Pattern Review (and a simple hack) – True Bias Sutton Blouse
Finally, I’m getting some time for spring/summer sewing. It’s been a long time coming, between the move and two college graduations in the family.
I frequently sew knit fabrics, but had some great summer-weight woven fabrics in my stash. This spring has really been blouse time for a lot of indie pattern designers, and I’ve wanted to make most of them! I wanted to start back into sewing after a few months with a fairly simple pattern, so I chose the True Bias Sutton Blouse. It’s described as a loose fitting V-neck top with kimono sleeves, a one piece yoke, and a back inverted pleat. It features side slits and a step down longer length in the back. The suggested fabrics are all light weight wovens with good drape.
The pattern’s largest size is 44.5″ bust, 38.5″ waist, and 46.5″ hip, which means that I was slightly larger up top and about 1 1/2 sizes larger in the bottom. But I noted on the pattern that the blouse was designed to be extremely loose fitting, and that one might even want to go down a size. So, I got out my handy measuring tape and measured the pattern itself, and sure enough, it appeared to have plenty of ease.
I decided to go ahead and make this up in a “wearable muslin” – a piece of polyester crepe fabric from Joann Fabrics. While I finished the garment like the instructions instead of french seams, I opted to do all the inside seams with my serger. This worked fine for a non-sheer fabric.
The first garment turned out well, and I decided to make the top again, this time in an ivory lightweight rayon twill from Fabric Mart (long gone, so don’t bother looking for it!).
I had some fears that making this top in a solid fabric would look too much like “scrubs” and wanted to try and dress up the top a little. First I considered doing the entire yoke piece out of a lace fabric, but I couldn’t find anything locally that was not extremely open (requiring a tank or cami underneath the shirt). I found a really pretty piece of ivory lace trim at Joann’s and decided to do a lace insert on the front yoke.
Here’s where my new Twin-Fit dress form came in handy! I was able to fold under the yoke and front pieces, and pin the front of the garment together, in order to check the lace placement. I decided to go ahead and take out equal amounts from the yoke and shirt front, placing the lace “in the middle” between the pieces.
I simply noted the width of the lace – 2 1/2″, took off 1/4″ each for top and bottom overlap, and that left removing 1″ off each the top of the front piece and the bottom of the yoke. The lines on the pattern pieces were straight so it was easy to mark off the new cutting lines. The Sutton Blouse has 1/2″ seam allowances, so I simply pressed down 1/4″ and then another 1/4″ on the edges of the front and yoke pieces. If your fabric is difficult to handle, you might want to baste these fold-overs, but I didn’t need to as the rayon took the folds very well. Then, pin your lace to the front of the yoke, overlapping the 1/4″ and having a little extra lace on each side so that you can straighten the cut edges afterwards for the neckline and sleeve hem. Carefully stitch through the lace, and then repeat for the other side of the yoke. Pin the front pieces to the bottom of the lace, with the lace overlapping 1/4″ and aligning the right and left edges of the pieces as carefully as possible. Stitch these pieces carefully as well. Finally, mark and cut any lace that is hanging over the edges on the right sleeve, left sleeve, and neckline.
The Sutton has a bias band inside the neckline, and I opted to switch it to outside the neckline in order to have a smoother neck edge with the lace. I’m not sure this is 100% necessary, as my sleeve hems looked smooth even with the lace edges.
The final result? I think that it dressed up the Sutton nicely. The twill doesn’t seem to drape as well as a challis, but I’ll hold off till after a few more washings (cold water, gentle cycle, hang to dry) before making a final judgement on that.
It’s a cute top, easy to wear, and cool during the summer months. Highly recommended.