When I went to Philly in October, with a trip to Jomar heavily featured, I picked up two silks from the $6/yd silks section for Fall/Winter blouses and I was determined to actually make them up! I made the navy into the Burda 02-2009-123 self collar wrap blouse, and decided to make the gray into Burda 08-2009-118. Although the sleeveless version of this blouse has been quite popular, I haven't seen anyone make the version with sleeves.
I purchased 1.5 yards of this fabric. For cheaper fabrics Jomar gives quite generous cuts, but understandably in the relatively higher dollar (let's not forget it was still only $6/yd!) fabrics the cuts are closer to accurate. So I had to narrow the sleeve pattern a bit to accommodate my fabric. It is still very puffy. I also did not make it tight-tight at the bottom of the sleeve because I thought it would be too uncomfortable to have tight fabric bunching in the crook of my arm. I am definitely not wild about the sleeves. I don't like a dropped shoulder in general and combined with the overall puffiness of the blouse I think it's more shapeless than chic. I felt a little better when I wore the blouse this week and a co-worker complimented me on it.
Because it is a silk, I used French seams. I wasn't quite sure how to handle the armscye. In fact, in general I don't know how to handle the armscye when doing french seams. With a gathered sleeve cap French seams can get very bulky. This doesn't have a gathered sleeve cap but it has a drop shoulder line so the side of the blouse is cut in a straight line with just a marking for placement of the lower edge of the sleeve, rather than with a traditional armscye. I decided to French seam the sleeve onto the bodice first, and then to sew the sleeve and side seam at one go. I had a hard time getting all layers of the fabric to catch in at the underam. But for the most part the seams look nice and fancy.
I had several issues with the neckline of the blouse. The first was that I did not have enough fabric to make a bias binding for the neckline and so I was forced to use the facing. Seriously, facings are SO AWFUL. I finally got it to look decent, but it involved a lot of clipping at the curves, which always makes me nervous, especially in a delicate, lightweight fabric like this (not sure exactly what the weave is, but it's not much more substantial than a habitoi/china silk). And it's so ugly on the inside!
The second issue, which Birgitte had flagged (I swear it was her, but I can't find the actual post, only this one showing the a-mazing complete Chanel outfit for her daughter--btw, Birgitte, if your daughter is sick of it I will pay for the express postage to send it to me, heh), is the flounce placement along the neckline. The markings are really too wide, with the flounce going almost all the way to the shoulder. Not only does this widen the shoulder line in an unflattering way, it stretches the flounce too thin so that it doesn't fall as well as it could. Out was ripped the facing understitching, the facing/neckline serging, and the facing/neckline seam and the flounce was brought a couple inches closer to the center on each side and it looks much better.
The third and fourth issues are not really issues. Burda tells you to finish the flounce with a close zig zag, I used my rolled hem foot. Burda tells you to sew a button on the inside with an invisible loop to keep the neckline closed. I used a fancy button on the outside (leftover from my Cruella de Vil costume), but followed their suggestion for using a thread loop as the closure, which looks nice.
The flounce/ruffle/other embellishment trend has been strong for quite a while now and I wanted to get on the bandwagon. However, I'm not sure that this was the right choice. I just don't love how puffy it is, and I think I have the length wrong but am afraid to shorten the hem for fear it will pull out when tucked into a skirt (the length isn't an issue when it's tucked in, only when worn over the skirt with a belt). I really like how the sleeveless version has worked and may try that over the summer. In fact, maybe I should just take the sleeves off this one since I dislike them so much and am unlikely to give the blouse that much wear next Fall/Winter (I am officially declaring it Spring; it hasn't been below freezing in several weeks). I will ponder that.
It has few pieces and is quite easy to put together and has a trendy look, so if you like the pattern you should definitely give it a try. All photos are here and the pattern review is here.
Gretchen the Household Deity