Category Archives: 2007/5-01 Vintage Blouse

Vintage Blouse Fitting Evaluation

Last but certainly not least, how well does the Vintage Blouse fit me?

The fit is hard to judge because of this microfiber fabric and the weather.  Not only are we enjoying unprecedented cold temperatures we’re also enduring high static levels. But it is what it is, so lets take a look at the back

I can assure you that is velcro butt not a sway back. The microfiber though slick and silky to the hand has a slight nap. Added to the static of the season and the blouse is clinging and creating many more folds and lines than any other smaller version of the pattern. I carefully checked the ease during fitting.  After the previous version, I added a scant 1/4″ to the center back and the collar’s center back.  I like that this blouse fits smoothly across the shoulders and upper back. I rather think the back fits that the true issue is static cling.  I will not be making changes to the back pattern piece.

However, I think the front is going to need some adjustments.

It’s not just static cling at work here. The issues are even more apparent when viewed from the side.

The blouse is developing the same swag like draping under the armscye that I objected to in Otto’s Perfect Blouse. I was unable to remove the wrinkles of that blouse and therefore never wore it. Because in winter I usually wear a 3rd layer (vest) this blouse will get worn. The 3rd layer gives me the extra bit of warmth that I need and cover up most of the fit problems.

This will also give me time to observe the blouse and think about what is causing the drape.  The shoulders and high chest fit smoothly and comfortably. On the front, I use the horizontal bust dart but not the vertical waist dart. I don’t have a visible waist in front. I could stitch a pintuck and call it a faux dart but it wouldn’t be contributing to fit.

I’m a believer in fixing the obvious so…

While I seem to have enough ease around my tummy, the front is not long enough. I need to add length at the center front. I guessing 3/4″. The rising hem is pretty obvious; also the flaring forward. But I’m not sure why it’s flaring forward.  I’ll check the side seam and make sure that from hip to hem to vertical and not angled. I didn’t take a picture of the side seam so I can’t tell if it is leaning or if the pulls originate at the seam line. It could be that I need to add to the seam line. The blouse definitely seems to have more front than back whilst I know I am more back than front.

From the side it almost looks as if a larger bust dart is needed. If I take up more in the dart (which is already 1″ deep) I’ll need to add more length to the side seam.

Fortunately, because it’s winter, any blouses I make will be wearable. I can take my time tweaking blouse after blouse, until I get it right.

For the next version:

  1. Add 3/4″ length to center front
  2. Ensure side seam from hip to hem is vertical.
  3.  Measure at hip level. Back should be larger

Vintage Blouse – Finishing

The beading? Well I cheated. I used E6000  and glued those suckers in place. BTW, I get nothing from the ads to which I link. None of my blogs are monetized.  I linked to the 10 pack because I like to buy those little tubes.  I tend to use a tube two or three times before it solidifies forcing me to open another.  The little tubes are more economical for me. They don’t go bad, as long the tube hasn’t been punctured. A big tube, is a big waste of $$$ for me because it goes bad long before I use even a quarter of the contents.  YMMV.

I chose to add the beading because of the planned buttons.

These 1/2″ buttons look like beads themselves.  Not sure how long they’ve been in my stash. They look like dolls buttons instead of adult buttons. But were perfect combined with the embroidery and beading:

As I worked with the microfiber fabric, I felt like it demanded to be treated as better than cheap crap.  Since it was a 4 yard cut, I’m pretty sure it was cheap Walmart stuff.  Initially I planned to make pants, summer pants. But matching fabric for a top never made its way into the stash. Besides, I’m pretty sure microfiber is not all that cooling for summer wear. As a fall/winter blouse, this fabric is wonderful. It is smooth; deliciously silky and I began to think better of it.  I had planned to finish the back neck with machine stitched binding.  When it came time, I cut a bias binding, stitched to the neckline, turned and hand stitched into place.

Perfect! Likewise, the cover stitched hem was changed to a blind stitch.

