This is my first Fibremood Link Party and I am so excited to share the Grace Blouse pattern with you. I was immediately drawn to this blouse because of the big bow on the back, the gathered statement sleeves and the details on the cuff. I knew right away what woven fabric I wanted to use for the bodice. This embroidered flower cotton linen has been in my stash since last summer, waiting for the perfect special blouse pattern.... and the Grace Blouse was definitely it!
I was tentative when I first chose this pattern as it seemed complicated with three button cuffs with plackets and a collar with a bow, but I wanted to challenge myself and I could picture the blouse in my head and knew this fabric would be perfect. The great news is that as I started to sew I was again incredibly impressed with Fibremood and how they design their patterns and write their directions. The illustrations and directions are clear and straightforward. I had nothing to worry about.
The pattern layout is actually quite easy as there aren't that many pieces. The front bodice panel looks strange when you are cutting it out because of how the pleats are incorporated at the front shoulders but it is really a very straight forward pleat construction. If you haven't sewn pleats before simply follow the instructions and mark your pleat lines I prefer washable markers or Taylor's chalk as it gives you a nice straight line to connect, but you can use marking threads as well.
The back bodice and sleeve construction is simple. Keep in mind that the sleeve pattern piece is quite large because of the gather so you will need quite a bit of fabric. This is not a blouse to scrap-bust with.
I decided to use a white chiffon for the collar, bow and cuffs. I wanted something that was soft, sheer and very simple compared to the embroidered flowers. It was also important that I chose something with drape because the blouse itself was so structured.
Some of the more complex, but not difficult sewing techniques for this blouse included the collar construction and the sleeve placket binding. Be sure to follow the collar construction directions one step at a time. Read the directions as you complete each step separately. I know it is very easy to scan directions then just simply sew ahead. I would not recommend that strategy for the collar. The illustrations are really good. Make sure to continually keep in mind which is the right and wrong side of the fabric. If you make note of this they show you quite clearly how to construct the collar, turn it inside out and match it to the inside of the neckline. It will feel a little bit like you are sewing the collar on the wrong way, just remember that the finished seam runs along the front right side of the blouse. The cuffs are attached this way as well.
I cut out an XL blouse to that I would have room throughout the bustline. The raglan sleeve makes it easy to attach the sleeves, which I lengthened by my prerequisite 2" because I am 6 feet tall. I finished my blouse off at the high hip so that I can leave it untucked, and it doesn't feel too full. If you were to use a drapey fabric you might be able to do a front tuck, but this may interfere with the line of the pleats. I left the sizing of the bodice as is for these photos, but I will be taking in the side seams and narrowing the bodice through the waist and hips so that it has a slimmer profile and fit. This will be an easy adjustment after the fact, as the side seams are easily accessible and not complicated with pockets etc. My other adjustment was the height of the collar. I found the collar was very high and it felt a bit awkward. For this blouse I simply rolled the collar in which helped to give it extra shape. I would reduce the height of the collar to half when making it again or will keep the height the same to fold it over but I won’t add the interfacing. It will depend on the fabric I use.
It may feel a bit unnerving to cut up into the sleeve in order to create the placket, but if you cut exactly where the marking is and you keep your cut straight it works wonderfully. Again, just follow the directions and the end result will be a perfectly bound placket that you will be so proud of, especially if it is your first one!
I am really pleased with the chiffon cuff, it was easy to work with and looks quite elegant once it is attached to the sleeve. In order to place the buttons I used white marking threads for each button hole. Thread marking along with using my favourite button hole foot made three delicate button holes easy to do. I just adore the little flower buttons that I was able to find to round out the floral theme of the blouse.
I am so pleased with my Grace Blouse. It will be a staple classic part of my wardrobe and I will be able to style it with pants, skirts, jeans and shorts. It definitely is a versatile pattern and one that I can't wait to make in a more drapey light weight fabric. Im thinking patterned paisley....
Take the plunge and sew it, you won't be disappointed! The clear directions and pictures will outline everything you need to know... after all.....there is Sew Much To Design.