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Pattern Reviews> StyleArc> Brenda blouse (Brenda blouse)

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Review submitted in 2014 Fitted Blouse - Skill Level ADVANCED Contest
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Reviewed by:clothingengineer
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Posted on:3/18/14 2:06 PM
Pattern Size:Plus-Sized Regular 
Project Photo:StyleArc: Brenda blouse by clothingengineer

StyleArc: Brenda blouse by clothingengineer  StyleArc: Brenda blouse by clothingengineer  
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 26 people   
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Fabric:Silk Crepe  [See other projects in this fabric]
Pattern Description: This is a very fitted blouse (3/4" ease at the bust, 1" ease at the waist) with a v-neck, gathering detail at the bust, and front and back vertical darts. The sleeves are 3/4 length with split cuffs.
I think that out of the envelope the bust of my size 8 was 35" and the waist was 28.5".

Pattern Sizing:4-30. I made a size 8, my normal size for Style Arc tops and dresses.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?The pattern drawing and illustration are very accurate with regard to both style AND fit.

Were the instructions easy to follow?I didn't use them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes: A very, very flattering cut and style for pear shaped women such as myself. For once I didn't have to take inches out of the back waist area. Even though the fit is very trim I don't find it uncomfortable to wear. It is perfect for tucking into a circle skirt because the ease is so minimal, so you don't have a ton of pleats or blousing. Even though the fit is very lean I still had just as much movement in it as I do with other blouse patterns that technically have more ease. Unlike Vogue 8747 I had no gaping at the neckline.

Dislikes: I didn't dislike anything about it, but I did have to put more effort into the fit vs other Style Arc patterns I've tried. It is entirely due to the minimal ease though.

Fabric Used:Silk crepe de chine (Gorgeous Fabrics). I recommend using fabrics that have a bit of limpness to them.

I used the lightweight Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply for my interfacing. The buttons are some matte deep purple shirt buttons I found in my stash. I think they help enhance the berry shade of the fabric.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
This blouse was an exercise in fitting. I very carefully measured the pattern and made a muslin of this blouse because I heard lots of people say that it ran small, especially through the waist. I was actually a bit excited when I heard that because I am constantly taking shirts in at the waist.

My fitting adjustments were:

  • 3/8" broad back adjustment

  • Added 3/4" width to the sleeves

  • Lengthened the body 1" just above the waist

  • Removed 3/4" width from the upper chest

  • Lengthened the sleeves 1/2"

  • Added 2" width to the hips at the hemline


Those are normal-for-me Style Arc fitting alterations. I did not need to add any extra to the bust, despite the close fit. The gathers in the front add a surprising amount of room, though if you are above a B cup you should consider doing a FBA.

There were a few more issues to fix that mostly fell under the "sometimes but not always necessary for fitted Style Arc blouses" category:

  • Added an additional 1" width to the back only at the hip (it was pulling across my butt and causing it to ride up in the back).

  • Added 1/2" width to the front only across the waist. I expected to have to do this because while my waist is a perfect size 8 I need more width in the front than the back. (My ribcage is slightly flared in the front and I have a very lean back.) I didn't bother taking it out at the back because 1/2" of extra ease is a small amount for a pattern that uses lightweight fabrics.

  • Added an additional 1" to the front from just below the waist to just below the high hip. I didn't bother taking out the amount I added from the back because when it comes to a lightweight fabric like this a little bit of extra ease is a good thing.

  • I found I had weird diagonal pull lines in the back from just below the shoulder blade to the waist. I almost considered posting a photo and asking for feedback. But that's taking the easy way out and doesn't help me enhance my problem-solving skills, so I persisted. After looking at it for a bit I decided the problem was that the back was too shaped at the sides and not shaped enough at the dart. So I basically straightened out the back side seam curve, and took out the width I added to the side seam by increasing the size of the back darts.

  • Rotated the front dart to be 1/2" closer to the center front. My bust is slightly closer-set than most patterns draft for so this is a common adjustment when I make something with vertical darts in the front.

  • I also added a 1" dart to the back shoulder, a normal-for-me Style Arc alteration when I'm making something with a very fitted woven bodice. (I have prominent shoulder blades and this prevents gaping at the back armhole.) To facilitate this I moved the shoulder seam back 1.25" so it would be in the normal shoulder position and not set forward as designed.


I feel like the sleeves on this are a bit long. I will shorten them 1" for next time.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?I will definitely sew this again. I think I perfected the fit and all I would need to do is adjust the sleeve length length for whatever season it is.

