Today was a gorgeous day so you get lots of photos!
The Style Arc Katherine blouse is a 3/4 sleeve peasant blouse with raglan sleeves, a long, shaped hem, and front half placket. The gathered neckline is set into an interfaced neck band. The sleeves are very full and are gathered into cuffs. I found the bias bound vent and buttoned cuff unnecessary because my arms easily slip through when it is buttoned, so if you want to save yourself time you could just omit the button and vent and just do a regular cuff without an opening.
My fitting adjustments were:
- Lengthened between bust and waist 1.25″
- Added 1/2″ width to the cuff/bottom of the sleeve
- 3/8″ length and 3/4″ width broad back adjustment
- Added 3″ to the hip
The fabric I used was an 8 year old piece of silk georgette. This is one of the oldest fabrics in my stash! I had only been sewing for about a year when it was gifted to my from my brother. At the time he was living in China for 6 months out of the year for business. He told me there were these huge silk markets not far from where he was—we’re talking several acres in size—so he offered to go buy some silk for me and my mom. He took a few women from the factory with him to get an expert feminine opinion on style and quality. He was really uncertain about this particular fabric being appropriate for his little sister because it was “see-through” but the women he was with “claimed otherwise”. I remember when I was examining it he was completely confused as to “why anyone would go around in a see-through blouse”. (What else would you expect from a mid-30s male engineer?)
I used the couture Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply for my placket/cuff/neck band interfacing. (I realized I should have block fused when I was at the ironing board trying to line up the neck band interfacing with the silk.) I sewed most of the blouse using Gutermann Mara 120 thread, but when it came to the buttonholes I used TIRE silk thread. The buttons are pale yellow sport shirt buttons from Cleaner’s Supply.
To stabilize the silk I used the gelatin method. When it came to the hem and topstitching the neck band I used wash-away stabilizer. It made my life so much easier! For the neck band I placed the stabilizer on top of the right side of the fabric, stitched 3/8″ from the edge, then folded it under and topstitched in place. When it came to the hem I placed the stabilizer on top of the right side of the fabric, stitched 3/16″ away from the edge, trimmed as close as possible to the fabric, then folded it to the wrong side of the fabric and stitched close to the fold. It gives a nice crisp edge which doesn’t sink into your machine and you can just soak the finished garment to remove the stabilizer. I used regular thread to sew the first line of stitching but I’m waiting on some water soluble thread to arrive so I can get an even more lightweight hem.
What I like about this blouse:
- It is perfect for sheers, especially printed sheers. I think it was the perfect pattern for this large print silk georgette.
- I love both the depth and width of the neckline. The neckline is wide but not too wide (my bra straps don’t show).
- I was concerned that my torso would be lost in billowing silk but the fullness of this blouse is mostly in the sleeves rather than the body. It has a more sophisticated look than your average peasant blouse.
- The length makes it easy to tuck as well as wear untucked.
- Beautiful style!
What I don’t like:
- The sleeves are very full. Definitely more full than the envelope indicates. I know it works for me style wise because it helps balance a pear shaped figure, etc but it is just a little bit too much drama for my normal style. It also makes the blouse difficult to layer. The cuff is loose so when you put on anything with a sleeve it causes the sleeve to get pushed up. In chilly weather you would probably need to layer with a cape or poncho.
- I would like for the cuff to hang more evenly. The sleeves need to be either lengthened at the outer cuff or shortened at the inner seam.
- I would do the neckline differently next time. Style Arc has you cut out a piece of fabric on the bias and make a “ribbon” from that. No directions were given as to what to do with it so I just tacked it to the center front with a few hand stitches. Next time I would cut two pieces on the bias, then sandwich each piece between the front and placket when topstitching in place. This would give a natural tie look and be easier to press.
For next time I’m going to play with removing some of the fullness from the sleeves. I actually like them with this big print but I know I would like something a bit more tailored on subsequent versions. I also would like to make a long sleeve version (with more tailored sleeves, of course) for layering under blazers in the winter.