I have no ESP. None. But I believe that when the “garment” starts speaking to me I should probably follow its suggestions. These changes amped up what could have been a cheap looking garment into something in which I  have pride.

One last construction step that I hesitated about to the very end.  I had  decided not to use the cuffs in the pattern or hem the sleeve as in the other pattern versions. I’ve found that I can make small changes to a pattern to make it look like a completely new or at least different animal from the versions I’ve made previously.  I decided upon an elastic cuff. I lengthened the sleeve pattern by 3″. Clean serged the sleeve’s hem edge and turned that up 1.5″.  I stitched 1.5″ from the folded edge around most of the hem before inserting my 1″ elastic. (My elastic was 10″ long before joining.) I joined the elastic in a circle and then finished stitching the channel 1.5″ from the folded edge.  This procedure was a bit fiddly.  I’m not sure I’d want to do it exactly the same way a second time. I read The Fabric Incubators instructions for installing elastic. In her example, she using a longer length and a narrower width elastic. While that seemed to work well for her example, I’m not sure it would be easier for this  shorter and wider elastic.  I’ll have to try it some time.  I’m open to other suggestions, but I must say, I like the finished  look of both my “cuffs” and hem.

Vintage Blouse – Embellish Considerations

I had intended to eliminate the collar and fold the revers back like so: (left side)

which looked incredibly poor.

First off, it covered the embroidery and beading. I’ve wanted to use this embroidery design for years, years I tell you.

It was a free design from a now defunct site.  I loved the swirls and light lines of embroidery.  It is a large design. I simply could not divide it up for my 4×4 hoop.  Doing so would have require difficult realignments and lots of trims for jump stitches. I sincerely doubted I could do justice to the design and left it for the future. I tried again with my 5×7 Janome hoop. While the design could successfully be divided, it would require several hoopings. Lots of stabilizers would be required of which only a small portion would actually be used. The rest of the stabilizer would be needed to fill the hoop and eventually the trash can. Can you say $$$ down the drain? Now, with the PE770’s MultiHoop, was the perfect time to use this lovely design.  I hooped the fabric and stabilizers only once. The design was divided into 3 sections


All 3 designs were stitched with same color thread, forming the  beautiful  total design seen above.   The design is mirrored and stitched on the other side. Two hoopings total.  Little waste in the way of stabilizers. (I use both stabilizer beneath the blouse fabric and a WSS topper.)

The other problem with the collar, was the microfiber fabric. It did not want to turn and lay flat along the revers.  After a few burnt fingers and many adults-only words, I opted to trim the revers and create a V neckline.

The beading? Well I cheated. I used E6000  and glued those suckers in place. BTW, I get nothing from the ads to which I link. None of my blogs are monetized.  I linked to the 10 pack because I like to buy those little tubes.  I tend to use a tube two or three times before it solidifies and I need to open another.  The little tubes are more economical for me. They don’t go bad, as long the tube hasn’t been punctured. A big tube, is a big waste of $$$ for me. YMMV.

Vintage Blouse- Fabric Considerations

I decided to make a test garment with the pattern (otto 5/2007 #1) as currently altered.

My fabric is a microfiber twill that was on its way to the Goodwill. It’s a wonderful fabric. Soft and silky in the hands and on the body. Fairly sturdy, I didn’t snag it once during construction.  It did fray. Had I been doing a lot of fitting, this fabric would have required serging all the  raw edges at the very start of the process.

The fabric was on the way to the Goodwill as a result of recent destashing.  Actually I was tired of working with browns and had decided to put together a 4-PAC in blue and another in black. As I was sorting the fabrics this little voice started saying “why are we keeping some of these”. I paid attention and had to agree.  Some of the fabrics, this one included, had sat in the stash for at least 20 years. Some were inherited from my mother, may she rest in piece, 15 years ago.  (How long had they sat in her stash?) I’m one of a strange breed that thinks things should be used or transferred to someone who will use them.  I filled nearly 2 boxes with fabrics in the category of good-but-not-likely-to-use.  Some were colors I never use (such as this blue). Some were suitable lengths for summer garments but winter fabrics (i.e. 1 yard of worsted wools).  of the two dozen fabrics filling the boxes 3 have called out asking to be made. This blue microfiber is one of the 3.

