the computer to check, it appeared I had printed the pattern at 107%. This doesn't sound like much, but it made a big difference.
I managed to re-draw the pattern to scale by choosing a reference point and plotting new points after calculating where they would be at 100% scale. Sound confusing? It took me a while to figure it out, but I think I did it. I'm thinking about posting a tutorial for this in the future...though arguably it's easier to just re-print and assemble the pattern :)
Part II: Not enough fabric
I picked out a beautiful polka dot rayon crepe from my stash that I bought at Stounemountain & Daughter. But I ran into a problem: I only bought a yard of this fabric! And from a store in CA no less, so no opportunity to run over and pick up some extra. Why?
Now, I wouldn't call myself cheap per say, but when it comes to 'stashing' fabrics - aka fabrics that aren't purchased for a specific project - I tend to be pretty frugal. Super fancy fabrics I sometimes only buy 1/2 a yard! What could I make with that? Most fabrics I purchase a full yard, but still...there are seriously very few garments to be made with 1 yard of fabric. I may have to up my minimum to 1 1/2.
After wrestling with layout after layout, I decided it would help to squeeze a bit out of this top. From looking at the flat pattern, it appeared some length/width alterations might be necessary anyway. I really really really wanted to use this fabric. I had to make it work.
So I decided to make a wearable muslin. I used a mystery fabric from my stash that had languished unused and could either be awesome or hideous as a final garment. I had originally planned to give the fabric away, so I decided to give it a go. The fabric was very stiff...felt like it had starch in it. You'd think it would make for easy sewing but it was quite shifty! Think like a loosely woven cotton organza.
Anyway, the finished muslin turned out great, but it does give a bit of a 'wings' effect as the sleeves stick straight out rather than drape. Though with my body shape, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. (I've been working on a cool wardrobe planning project which I hope to share soon...very helpful for visualizing silhouettes on the body).
Ready for the serious version, I laid out the fabric in a single layer and wracked my brain for possibilities. I ended up just squeezing all the pieces in there by:
- Cutting the yoke as two pieces (adding a center seam)
- Cutting front & yoke on the lengthwise grain and the back on the cross grain
- Shortening the final pattern by 1" and taking 1" from the center front of both front pieces (basically, a poor man's SBA), redrawing the neckline.
- Shortening the yoke/sleeve by about 1/2"
And you know what? With all those changes, I think the fit is perfect! I'll be sure to carry those on to the next version. There will definitely be a next version!
This crepe is beautiful but shifty as all get out... did a lot of rotary cutting on this one! Sewing it was a lot of fun. I'm a big fan of french seams, both in how they're sewn and the way they look in a sheer fabric. I really took my time sewing due to the tricky fabric and am happy to report that I only made 1 really silly mistake: sewing the CF french seam backwards. Luckily this fabric was very easy to unpick. Shifty fabrics are usually also a pain to pick. Perhaps I picked just the right stitch length!
Fabric choice is key for this pattern. Though I like the way the stiff linen mystery floral version turned out, I definitely prefer the drape and flow of the rayon crepe for this pattern. I think it's just the right fabric for this pattern!
The skirt, by the way, is A-Frame! It's made up in some Robert Kaufman Essex Linen. I made a size bigger than usual for a more relaxed fit...nice for summer. More of a straight skirt than a pencil fit. After looking at the pictures, I think I might forgo the high-low hem on the next one. But there will definitely be a next one!
The Sutton Blouse, as well as my new pattern Saltbox, are available as part of the Sewing Indie Month August Bundle.