Category Archives: 2016/5-08 Drape Front Blouse

Finished! Otto 2016/5 #8 Drape Front Blouse

I could have done more fitting. I didn’t because this ITY was fabric was difficult to work with.  It acted like a nylon crepe. It was hard to keep the raw edges together for sewing. Hard to keep feeding evenly into the serger. Just a crawly, difficult to handle fabric. I’ve never had an ITY that behaved so poorly.  I don’t know if it was the extra shiny finish or the gold micro dots but I wish I’d starched the life out of it just for construction.

I realized a lot of the drapes I was seeing below the bust were really due to the shoulder. It’s the voice of experience of what works on my body.  I do think it odd that the shoulder causes the drapes near the hem, but that’s what happens to me. I used a 5/8″  SA on the left shoulder, 3/4″ on the right even though I only added 1/4″ SA to both.  The 3/4″ deep SA is my quick,  painless way of accommodating my   asymmetrical shoulders.

I added 1/2″ SA to the side seams but since it was tight across the tummy at the first fitting, I stitched the final side seams with a 1/4″ SA. Somehow, there is now too much front ease.

I also trimmed off 1.5″ of length from the center front blending that to nothing at the front side seam.  While the hem is definitely more even, the side pic above, shows I should still remove a little more.

I added a 15″ 3/8″-elastic stay across the back. Between that and the shoulder pads, I’m almost satisfied with the back view.

Almost?  The shoulders are much wider than I expected. The red arrows show where the garments shoulder points are.  The orange arrows are my shoulder pads which were placed 1″ inward.  However, the back itself is fairly smooth, maybe even a little large?  I’m guessing that the increased shoulder SA brought the waist and hip up just enough that I now have an excess of room at the waist and hip!

The cover stitch already had white thread so I hemmed with it. But I didn’t test first. Don’t remember what I cover stitched the last time, but this time the hems are standing a little proud. Well not a deal breaker.

My last complaint actually are the sleeves themselves.  They feel tight. Probably because I didn’t add a seam allowance. My bad. But if they are too tight, why all the wrinkles?

One thing I’ve learned about cowls and drapes, they rarely just fall into place. I finished the cowl with FOE which I stretched a little. I was hoping to cause tension which would pull the cowl a little inside.

Just letting it ‘hang’

Tuck inside

Had a clip handy in the sewing room:

Larger clip:

Think I need to buy a few broaches or find fancier hair clips.



Drape Front Blouse: Fitting

Cutting the fabric was easy as pie, although I opted not to cut center front or back seams. It will give me a slightly different look than the model, but I’m really more interested in how this will fit.  As Otto recommended I taped the back shoulders, then basted all the pieces together before taking pics.

My initial reaction is somewhat mixed.  I didn’t make any accommodations for my asymmetrical shoulders and therefore I see more wrinkles/drapes/pull lines beneath the right shoulder all the way to the hem on both front and back.  I also didn’t see the recommendation to use a double-sided fabric.  Something I’ll think about in the future, because the cowl inside is probably going to show. OK if that’s what you want.

I slipped shoulder pads inside and took a second set of pics. I don’t always do a good job with the pads are free-floating but they did improve the appearance of the job.  As will, I’m sure, the Spanx I will be wearing as the days get cooler->cold. The shoulders are wider than I expected.  I  thought they were extended-shoulder/drop sleeve but only slightly so more like my In-armscye cap sleeve than the 70’s bicep location. Ok I made a good story better.  These are sitting about 2″ passed my shoulder edges (See orange arrows? It was hard to find a contrasting color. Everything color wanted to blend into the background.):


At fitting,  I thought I have enough hip room, but was missing a little tummy space. .  I was right about not needing the 2″ center front length that I usually add (and was included by default when I copied the hem line from my sloper).  That’s an easy fix–just trim the 2″ and copy the change to the pattern.


2016/5 #5 Drape Front Blouse

This is the 2nd pattern I’ve copied from this issue of Ottobre Design.  It’s like I keep saying, I buy the other patterns and magazines. Get excited about design details. But Ottobre Design is the one that gets me sewing.

