Saturday, February 21, 2009

Finished: BWOF 08-08-129 or I Love Natural Fibers!

In a perfect world, I'd sew with only natural fibers! The last two blouses I made were of microfiber and that was like sewing MDF board. After that, sewing this 100% cotton blouse was a dream.

Pattern Description:
This blouse is tunic length and has long slide slits. It has vertical waist darts to give it a slimming silhouette.

Pattern Sizing: This blouse is one of BWOF's plus size offerings.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The main problem I have with BWOF instructions is the way they are translated. For example, substitute "fold" for "lay" in this passage and the instructions make more sense: "Fold front edges to inside of blouse at pleat fold and topstitch fold edge the marked width. Lay front edges forward again, lay pleat to one side and press." Why did the translator use "fold" at the beginning of the instruction and then change to "lay"? However, the more one uses BWOFs, the easier the the instructions are to understand.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The blouse has tucks at the sleeve cap, a design detail I haven't often seen. The original design called for mismatched decorative buttons sewn randomly within the front placket. I liked that detail, but eliminated it for no particular reason.

Fabric Used: The cotton I used was tightly woven and appropriate for cold weather. This fabric behaved so nicely while it was being sewn! It held a crisp press, fusible interfacing really stuck to it and hand sewing needles passed through easily.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: The original design had elastic cuffs. I'm not a big fan of elastic cuffs so I changed the design by adding a cuff and placket. I narrowed the sleeve because it would not be gathered into the elastic and I used pleats to manage the fullness. I drafted a rectangle for the cuff and used the placket from Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing (Coffin, 1998). I really like Coffin's method for sewing a placket. The method has lots of steps but the results are well worth it. Now that it's too late, I might have preferred a continuous placket in this blouse. Coffin's tailored placket looks best in a "man-tailored" blouse. The sleeves and the placket are a little incongruous. I made a muslin to determine the length of the cuff, but I guessed at the amount by which I narrowed the sleeves and the depth and number of pleats.

Conclusion: Normally, I sew coordinated outfits and this blouse has coordinating pants waiting to be sewn. I'm not crazy about the longer length and maybe this blouse might look better with pants other than jeans. If necessary, I'll cut off a few inches to make a more conventional length.


  1. I see what you mean about the placket. It's a bit harsh for a soft sleeve. The elastic casing would have given it more softness. I'd go with shortening it. Also, you might add some kind of embellishment to this top, it lacks something because the color is a bit plain. Thanks for giving me a new way to read those WOF instructions. I just scratch my head at the translations sometimes.

  2. Oooweee. I love the tucks. They look so nice.

  3. Elaray....a really pretty shirt!

    I agree...sewing with natural fibers is great...makes the process so much more enjoyable.

    Love the sleeve tucks!

    Just a thought: A way to make a classic sleeve placket work with a feminine silhouette, is to make it very narrow....

    Pam ~Off The Cuff~

  4. I really like this blouse. The sleeve tucks are a nice design feature.

  5. Really lovely blouse Elaray! I love the tucks at the top of the sleeve. I don't like the gathered sleeve either and think your idea of a cuff is a good one, maybe a narrower one would look more time.

  6. Love that tuck detail! The blouse looks great, and making it shorter later if you need to is smart.

  7. You did a wonderful job on this blouse. It looks great on you and I love the details. Great job converting the cuff/placket.. it looks really well done.

  8. The blouse looks wonderful and I love the tuck detail on the sleeve cap!

  9. This looks great, but why are you cropping your head off?!!