I was unimpressed when first seeing this pattern. It was,I thought, another shirt collar with stand. I dislike that type of collar. I never wear it completely buttoned up or as a button down. But closer inspection revealed that this was one-piece collar stand attached/included. Some people don’t like this type collar, with good reason. The seam between stand and collar adds significant support and shaping around the neck. A one piece collar can never create exactly the same effect. Otto calls it an easy collar. I happen to like it specifically because of that lack of support. Collars that sit close to my neck tend to irritate my skin causing me day long discomfort and usually a welt by the end of the day.
I intended this to be wearable. My fabric is a soft cotton. I didn’t do a burn test so I can’t be sure but I think there must be a tiny bit of poly or something to help with the wrinkles. I don’t remember when or where I purchased this fabric, so I’m counting it as an old fabric yet I’m pretty sure it was added to the stash in the last 2 years.
Unfortunately it’s not the recommended type fabric. Otto calls for a stretch-poplin. My stretch woven fabrics are all pant weight. I had a choice between knits of various stretch (but all more than stretch poplin) or woven fabrics. I was really curious about the collar and the sewing method Otto recommended so I decided to use this soft woven fabric. OK I knew it would be too tight if cut at my usual size. So I took a few minutes and compared with the Vintage Blouse pattern. To my astonishment the shoulders and neck were the same dimensions but the body would need to be one size larger. So I traced size 38 shoulder/neck and 48 body. After tracing I made my 1″ BWL and added 1″ ease to the sleeve. Then because I prefer a real hem of 1 or more inches, I added 1″ to the bottom.
And I think that was the last thing I did right. I stitched the shoulders together; added the bands to the front and began working on the collar. At one point I realized I was gathering, not easing but making little tucks of fabric to gather the neckline to the collar. I had stay stitched the neckline but checked against the pattern to determine that the neckline had not stretched. I pinned front, back and front band pattern pieces together and then tried to pin the collar to the neckline. It was 3/8″ short. Somehow I had traced the smallest collar. I’m assuming it was my error. I’ve not found a drafting error with any other Otto pattern but I didn’t compare the collar pattern with the master pattern. I know that Otto is not Vogue, McCalls or the others who rush patterns through to production and sales. It is most likely that I traced the wrong size and I accept the blame.
I also accept the blame for installing the collar upside down. Yes my undercollar on top. Not discovered until I had nailed the collar in place with tiny 1.5MM stitches. I’d already cut the collar twice, sewn the seam 3 times (ripped only twice). It looked good. It was done, IMO. The collar instructions were clear and the method was not bad. It was easier than a separate collar and stand but this is not as easy as adding a bias binding or facing.
I serged the sleeves into the armscyes and basted the side seams for my first tryon. The side seams wouldn’t baste together evenly. The sleeves were fine but the side front and side back didn’t match. Back to the pattern pieces to discover that I had added 1″ hem allowance to the front but not the back. I could adapt by either using a narrow turned hem or a facing.
But then I discovered a real horror.
The bust gathers are offset instead of opposite of each other. I had used the serger to gather the front to the front band. The gathers themselves were nicely even. I had marked and matched the gathering dots on both blouse and band. I had serged up to the first dot; changed to differential feed; serged to the second dot; reset the differential and serged the remainder. The difference is that on one side I started serging at the neckline and on the other side I started serging at the hem line.
I stared at it for sometime and then hung the blouse on Mimie for further consideration. My iron had broken and I couldn’t do any sewing for a few days. New Years Eve day I finally had a new iron. I caught up on the ironing and cleaned up the room and decided to start the New Year with all new projects. I decided to complete this blouse up to fitting. It is a muslin but I know that I have made the correct adjustments to use with a non-stretch fabric. I’ve also corrected all the tracing errors. The blouse fits well from top to bottom, neck, sleeves, etc etc. Even the proportions are nice for me.
As a muslin it is successful, almost wearable. The open collar is how I will wear the “real” version of this pattern.
For those of you who like a firmer more supportive collar I do know there are things you can do that will make the collar almost perfect (besides inserting it right side up). The collar can be firmed up by adding a 2nd layer of interfacing in the collar band area. A moon shaped piece is best. Reinforcing by stitching a moon shape in the band area also helps. Doing both helps even more.