Let me add that it launders beautifully. I believe that originally I was thinking summer pants but it would be uncomfortable for summer wear. It is perfect as a winter long-sleeve blouse.

Vintage Blouse for 2014

It is really appropriate that this be my first garment of the new year.

Otto’s Vintage Blouse (5/2007 #01) is not only a beautiful blouse but  also an excellent fitting block. Ever since I first made this pattern into a garment, I’ve depended upon it to check my other woven patterns for basic fit i.e. does it have enough ease? Long enough? Shoulders the right width? Bust dart in the right position?  If the new pattern meets the standards of the Vintage Blouse, the new pattern is likely to fit. That’s not always true.  The Vintage Blouse is drafted for woven fabrics without stretch.  Add stretch and fitting requirements change. I do not therefore use this pattern with knit fabrics. (I use Otto’s Basic T 2/2006 #01).

The reason I chose to work with this pattern so quickly in the new year, is related to Goal #1 Buy Knit Sew Woven.  The fabrics which sit unused in my stash are mostly woven, non-stretch.  To start meeting my true goal, (equaling the stash between stretch and non-stretch fabrics by using up some of those non-stretch fabrics) hinges upon good fitting blouse/top and pants patterns.  The Eureka Pant has reached the point of being usable to create for both stretch and non-stretch pants.  I had noticed that the blouses I’m wearing are not fitting exactly as I would like. Is that because they’re old and have become misshapen? It’s for sure that my butt changed shaped causing me to refit pants. Do top patterns need to be refit as well?  I thought the best way to make that determination was by going back to my “ground zero”, the Vintage Blouse. Earlier in the year, I had added a bit more ease to the back.  I wasn’t sure that would completely fix the fit issues.  I knew  that before I begun churning out new blouses, I wanted to be positive. Hence the new blouse above.

Variation on the Vintage Blouse

Inspired by Burda 131 11/2012, I made this Vintage Blouse.


For details, click here.

(PS looks much better when you can see the pants and my head)

Vintage Blouse

Originally published 21 September
aka Ottobre Design Issue  5-2007, Style 1 FINISHED and ready to wear

yes I’m pleased, but finishing changes things a bit.  When serging, the final seam is slightly wider than the basted seam. While 1/8″ doesn’t seam like much,  it adds up over multiple seams and the blouse is slightly smaller. I also removed any excess seam allowances including the 1″ added to the side seams.  I like how the narrow serged seam is neatly finished and stays neat throughout the life of the garment.   I liked the length of the garment and so I finished it my serging 1″ bias tape to the bottom hem and turning up just enough of the blouse so that the bias tape will never be visible.  Then I used the blind hem foot of my Ruby to hem the bias tape to the blouse.  I lost only 3/8″ from the overall length of the blouse.

I couldn’t resist and added the crochet type lace to both the collar and cuffs.

I wanted to add lace to the center front, but after cuff and collar there remained barely 7″. I felt this blouse was special by now and decided to use some of my “special” buttons.  These don’t look like much in the photos.  In hand they look like pearls that have been biscuit-shaped and drilled. They feel like heavy glass but not.  You know how real pearls feel gritty against your teeth?  Well these are rougher than glass but not as gritty as pearls. They are cut from something with 3 layers. There is a thin white bottom layer and then most of the button is made up of the glass type center-area and on top is a mother-of-pearl shine.  They are about 3/8″ tall from bottom to top (I stitched the 10mm buttonhole length).  They are also antique buttons.  I’m sure I inherited these in my mother’s button tins. There is no way for my to know how long she had them.    DM was the recipient of everyone’s excess sewing stash and received buttons from many including her mother and aunts. They’ve been in my possession for 13 years. These buttons are unlike anything I’ve seen manufactured during my lifespan of 6+ decades. Someone looking at the blouse will not know how special these are to me because of their substance and my familial origin.