I would definitely recommend it to other slim pear shaped women and probably hourglass women. It really is drafted for people with a more defined waistline. I find most blouses are not shaped enough at the waist and this one was almost too shaped!

I think it might work for rectangles and apples if they leave out the waist darts. Plus size women should consider going up at least one size. Actually I would say anyone that doesn't have a more delicate build to their upper body should consider going up a size and/or using a fabric with a bit of stretch to it.

Conclusion: For even more details you can view the full write-up on my blog.

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32 Comments      Login to Add a Comment
runlexlou said...
What a beautiful color this is on you. And well done on the construction--it looks very professional!
3/18/14 2:27 PM
MrsCharisma said...
Such a perfect fitting and perfectly sewn shirt! Love the color too!!!
3/18/14 4:55 PM
Quickie said...
Beautiful colour , nice shirt
3/18/14 6:12 PM
Jrhee said...
Lovely and perfect!
3/18/14 6:12 PM
RMJ said...
Beautiful fit and fabric.
3/18/14 7:13 PM
LlanoGirl said...
This is gorgeous, Anne, and the fit is spot on. I am VERY interested in this pattern because we share similar fitting issues. I am saving it to my Stylearc wish list!
3/18/14 7:28 PM
threaddy said...
Style and color are lovely. your details on the sewing/fitting are fantastic!!! Very thorough and much appreciated review.
3/18/14 7:54 PM
Sharonspils said...
Your blouse fits you perfectly and the fabric is divine!
3/18/14 9:59 PM
Re Becca said...
Fabulous! This color makes you absolutely glow. Your fit is just perfection!
3/18/14 10:40 PM
Pj3g said...
Gorgeous! Looks beautiful on you!
3/18/14 10:41 PM
Annie P said...
Gorgeous! Fits beautifully. Fabulous colour.
3/19/14 0:45 AM
supizoo said...
Thank you for the very helpful review.I had a few light-bulb moments whilst reading your review and think I may have similar fitting issues.
3/19/14 1:41 AM
annem54 said...
Beautiful blouse, colour, style and fit. Excellent review, thank you. I will consider this pattern. I too have similar fit issues but am a much bigger size so would follow your advice to go up a size (Stylearc patterns are single sized?)
3/19/14 4:45 AM
Danvillegirl said...
Very pretty blouse!
3/19/14 5:32 AM
jannw said...
Very pretty blouse! The color is perfect for you! Well done!
3/19/14 8:33 AM
kjcaron said...
It is a beautiful blouse!
3/19/14 9:16 AM
Levone said...
Gorgeous shirt and excellent review!
3/19/14 9:22 AM
marjieco said...
Stunning, beautiful fit and fabric. It looks fantastic on you.
3/19/14 3:56 PM
Jstarr4250 said...
Lots of great information in your review and a beautiful blouse. Love the color, too.
3/19/14 8:13 PM
with love Heidi said...
The comment about always taking in the waist totally rung true. It's encouraging to know that this pattern dose not have that issue.
3/20/14 5:13 AM
Lynmarie said...
Just beautiful !
3/20/14 7:27 AM
susiehamlin said...
What a beautiful color! You clearly have a handle on what works for your body and how to make the pattern work for you. I need to get going on mine - thanks for the motivation!
3/22/14 12:33 PM
Rpilver said...
Wow, I am so impressed with your fitting expertise. Gorgeous!
3/22/14 6:27 PM
velosewer said...
Now that's what I call a well-fitted blouse.
3/22/14 7:47 PM
sewcrazee said...
Great job..the fit is so good
3/23/14 9:31 AM
wildberrymom said...
Beautiful shirt, beautifully done!
3/28/14 1:59 PM
Erin Sooit said...
That is a beautiful shirt, a really pretty color on you! Every time I read one of your reviews, I want to get the Style Arc pattern you have used!
3/31/14 11:20 PM
Baja Susana said...
Beautiful color, beautiful fit, overall a lovely blouse.
4/1/14 2:52 PM
jenleeC said...
Gorgeous blouse!
4/3/14 9:14 PM
Arted said...
Gorgeous!
4/4/14 4:50 PM
Margaret said...
Very pretty color, and wonderful fit! Looks great on you!
4/6/14 1:54 PM
Jayne5 said...
What is the pattern for this blouse?
7/19/14 9:56 PM
 
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