Before we start
I know I said earlier that I’d be doing a muslin but I did a few things that reduced the need for one. Namely, I threw most of the planned alterations, from using knit fabric to taking in the shirt along the torso. Instead, I’m doing a straight-forward sew along, and using cotton gauze so that I don’t die of heat. I’m still going to drop the front hem to be even with the back, because boobs take up space.
Pictured: how boobs alter the flow of fabric.
If you’re still getting used to sewing with patterns or if you have any concerns about the width of shoulders, length of the shirt, sleeve length, or neck circumference, I really suggest using a muslin to make sure that the blouse will fit the way you want it to. Since it’s a fairly forgiving style, I’ve decided to ditch the muslin and go ahead with the proper fabric.
Also this blouse will be hiding under like three layers of costume, so all I need to look good are the sleeves. This means most alterations can be made without me worrying that it’ll look bad.
What you’ll need
- pattern pieces from part 1
- muslin fabric *
- shirt fabric, pre-washed
- lightweight interfacing
- thread to match your good fabric
- pinking shears *
- chalk pencil or other marking tool
- Helper Cat *
Making the Cut(s)
Whether you’re making a mockup/muslin or diving into your good fabric head-first, (not literally, please! fabric is very shallow and head injuries are bad) The next few construction steps are the same.
Pin out your pieces to the fabric and cut them out. Pay attention to pattern markers, and copy them on to the fabric with your marking tool. You’ve all seen me use ballpoint pen before, but that only works if…
- the fabric you’re marking is an interlining or lining that you never intend to show
- the fabric is thick enough the ink won’t show through
As the cotton gauze I’m using is neither of those, I used a chalk pencil like a good little sewist.
As I mentioned above, I’m adding length to the front panel because boobs are at thing and will take up more fabric. Instead of estimating how long, I used the back pattern piece, lay it over the front and cut the bottom so that the front and back pieces would be of equal length. Also it was easier than marking out four inches all along the front panel.
Next, cut out all your pieces.
Once you’re done, take a moment to read over the instructions. They’re pretty clear, but it helps to know where to start, and where you’ll need to deviate if you’re changing up part of the pattern.
Let us Sew!
Facing up Front
First thing the pattern asks us to do is sew on the facing. Make sure to mark the different pattern symbols on your piece of fabric, including the apex of the ‘y’ shape that goes at the side away from the edge of the front panel.
Pin it down right sides together, making sure it’s straight and the cutting line is perpendicular to the top edge of the front panel. following the directions to connect the circles, making a ‘u’ around the ‘y’.
To make that lovely sentence clearly, check out the image above. The thinner blue lines are the cutting guide, while the thicker red lines are where I stitched.
It’s really important you stitch the facing down before making the Y cut.
As far as fray-guarding edges, we’re spoiled by sergers these days. But since the Y shape of the facing was a little weird, I decided to use the pinking shears I inherited from my great aunt to cut down the long edge. Fort he shorter ‘v’ cuts I just used straight shears because I didn’t want to cut through the stitch line.
If you’re okay with chemicals you could use the fray-stop stuff instead, but, I mean, the pinking shears were like, right there.
Okay. Now that we’ve cut the ‘y’, it’s time to flip the flaps around towards the cut and press them into place. I’ve drawn a crappy MS Paint diagram to help explain:
- This is where we start. I’ve colour coded the two halves of the facing strip we just sewed on and cut to make the following easier. The outer and larger flap is pink while the inner and narrower flaps that we’ve cut are blue. Note that the blue flaps will have two layers of fabric (the facing AND the front panel) while the pink will be only the facing.
- Flip the larger ‘pink’ flap in towards the cut and around, sandwiching the blue between the front panel the outer flap.
- Press flat, careful to make sure the stitching is the very edge of the crease
- You should end up with something like this.
- Fold the larger ‘pink’ flap of the facing around the smaller ‘blue’ one. Pin and press flat.
You might have to fiddle a bit with the corners, but they’ll be on the inside of the shirt and not visible.
When you’re done pressing, you’re ready to sew along the outside edge of the facing. At that point your shirt should look something like this:
Note! If you’re working with a natural fabric like cotton, linen or silk that enjoys being pressed, you can press your seam and sew without pinning the fabric into place. Unfortunately synthetics are less easy to work with, so keep that in mind when you start to sew.
You can see the different layers of the facing ‘sandwich’ below.
Great! Because that was officially the hardest part of this whole project. Next time we’ll be sewing the different parts of the shirt together, and learning that we have some weird armpits goin’ on.
Cat and I look forward to seeing you soon!