Quick look at the final fit

From straight on the front looks beautiful. I like the fit at the shoulders and agree with Ottobre that this is indeed a beautiful vintage blouse.  I’m liking the fit of the back. Yes I see the diagonal fold, but I also see me standing funny.  I  see that the shoulder and back are properly placed and smooth.  I will admit that had my arm been down, the side view would reveal the typical drag line from waist to bust. I didn’t see this line when the blouse was merely basted together and slightly larger. Umm it was also unevenly pinned together.

A few more remarks now that we can see the red line I added to denote the side seam.  I’m showing both the basted view and the finished blouse. I couldn’t see all the way up the side seam on the finished blouse. My red line appears to be tilting slightly towards the front. Because the Basted side view showed that the side seam was shifted towards the back (but fairly perpendicular), I offset the seam allowances by  1/2″  which added 1/2″ to the back side and made the front 1/2″ smaller.   While the finished hem is fairly straight, I do think that it is rising slightly in the front.

I will wear this blouse alone, under a vest or over a sleeveless top.  I won’t wear it over another sleeved garment.  The fitted sleeve will be too small to fit over T-shirt.  Why would I care?  Well there are many times, like this morning, when it’s a bit cool at the moment but will be warmer during the day.  I might want an extra layer now but remove it later. This blouse will be uncomfortable if there is a T-shirt underneath.

I was really pleased with this pattern.  I think Otto must use a basic block designed for a figure more like my own. I think I will make 2 changes to the tissue. Instead of making the blouse shorter during hemming, I’m going to add 1.25″ so my hem can be turned  instead of using bias tape.  I also think I will add 1/4″ length to the front.  I’m going to make more garments from these two issues.  When I do I want to watch and see if I use a straight 44  on the side instead of 42 at waist and bust; 44 at tummy and hip. It’s easier for me to trace only 2 sizes (size 38 shoulders and armscye) .  What I’d love is to be able to cut the fabric and sew the garment with maybe one try-on to tweak the fit. (Hey that’s what happened with this blouse!)  I don’t want to make a change which will need extra fitting effort after cutting the fabric.

Only two important questions remain (1) Will I make this again and (2) Would I recommend the pattern for another’s use?  For #2 yes, but if you are a rank beginner be sure you have a sewing mentor.  If you’ve ever sewn a blouse, you’ll find this pattern well drafted and easy to make. As for my own sewing, I expect to use this pattern again and again. This is my favorite style blouse.  I have at least one in every season’s wardrobe. It is easy to make minor changes or add details to keep the style fresh. Most importantly to me, it is the sloper I have been search for during the last few months. This is the basic block which fits well on my figure (with exceptions listed above). I will use it not only to make versions of the Vintage Blouse but also to fit other blouse/top patterns.  If my weight/shape changes, I can return to the blue print and create another sloper very easily.

Otto 5-2007-001, First Fitting

Originally published Sep 20, 2012

Yes I left you at being ready to cut.  Really there isn’t much to say about laying out my pieces on my fabric and cutting the fabric.  I’m using a 100% cotton that I’ve had for several years.  I think I bought this at Walmart, but I’m not sure.  It is a blue and white baroque print in a shade  of light blue I love.  I’d like to do a lot with this fabric and pattern, like white-collar and cuff and lace everywhere. But I want to concentrate on fit so I skipped the white-collar and cuff, but I did fetch a white crochet lace from my collection that I’m seriously thinking of using. Oh, one thing, I decided to use 1″ side seams. Adding side panels is OK, but I don’t want to do that with every new pattern I use. Since several people at SG have commented that they cut at least the first fabric with 1″ side seams, I decided I’d try that too.

