Today I’m sharing my version of the Papercut Patterns Clover Blouse, the second most recent thing I’ve sewn. I just finished it two days ago, although I’ve actually been doing quite a lot of sewing lately, and there are some other projects I’ve yet to blog (or put finishing touches on).
I really didn’t think I would love this blouse as much as I do, but it turned out a lot better than expected. I was actually resenting it a little before the fabric was even cut, because I’d made a few weak fitting attempts a few months ago before chucking it aside. I’m so glad I decided to give it another go.
The main fabric is a viscose rayon from Dongdaemun Market in Seoul. I say that as if I know what I’m talking about, but I don’t really, I’m just guessing that’s what it is because it feels a lot like a viscose in my stash. Dongdaemun market is absolutely amazing for this type of fabric, the top floor of one of the buildings has a couple stalls with a lot of different prints, all for about US $3 a yard. I’m leaving Korea for good in a week, but I’m seriously considering heading to Dongdaemun to stock up some more– cheaper to buy it here and ship it home than to buy it on Australia!
The fabric behaved pretty well, I had heard that sewing with rayon is difficult but it seems that the things I fear most in sewing always turn out to be not that difficult after all (ahem, buttonholes.) I had to slow down, be a bit more careful, use some extra pins, but it really wasn’t that bad. It left me feeling confident about sewing with rayon (…and then my next project with rayon challis totally dashed that confidence. Rayon challis is officially on my bitch list. But that is a story for another day). The bust inset is made with aforementioned rayon challis, but those pieces are small so didn’t cause excessive grief.
In terms of construction, things didn’t go completely smoothly. Because I just can’t resist making things harder for myself (and really, because boobs), I did a full bust adjustment. This is what was behind those two unsuccessful muslins a few months ago.
Random slightly related note: why does my smartphone still correct muslins to Muslims? I feel like if it’s so smart it should have picked up that I don’t spend all my time making Muslims… Wouldn’t even know where to start.
I originally made a size XL muslin but I didn’t like the fit around the shoulders, so I used a size L with a 2″ fba (for a total of 4″ added). According to the chart, size L is for a 41 1/2″ chest and 34″ waist. I’m currently more like 47″ and 35″, but there’s a lot of ease so with the FBA there was plenty of chest room. It was the right amount to add but I had to guess at where the apex would be. I guessed wrong, and my darts ended up pointing down to imaginary tits which are far saggier than mine. At least the shoulder fit was really improved so I knew I was on the right track.
This time, I redid the FBA with a different bust point, and then split the rather chunky dart that resulted into two smaller darts. Remember what I said about making things difficult for myself? Yeah. Took a no-dart bodice and turned it into a 4-dart bodice. Typical.
When I made it up, I realized the dart tips were far too close together, causing some puffiness at the points. I extended the darts longer, and that helped. They’re still a bit long, and not as smooth as I’d like, but thanks to the print it’s not very noticeable. Next version, the dart points will be further apart! They should also probably be a bit lower, went a bit too far in moving them up.
There WAS one major drama involved in constructing this top– that infamous bust inset. I’d read online everywhere, and experienced with my muslin, that it’s too long. I thought I would just line it up from the outside in, and trim it off at the centre front– this did not work out at all. After a very frustrating hour of trying to pick tiny and nearly invisible stitches out of the rayon, and stretching it out of place, I admitted defeat and ended up re-cutting the entire front.
My advice to anyone making this top is to very carefully pin the bust inset to the other front pieces outwards starting from the centre front. Also, be careful to align along the stitch line, not the cut edges. Mark the stitch line in with a pen or chalk, or do lines of stitching as a guide if your fabric is robust enough, to help you line them up. It bugs me to no end that the inset point wasn’t trimmed off on the pattern pieces so you could simply line it up with the cut edge. (Does anyone know why some designers don’t do this– is there any advantage to it?) After your pieces are stitched together, if the inset is too long, you can simply trim it off along the shoulder edge.
Tl;dr: pin from the centre front outwards, NOT from the shoulder edge inwards, then trim the excess.
Anyways, once I’d moved past the trauma with the bust-insets, things went pretty smoothly. I didn’t follow the hemming instructions, but instead zigzagged the raw edges, ran a long of stitching 1cm from the edges as a guide, and folded it along that line and then again to totally enclose the raw edges. I think it’s neater than just turning it up once, as the instructions would have you do.
I mostly made this top as a trial to see whether the bust inset would sit too low on me to do it in lace (it doesn’t!). In the end, I love this top– I love the curved side seams, and how the rayon drapes perfectly. The top may be loose around the waist, but it’s not a tent. Rayon is really the perfect fabric for this pattern. I
‘m so happy with this top that I’ve already gone ahead and made myself another, which I finished this morning– will blog it as soon as I can get some good pics!