My blouse sewing continues with the Elise blouse by Rosie and Me. This is a new pattern company for me, although I have been eyeing this blouse for a while. This pattern has cap sleeve and 3/4 sleeve options, French darts at the sides and a nice shawl collar. It is available in pdf format in both English and Dutch.
The pattern comes in two size ranges, regular 34 to 44 and plus size 44-54. I went with the size 36 but I had to do a lot of modifications to make it fit (I’ll explain later.). I would recommend, though, that if you are in doubt, go up a size.
I chose this nice lilac cotton poplin with some stretch. The colour is gorgeous but unfortunately this fabric is prone to wrinkling. I was lucky to find matching buttons.
Sewing, instructions etc.
I measured the pattern before choosing the size 36. I was a bit worried about the width of the shoulders, so I decided to make a little adjustment to fix that. Then I started sewing.
After I had the shoulder and the side seams together I realised that the fit was awful. The front shoulder seam pattern piece was much wider than the back, so finally my shoulder adjustment was unnecessary. The extra length at the front shoulder pieces was due to the curvature of the armhole and the seam allowances. Anyway, this wasn’t the worst thing. I found out that the curves in my body and in the pattern did not match at all! The blouse was too large at the back and too small in the front, especially near the hem area. I had to pull to get the front edges together. Of course, if I did this I got horrible pulling creases. There was no way I could save that blouse.
I went back to the fabric store to buy 80 cm extra to make a new bodice for the blouse, determined to conquer this pattern!
This Melville blouse I made a while ago had the similar kind of fit, so I was able to use it as a base for adjustments. I put the Elise blouse pattern on top of the Melville front and drew the line than corresponded to the bottom of the French dart. Then I extended the Melville bust dart and the French dart until they met at the bust point and used that point as a guide. I cut the French dart open until the bust point and closed the bust dart of the Elise blouse. This way I transferred the French dart to the better fitting pattern. Then I cut the Elise pattern open diagonally from the hem to the shoulder and adjusted the width to match my Melville blouse. Then I drew the new pattern that now had more room for my tummy and my waist.
I did something similar to the back piece. My Melville has two darts and the only shaping Elise blouse has is in its center back seam. I did adjust the seam slightly but I also straightened the waist curve a bit.
I did not want to ruin any more fabric so I cut a toile out of cheap cotton. This was a good idea. I had to adjust the French dart that was a bit too narrow in the middle. I also had to widen the front piece at the center front hem, adjust the side seams and take some extra fabric out of the center back. Finally I had a pattern that fit! I redrew the pattern and made a new pattern also for the front facing.
The second time around the sewing was a bit easier. I also had a collar ready that I had already finished so I was quickly at the stage where I had stopped the first time. The sleeves were easy to make and fitted the armholes nicely. The cuffs were a nice detail but there were no sleeve vents to worry about!
The finished Elise blouse
It took about a full day of sewing and then I had this blouse ready. What do you think?
I am happy with the width but I am a bit disappointed to find out that the neck line comes a bit too low for me to wear it without a top underneath. It barely covers my bra and that is if I don’t move at all. I think this kind of neckline would suit a blazer a bit better. However, after thinking this I can see how I could use this in the summer as a light alternative to a blazer.
That being said the collar sits very nicely. I was a bit worried since after having some bad experiences with fusible interfacings lately I switched the interfacing from the top collar piece to the bottom collar piece. This luckily didn’t have any effect on the draping of the collar.
On a whim, I made a matching hairband out of the remaining fabric. I cut a strip, doubled it up and sewed it into a long tube. After I turned and ironed the tube I turned the seam allowances in at the ends and sewed two short pieces of elastic between the ends to close the hairband and to add some elasticity. I also made my daughter a similar hairband.
With curls and flowers in my hair I look a bit too cute for my age. Can a woman of 35 still pull this off without looking ridiculous? I did get some looks when I popped out for some errands. Well… who cares! It’s not like I have energy to do this every day!
I hope you enjoyed this post and do like and subscribe if you want to get reminded when the next post appears! Happy sewing!