I cut and fused the interfacing. I stitched the bust and the back shoulder dart. The vertical waist darts I stitched 1/8″ deep from top the bottom in the designated place.  My feeling is that I would like to be able to use those darts for shaping.  But until I know how well this fits, I’d rather leave the dart as an extra bit of ease.  I stay stitched the neck and armscye. Normally, I don’t stay stitch these areas.  I serge them together so quickly that they receive little handling.  I don’t how much handling this will get and I want to be sure not to lose the pattern shaping due to handling.  So after stay stitching, I stitched shoulder seams, side seams and sleeves with a 3mm stitch length.  Big yes, but easy to rip out when I’m ready to put in the final serging.  I pinned and pressed the front facings into position but the collar and cuffs are left untouched on the cutting table.  Then I tried on the blouse, pinning together at suspected button placements, and took my first pics.

We’ll start with the back.

I’m seeing a couple of diagonal lines starting at about the waist and pointing towards the side.  But nothing else.  I’m not sure those lines are indicating a fitting issue or just indicating that I don’t have it properly buttoned on the front.  The hem is hanging evenly.  I might want to make it longer.  I prefer a 1.25″ hem because it adds weight and helps the garment hang well.  I actually took 2 back pictures because in the first one I didn’t have time to straighten up things.

Next let’s look at the front

Er I didn’t get that pinned together right at all. But on both the front and back, there is more than enough ease for my tummy and hips. I’d like to point out that the shoulder and the shoulder/sleeve seams are hitting right about where they should be.  I’d really need to wear it all day to see if the shoulder needs to be narrowed.  Right at the moment, I’d say that the Otto  size 32 shoulder works for me.  Even though the cuffs are not attached to the sleeves, I can say that the sleeve is about the right length and has sufficient ease to feel comfortable. Oh and the armscye fit? Devine.  The side view has me puzzled:

I added a red line to the picture to show how the side seam is hanging.  Remember that the front is not pinned evenly and I am holding my arm up. Both of those actions could easily cause the distortion we see.  But I remember that both my BS and many of my previous tops all seem to have this thing of the back swinging forward. Could it be my posture?  Is this a fitting issue I need to address?

PS guess who has new glasses?

Otto 2007-05-001

Originally published 19 Sep 2012

That would be Ottobre Design issue 05-2007 Style 1.  I do hope that I’m not violating any copyrights.  But I”m excited and wish I had committed to purchasing this magazine previously.  I hope that the pics I’m sharing here will explain why I’m excited and maybe even persuade you to purchase. However, I have no affiliation beyond be an excited new customer.  Like BS, Ottobre Design publishes a picture of the finished garment.

Style 1 Ottobre Design Issue 05-2007

In fact, Otto used this blouse several times in the layout but each of the other pics didn’t illustrate the blouse very well.  So Otto published one approx 2×3″ pic of the garment on page 10.  On page 11 was a schematic of the design.  I didn’t show the schematic because it doesn’t show well. It’s good enough to see on the page with my real eyes, but the background confuses the eye when scanned. Like BS, the  Style number is given and the size range along with a brief one-paragraph description of each pattern on the page.  Unlike BS, there is no question as to what Otto  is offering you here.   Frequently I  looked at BS photos and then held my breath wondering if the garment which attracted me would be the one for which BS included a pattern. Often, I was disappointed.  I maybe judging Otto too leniently and reserve the right to change my mind when I have more than 2 issues in my hands to drool over.

Like BS, there is one summary page of all the designs within this issue.

There is also a page and a half of general instructions for choosing sizes and general sewing information.

There is about a half page devoted to each style showing the schematic and pattern pieces, suggesting fabrics, listing the notions needed for the Otto version and some fair cutting and sewing instructions. I say fair.  You are expected to know how to layout the pattern pieces on your fabric and you are expected to know general sewing instructions.  A rank beginner, would benefit from a mentor.

