Category Archives: 2012/2-02 Mock Empire

Style2,3 2/2012

When I first saw this style I thought “maternity wear”. My eyes lingered not a second more.  I do like that Otto provides a variety of maternity wear patterns. I can remember the lack of attractive clothing when I was preggars. So glad that has changed. Also with some changes to the ease, maternity wear can be flattering to the plus sized, especially if you have a tummy like my own.  But I wasn’t really interested in this style until I saw the pattern schematic.  My scanner is disconnected right now so all I can show you is the garment schematic

The pattern is 3 pieces, front back and sleeve or cap sleeve. If, someplace else, you can see the pattern schematic note that the empire line is not complete. The front and back separate 2-3 inches from the side seam and appear to drop down. what has happened is that the skirt is joined to the bodice at the side seam for about 2″ into the interior of the garment. I thought this draft quite fascinating but knew I had pattern alterations to make starting with  eliminating some of that ease.  The skirt back and front centers are intended to be placed on the fold.  I removed 2″ from each piece. I drew a line on my pattern showing where I wanted the centers to be and then I placed those lines on the fold.  Once I had removed the ease, the front didn’t quite fit on the fabric.  That was because the bodice portion contains cut-on button plackets. Easy fix, I left a 1/4″ SA on the bodice and cut and stitched separate button plackets. 

I  knew  I wanted a blouse rather than a dress.  I lazily traced section 1 and 2 and then ignored/didn’t add section 1A or 2A which would have created a longer skirt and there by dress version.

I was leery of the sleeve/cap sleeve configuration. The two garments, Style 2 and 3 are essentially the same. They use the same pattern pieces except for the sleeve. The cap sleeve is more like a sleeveless garment with a tab of fabric sticking out at the shoulder.   I know from personal experience i.e. failure, that simply leaving out the sleeve doesn’t make for a comfortable transition from sleeved to sleeveless garment. In that case the armscye is usually too low and the shoulder too wide. The reverse, adding a sleeve into a sleeveless draft, doesn’t work well either. In the reverse, the armscye become too high and tight and the sleeve restricts arm movement.  I wondered how Otto had solved the issue of putting a sleeve into a sleeveless garment. Otto cleverly gave you the choice of sleeveless, cap sleeve or puff sleeve. A puff sleeve contains the extra ease needed and usually drafted into a sleeved draft. I didn’t want a puff sleeve. I’m past the age of cutesy puff sleeves. I wanted a long or 3/4 sleeve because that’s the type weather we are enjoying in SD. My solution was to copy both the sleeve and the armscye from the Vintage Blouse .

This pattern only goes up to a size 46. I now need a size 48 to comfortably fit across my rear. I traced the 38 shoulder, 40 armscye and 46 side seam. Then I compared with the vintage blouse. Glad I did because I would have added another 1/4″ to the side seams. Comparing with the Vintage Blouse convinced me to add 5/8″. I can always take the side seams in if there is too much ease. Letting them out could be impossible.

My fabric is a light weight rayon purchased from FabricMart. This doesn’t help me meet my goal of sewing older fabrics. But I think I’ve more than covered that goal in all the pants muslins I’ve been making. I chose it primarily because it was a blouse fabric in a color I love and  haven’t used very much.  Sigh, in addition to trying to use up older fabrics, I’ve also been trying to bring the navy blues and browns under control.  This time I treated myself to new and lovely.

The blouse was fairly easy to sew. I stitched the center back seam and then eased the skirt to the back bodice. Next I applied the button plackets, buttonholes and buttons to the front.  I have to say this was awkward. There was so much fabric hanging off the table and ironing board, I was concerned about distorting the edges. I chose to finish the neckline with a bias band that is stitched, pressed up and over the SA and then top-stitched into place. The 1-1/4″ hems on both skirt and sleeves are interfaced, pressed up and then top-stitched.  I used contrasting white thread and  vintage buttons.  My buttons are some type of sea-shell with a metal shank.  They are so plain I have to tell you how special they are. You can’t buy these new anywhere. But now I’m wondering if the plain white button and white topstitching  looks more Becky-Homecky then vintage?

Now as far as fit, I think the back wrinkles should be called “velcro butt”.  Really there is more than enough ease. In fact I’m thinking that were I to use this pattern again, I would want to reduce the ease at least another 1″ on both front and back. I might have been able to follow my initial impression and add only /14″ to the seam allowances instead of the 5/8″ I actually did add.  I do see the wrinkles under the armscye. It might indicate that the armscye is not correct for this blouse. But also I note that my shoulders are rounding more–the result of both age and years in front of a computer. There is the possibilities that the garment is too wide contributing to the issue; and that a fabric with more body would have eliminated the wrinkles. I showed the back before the side, because I think you look at the side and say, “Oh if you’d put your arms down those wrinkles would go away.”

Very possible, except we saw that in the back view (with arms down) as well.

I have to tell you, I’m not particularly concerned about any of the wrinkles. For starters, I’m probably going to wear this blouse like this….

…making all the issues invisible. Also, I don’t plan to make this particular pattern again.  Struggling with the fabric weight while finishing the button plackets, holes and neckline was annoying.  While I like the end result, I think that Louise Cutting’s Ebb blouse is easier to construct because the skirt sections are separated from the bodice. I like this blouse. I think it is flattering in shape and color.  I will wear it with pride. Sewing was an interesting experience. But I’m not making anything else from this draft.