Appleby Make’s Olive Blouse

Sam Doughtys Fabric, Pattern Review 3 Comments

Happy New year everyone. Remember me? I’ve been very naughty, and I’ve been putting off writing this blog post because this make has been a disaster and turned into a bit of a weight around my neck. This blouse (you can get the Olive blouse here) started off really promisingly. It had all the makings of a nicely fitted blouse/shirt. However, I really managed to make a pig’s ear of it and it had me seriously questioning my sewing skills.

I would just like to point out that it is my very imprecise sewing that has made me feel this way and not the pattern!

The fabric is a lovely viscose from Doughty’s Online (thankyou Doughty’s!) and it is by Creative Solutions. You can get it here. There are several colourways, but this is the black swallows on the white background. The fabric, in theory, is perfect for this pattern. The pattern has a pretty gathered back bodice which fits into a back yoke and it also has gathers coming from the front yokes. You want a fabric that is soft and drapey so it can flow across the body nicely. That bit went fine!

You can see the issue in the top photo of the blouse. It’s the neckline and button placket. This is where it all started to go wrong. The placket wobbles about in width all the way round so it’s inconsistent. I also used too heavy an interfacing so you can see it sitting proud at the top.

I also somehow managed to make one placket significantly larger than the other (they were both cut at the same time using the same pattern piece) and that’s all down to me not really handling a slippery, fluid fabric very well. Once the plackets were interfaced and sewn on, one of the plackets didn’t even reach the bottom of shirt! Talking of which, the instructions state that you hem the bottom of the shirt before you attach the placket. I thought this was unusual, but it did make sense once I got into it.

Now I made the bulk of this top back in August, but once I realised I messed it up, it went in the naughty corner and didn’t come out for a while. I had to mull over what I was going to do with it. One of the problems of my own making, was that, for some reason, and I cannot for the life me think why, but I had graded the seam AND I DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH FABRIC TO RECUT THE PLACKETS! I was a bit stuck with it, so I had to make the best of it…

…so, I started by lopping the bottom of my shirt to match the length of my dodgy short placket! I did my best to make it symmetrical, and to be fair, I pulled it off! It was a bit of a faff re-hemming the bottom, but that bit did turn out ok – although I don’t recommend it!

I wouldn’t dream of offering any hints and tips to you if you intend to make this as I don’t feel qualified to, but here is a list of things I wish I had done…

  • cut the plackets longer than the pattern piece. You can always cut to size later. The (wrong) interfacing made one of pieces shrink a little so it didn’t fit.
  • use the correct weight of interfacing (duh)!
  • cut the plackets singly rather than on the fold. It was shifty fabric, as viscose usually is, and I think that accounted for my dodgy placket cutting too.
  • draw a stitching line on the placket. I know that this is not usual practice, but I used to do it a lot and it really helps with precise and accurate sewing. Because my fabric moved about all over the place it was difficult to maintain a constant seam allowance, and you can tell! I think this would have made the biggest difference to the success of my project.
  • DON’T GRADE THE SEAM ALLOWANCE until absolutely certain that it’s right!

I have actually worn this top for a night out and nobody pointed out to me how badly it was sewn! I suppose sewists tend to notice flaws in their own work more than other people would! And let’s just forget about the badly sewn bits for a moment. The top fits me nicely and I do like the shape of it. I love the gathers and how they drape across the body. The blouse is a little low cut for my liking though. I need to wear a little cami vest underneath otherwise I’d be flashing everyone every time I bent forward a little.

I’m not sure whether I would make this again, at least not without some adjustment. I feel scarred for life from it and it is too low cut for me. However, I do like the gathers in the front and back yokes, and I like the overall fit and shape of the hem so I think some sort of future hack would be in order. One of the reasons I’m so angry with myself is that I love making shirts and I think I’ve got pretty good at them, so this should be good too. This placket/neckline was unusually shaped though (compared to a shirt) and I did struggle with it. I’m going to have a think about how I can make this more me.

If anyone has any ideas about how I can sort out the placket/neckline then please let me know! See you next time

Corrine x

The Creative Solutions Viscose that Corrine chose for her blouse is the perfect weight for the Olive Blouse and we’re quite taken with the Swallows black on pale pink below, ready for Spring. Doughty’s also stock the Dashwood Riverside rayon collection, many of which have dark backgrounds with pops of colour and a lovely drape. Find the sizing and fabric requirements for the Olive Blouse on the back envelope pattern below.

Comments 3

  1. Hello there! I really feel for you because I know that things like that happen with that draped fabric. I often have issue with collars that I interface – they often appear too small after interfacing. So I wondered if it would be a good idea to iron on the interfacing before cutting the collar/facings?
    Don’t let this bother you – have another go and beat conquer your demons,
    Best wishes
    Carole Halé

  2. What about cutting the neckline higher? Like add a bit to the top of the button placket and grade it into the neckline. Maybe 2-3 inches? Otherwise it looks like a really nice pattern to me. The back looks nice and the sleeves look like a very handy sort of length, long enough to cover up but handy for doing stuff and not dangling in the food or whatever you’re preparing. I think you could just pull the front piece of the pattern up a bit and trace out a higher neckline from there. Wish I could be more helpful, hope you get the idea.

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