I’m also revising my enthusiasm when it comes to tracing the patterns.  Otto’s master pattern pages are about half the size BS uses. There are lots of lines.  At one point I pondered why there seemed to be a neckline dart on the front pattern when it was shown nowhere else. Not on the pic of the finished garment. Not on the Schematic. Not on the summary page. Not on the style instruction page.  Nowhere was this front-neckline dart. So, I didn’t trace it.  Silly me.  When I traced the back, piece #2, the dart fit perfectly and was even shown in all those other pics.  What I’m saying is, I can still confuse myself; can still find it difficult to find the right lines.

I also shot-myself in-the-foot when choosing sizing.  I started by using the sizing I had decided upon for BS #106.  I even tried comparing the pieces for 106 with Otto Style1. They didn’t match. Finally I realized, this should be no surprise.   #106 is a drop sleeve, dartless blouse.  Beyond the cut-on front facing, and  convertible collar the only similarities in draft are that both need to incorporate enough ease to wrap around my fanny.   So I took my measurements,,,,, yet again.  The difference this time was I used the other side of my measuring tape and recorded cm’s instead of inches.  Then I compared with the chart in the General Instructions. That section called Size Chart and Measuring.  Very important page. To my surprise, my bust and waist fit inside a size 42; hip and tummy almost fit a size 44.  My shoulder length, not even on the chart.  Time out to think and then decided:  12/38 is working pretty good for shoulder sizing. So I traced a size 38 neckline and shoulder, swung out to a size 40 for the armscye,  42 for bust and waist but swung out all the way to a 46  to the hip.  I’d rather take these areas in a bit than do the side panel thing again.   Unlike BS, I’m using the same sizing front and back. Much less confusing than trying to remember the front armscye is a 40 and the back 42, while the front waist is yada yada.

And with that, I was ready to cut.

Style 16 V3??

Originally published

I feel much more enthusiasm than the camera is catching!

I’m referring to this iteration of Ottobre 5-2007 Style 16 as Version 3 but really, I’m transferring the fit of V2 back to the tissue and then checking to be sure it works. I feel like this isn’t really a new version, just an affirmation of the previous. Thing is, as I’ve written repeatedly, I want this pattern.  I want a classic-jean pattern for non-stretch fabrics.  I want to know how to easily refit this pattern when I lose weight.  I may never use another Ottobre pant pattern. Why? Because the Ottobre crotch as drafted doesn’t fit my behind.  I also mention that I’m rather surprised that my 42″ butt requires a size 50/52 pattern. (Ouch-the vanity was pricked.)

For this version I traced the front size 50. Added the size 52 back inseam; added 3/4″ to the front waistband and pinched out 3/8″ just below the yoke seam on the length of the back leg. I also made my fly flap 1.5″ wide, but I did that for the other versions as well. I was unsure and debated with myself the pros and cons of which back crotch to use.  In the end, I did my best to line up TJ906 with Style 16 and trimmed the excess tissue.

I pinned both the newly cut crotch and the piece I removed to the wall before photoing so that I could show how different the final crotch is:

I’ve selected a heavy cotton velvet fabric.  It’s another fabric that I purchased thinking jacket but now realize I would have actual use if I make pants. I didn’t do a burn test, so I”m not sure this is 100% cotton.  It does have a lovely luster that suggests a bit of rayon or other synthetic.  I  chose this caramel color because it’s much easier to see  wrinkles during the photo examinations than my other options would be.

I’m not sharing pictures of the fitting.  Fitting was reduced to trying on and adjusting the waistline twice. After that it was stitching everything permanently.   During cutting I added 1/4″ to the  side seams only.  I serged the side seams then stitched at 1/2″. I also found the join at the crotch to be awkward. The back crotch needs to be reshaped slightly to produce a smooth crotch.  I’d also say that the waistband needs a little tweaking. It’s possible that I could make the jean closer fitting, at least in the leg. But you know what, I think this jean pattern is ready and officially nominated to TNT status.