Sewaholic’s Alma blouse is one of my favourite patterns. Sewaholic is one of my favourite pattern makers. And this is my first ever successful Full Bust Adjustment! So, you know, I’m happy.
I worked with quilting cotton – yes, quilting cotton! – bought from The Village Haberdashery for £21.60. It’s Summersville, Brushstrokes in Coal. You can still find some of the fabric on sale here, in green. The collar is made from a remnant of black ponti knit and the pattern came free to me as a pattern tester (my original version here), so this blouse came at a pretty modest cost.
I had to cut the fabric on the cross grain to make the brushstrokes travel down my body. The print means that Tasia’s clever darts are all but invisible, which makes the clever shaping even more clever.
So, how did I do my FBA? I followed two sets of excellent instructions. One from Colette’s Sewing Handbook and the other from Megan Nielsen’s online tutorial. I particularly like Megan’s chatty, encouraging writing style and the fact that she helped me figure out how much I needed to adjust the pattern piece by. Instructions that tell me ‘adjust by the desired measurement’ don’t cut it with me. How can I KNOW the desired measurement when I am LEARNING? Thank you, Megan.
(Fyi, you judge how much to ‘open up’ the slashed pieces by measuring the difference between the pattern piece you would normally cut and the pattern piece you have traced according to your upper chest measurement. You know on the original pattern piece that you’ve traced, rather than cut into? Can you see where the sizes are graded down the side seam? Go and measure that. That’s the distance you’ll open up your slashed pieces by.)
With these two reference tools to hand, I traced the front bodice piece. Repeat, I traced a pattern piece, following the size indicated by my upper chest measurement. Did you get that? I took the time and effort to trace a pattern piece. This is something I never do! But in the interests of learning, I sucked it up.
I then adjusted the traced pattern piece with an FBA (see left in the above photo). Because I hate, loathe and despise working with anything that is covered in bits of sellotape and cut up paper, I then traced – AGAIN! – this adjusted piece onto… Now, here’s the rub. I can’t actually remember what this stuff is, on the right of the picture, but it’s fantastic. It’s kind of a fabric-ey stuff that is soft to the touch, will take pins and fold up nice and neatly and you can iron it. I ordered it ages ago from … somewhere. Help. Anyone?! What is this magical mystery stuff? When/if we find out, I recommend it! [Note to self - refrain from throwing away all packaging.]
This blouse is a really great make for Autumn. The cotton is soft but thick, making it pretty cosy. I can totally see a vest or long-sleeved T-shirt underneath this, can’t you?
I’m really pleased with the ponti knit collar. I stole the idea for a contrast fabric collar from Marie of A Sewing Odyssey, after seeing her spectacular version of this blouse.
Thats it! I have nothing left to say. Actually, I do. Dear East Coast Stateside friends, we are all thinking of you. The initial relief that Storm Sandy hadn’t been as bad (define bad) as feared is now being replaced by some fairly grim details. I hope you are all coping and I hope you know the world is with you.