Autumnal Alma Blouse

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.

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47 Responses to Autumnal Alma Blouse

  1. Divebunny says:

    Swiss tracing paper?

  2. punkmik says:

    i love this! so nice! it turned out great! the fit is amazing! :D i am yet to make my first alma but will trace it later today! :D:D:D

  3. pat beadle says:

    the trade name in this country is fabribaste

  4. sewbusylizzy says:

    I adore this pattern & think this is a gorgeous version. Great job and congrats on conquering the FBA!

  5. annie says:

    You can use sew-in light weight interfacing too.

  6. Jane says:

    Very chic and lovely and bravo for a successful FBA (something I still have to try…) The contrast collar works perfectly and I have to say, you can carry off a black and white print like no other, you look fab! x

  7. Loving this Alma on you. I’m having a sewing spring/summer tops long Melbourne Cup (yes, we have a public holiday for a horse race) weekend and have been contemplating FBAs. Thanks for the measurement tip.

  8. Melizza says:

    The blouse looks divine on you. You nailed the FBA. I love the fabrics Village Haberdashery has to offer. I can never decide on a favorite.

  9. Vicki Kate says:

    Looks fabulous on you! Glad you’ve got to grips with the FBA; the fit looks perfect :)

  10. Sam says:

    Gorgeous top! Your FBA looks perfect. I have yet to try a Sewaholic pattern – this could well be my first, it looks like the perfect top for me.

  11. dogsndolls2 says:

    I’ve bought it as Swedish tracing paper. Very cute top. I love all the colors and prints available on quilting cotton, and the ponte collar was an fabulous idea! I’ll be returning to this post when trying my second ever FBA this winter.

  12. Joanne says:

    Oooh that’s just lovely,. I have major top envy now!

  13. Lovely indeed. The collar really sets it off.

  14. liza jane says:

    LOVE that graphic fabric. Very cool.

  15. This is so beautiful. I am aiming to make an alma top soon so will come back to help me through.

  16. Carolyn says:

    I love your fabric choices and the top looks great on you!

  17. lloubb says:

    The bust and shoulders look to fit you perfectly! Nice!

  18. Debbie Cook says:

    Lovely blouse! Swedish (not Swiss) tracing paper. Love that stuff!

  19. Tamsin says:

    What a lovely top. Well done on the fba

  20. Burke says:

    Did you do an FBA on the Cambie as well? It fit right out of the envelope although I usually do an FBA – now I’m wondering if I should rethink my size.

    • No, I didn’t, and it suffers for it. There’s a bit too much gape around the top of the bodice. I met someone today who was wearing a wonderful version of the dress, so I know that it CAN fit superbly. Just a bit of tweaking needed…

  21. Crystal says:

    The blouse is awesome. Yay for a successful FBA!

  22. Helen Made says:

    Gorgeous! Great job on the FBA!

  23. Marie says:

    I can hand-on-heart say that this looks even lovelier in life that its already lovely pictured self! Because I blatantly stalk you, I was really confused when I saw you wearing a me-made I didn’t recognise (hehe), but now I realise I just didn’t see this post before leaving home ;o) I can’t believe how wonderfully it sits even though it’s quilting cotton and the pattern/colours make this such a classy make. One of your best yet I think Karen! It was so cool to see you to day!xx

  24. It’s so good to see your new Alma in person! I think I need to actually research to see if an FBA could be the answer to occasional fit issues I have (but I am SO LAZY!)

  25. You did an amazing job. Love the blouse. This is what I use for tracing patterns but I think you can find it on Amazon too. Love the stuff.
    http://www.birchstreetclothing.com/group.php?itemID=9036&colID=28

  26. Roobeedoo says:

    Ooh lovely! I have seen that fabric as a skirt before but never a top. It really works well with the contrast collar too. And an FBA too? FAB!

  27. Michelle says:

    Oh Karen! I love this top SO MUCH! The use of the Summersville print, the black ponti colour, the amazing FIT!! You are such an inspirations may have to see something clothingwise today. Haven’t sewn anything in 6 months!

  28. Great top, and it looked even better in person today on you Karen – it fits you really well. Great job! :)

  29. Phil says:

    Karen, it looks great. The right fit, fabric and colours! :)

  30. Pendle Stitches says:

    this is without doubt the most lovely version of Alma that I’ve seen. The fit is stunning and well worth the extra effort. And the fabric….oh my!

  31. rehanon says:

    Honey I can’t think of an item of clothing I’ve seen suit anyone more recently. It’s just right on the note for you. Well done on the FBA too. I’m still hashing my way through them but getting better each time.

  32. Katalin says:

    Looks beautiful and fits perfect!

  33. Jamie says:

    Congratulations on your FBA! It looks fabulous!!!

    I LOVE Swedish tracing paper. I actually look forward to tracing patterns because it’s so pleasant to work with.

  34. Alice says:

    What a lovely version of the blouse! And I feel so privileged to have seen it in person ;-) X

  35. Fiona says:

    That’s very, very nice!

  36. Love it!! Very versatile. I keep eyeing that blouse on others, I definitely need to buy the pattern.

  37. Pin Queen says:

    Hi Karen, the fit on this Alma is excellent, the more sewing and pattern altering you do, the better at it you become!

  38. This is wonderful! The fit is amazing and the graphic print with contrast colour is stunning. ANd congrats on pulling off the FBA!

  39. Pingback: If One HAS To Make Gifts, They May As Well Be These… | Did You Make That?

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