The Drape Front Blouse

It reminds me of the turtlenecks put out a few years ago by Burda 9/2010 #121 and Butterick 5070.  This is slightly updated. The pattern calls for center front and back seams and the turtle neck has been converted into a shorter, front cowl.  Otto says to finish  center seams and cowl with a rolled hem.  I think the pattern is an example of updating and recycling a very good design.

I traced size 48. Nothing beats success like another success and the 48  worked well for pants on me. The pattern sheet has 3 pieces but not the 3 I was expecting.  There is a sleeve (2). There is a top-half front(1) and a bottom half front (1A). Where was the back? Well you copy the front but trim off the cowl.  I wasn’t real happy with this solution. My front and back are not symmetrical. There’s very little that is symmetrical about me. But I decided to give it a go because my fabric is an ITY knit with 40% stretch. If this was a pattern for woven fabric, I’d quit right now.

I checked fit by comparing with my In-armscye cap-sleeve pattern just drafted a few weeks ago.  I’m nervous about that because it is drafted from my sleeveless sloper and this garment will have sleeves, long sleeves. I know the differences between sleeveless and sleeved. The sleeveless is fit closer to my body and the armscye is higher. Again the 40% stretch has me thinking this, using a sleeveless sloper on sleeved garment, might work.

One of the things I was concerned about is that as I grow wider, I don’t get a whole lot more length. Some yes. But it’s very little like eighths  of an inch. Also, patterns are typically drafted for the woman with is 5’5, 5’6.   While the 48 sized pant was fine hip wise, I needed to remove 3″ in length. I know that I’m also short-waisted. I’m not as long as the standard between shoulders and waist. When I compared patterns I placed my sloper on top of the newly traced pattern; aligned center fronts and slid the sloper up until the armscyes touched. I discovered that the Otto waist was 2″ lower than my sloper and that there was an extra 1″ length in the upper chest.  I folded out at both places and copied my shoulder slope.  I checked the hem. Otto has drafted a tunic length garment. I don’t care for this proportion on me.  I’ll be wearing long pants and possibly a vest, jacket or coat. The tunic length looks sloppy and unbalanced on me in that type attire.On the model the tunic is scrunched between waist and hip another look I don’t like.  I’ve spent most of my life adding width to be sure that puddling of fabric doesn’t occur. Now it’s a fashion? To continue, I shortened to my standard length.

I start to repeat the process on the front. Holy cow, it is 2″ longer from shoulder to Bust Apex and there is no bust dart. They say that anything above a B cup must add a dart.  I’m a B cup and can tell you there are lots of garments with out darts but when I wear them a dart forms. Currently, all my drafts have the bust dart.  Even the princess seam (dart is rotated to the shoulder and hem.) But it also seems to me that the extra length may have come from creating the drape front/cowl. If the bust dart was rotated to the neck to form the cowl, then there is a bust dart in front. Also I usually  need to add 2″ length to center front at the hem. I’m thinking it may not be needed because I have an extra 1″  up at the armscye. I decide my first garment will be entirely basted with water soluble thread so I can recut as needed. Then I make the same changes as the back (1- shorter through armscye, 2″ shorter above waist) and copy my hem which includes the usual extra 2″ length.  I add 5/8 for the seam allowances. My sloper includes 1/2″ seam allowances but it is 5/8″ wider — I measured.  Otto does not include seam allowances.  The difference could be my chosen seam allowance and fabric stretch factor.  Even if this fabric has 40% stretch, I’d rather trust my sloper.

I finished the front and back by truing and walking seams.

Then turned me attention to the sleeve. I aligned my sleeve sloper with the armscye.  I was not surprised that the Otto cap is shorter.  If I’m ‘reading’ the schematics right, this is an extended-shoulder/drop-sleeve garment. That’s why I chose the In-Armscye sloper.  However, length is way off. I need to remove 5″.  It’s such a large amount that I made the adjustment in two places.  I removed 3″ above the elbow about mid-arm by making a 1.5″ deep tuck.  Repeat that below the elbow but the tuck is only 1″ deep.

Whew. Lots of changes and after I baste together I made need even more.  As I cut my fabric, I hope this is not my new normal with Otto patterns.