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Blouse 114 from the 4.2007 issue is coming along very slowly on account of the WORST instructions ever. But I’ve managed to make it over the major hurdles, and am now at the point where I can see what the final product is going to look like.  And it is crazy. After I basted on the first ruffle, I tried it on and looked in the mirror and said thought, “WHAT!” I went out into the living room where Dan was having a Skype call with his parents and he burst into laughter. Then I basted on the remaining ruffles and it’s still crazy, but maybe (?) getting better? I have to admit, although it’s remaining consistently ridiculous, it’s starting to grow on me.  Dan’s comment: “Well, something is growing on you.” And indeed, this blouse makes me feel like one of these:

Anyway, I got the ruffles stitched on and basted one sleeve in place.  Now I’m starting to think that if this blouse is worth finishing at all, it might look better sleeveless. So I basted the seam allowance on one side inwards to see what that might look like. Here’s where we are currently:

So.  Unquestionably crazy, right?  That leaves me with two questions for you:  

1.  Good crazy or bad crazy?

2. If good crazy, better with sleeves or without?

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I can’t help but notice that since I got back from my little abduction incident weird and inexplicable things have been happening. You know, suddenly all of my left shoes are too big, the cat has been winking at me, sometimes the anchor on the evening news finishes a story with, “Did you catch all of that, Elaine?” Nothing too nerve wracking.  Until last night, that is. I was working on the Burda ruffle blouse from the 4.2007 issue, had finished a muslin and was starting to cut out of my brown striped poplin:

I used my usual trick for doing symmetrical plaid matching. But this time, it didn’t work!  I couldn’t get the stripes to match.  What! Here’s what I mean.  I cut out one sleeve from a single layer of fabric. I then flipped the sleeve piece I had cut out onto the fabric with the intention of matching up the stripes and cutting the second sleeve. But this happened:

Do you see what’s going on here?  Look at the top of the photo.  See how the stripes on the sleeve piece match up so perfectly with the underlying piece of fabric that you can barely distinguish it?  And then as you progress down the photo, the stripes get more and more unaligned? I KNOW. 

I tried moving the sleeve all over the fabric, aligning it with different stripes, including the exact same stripes from which I had cut the first sleeve (i.e. placing it right below where I had cut the first sleeve along the length of the fabric) and I could not get the stripes to match up!  Here’s a close up:

And it wasn’t just the sleeves.  I couldn’t get the bodice fronts to match, and I couldn’t get the back to be symmetrical on both sides either!  You might be thinking that there’s something about the fabric that is causing it stretch along the cut edges, but this is not the case.  After cutting, the fabric pieces are still exactly the same size as the paper pattern pieces. WTF?

Eventually I decided to give up on trying to make the blouse perfectly symmetrical. I decided better to have the stripes not match perfectly than try to ease  and force things to match and end up with one side of the blouse actually being physically larger than the other. Because the shoulder seams are fairly short, I was able to force the stripes on the bodice front shoulder to match the stripes on the back shoulder, which is where I think mismatched stripes look the worst. Otherwise I figure it won’t be too bad.  It’s a fine stripe and the stripe at least looks regular, so if there happen to be one or two more stripes on one side than the other, or the stripes are aligned exactly the same on one sleeve as the other, it’d take a lot to notice.

But seriously, how weird is that? Has this happened to anyone else? Life is becoming very odd indeed.

I’ve been waffling on what to work on next, tracing out the odd pattern and then deciding I don’t really want to work on it right now. Last night, I think I finally settled on something, the Burda 114 blouse from 4/2007, the second issue of Burda I ever bought. The photo from the magazine is kind of bad in a 1995 way:

But I think the line drawing is great- it would be a nice fun blouse for under a cardigan or jacket for work:

And I’ve got some dark brown stretch poplin with white woven pinstripes and a nice sheen in my stash that would be great for it:

This is no mere blouse, however.  This is a blouse that defeated me the first time I tried to make it.  It was one of the first real sewing projects I ever attempted, perhaps a month or two into my garment sewing hobby and I ended up abandoning it pretty quickly. At the time, the concept of a muslin was foreign to me, and after grading it down to a size 32 and cutting it out of white shirting, it became clear that the blouse was going to be a bra-displaying failure. A whole lot of things seemed like they were going to go wrong with this blouse.  And judging from Cidell’s experience, it seems like they would have gone wrong had I proceeded. (Cidell, as far as I can tell, you are the only other person in the world who has ever attempted this blouse!)

Last night I looked over it again and tried to figure out what I would need to change so that the neckline wasn’t hanging halfway down my torso.  Petite adjustment above the bustline? SBA? And then it occurred to me, DUH, MAKE THE NECKLINE HIGHER. It’s funny- I’m so used to cutting chunks and slicing slivers OUT of patterns to make them fit, it never occurs to me to actually add more paper to them. I plan on making a couple more adjustments as well based on Cidell’s experience and what I can remember from my first attempt of almost 3 years ago. 

This is going to be a first for me – actually revisiting a pattern that failed badly enough that I didn’t finish it, didn’t fiddle with it and make hacks until it was wearable. Usually if something looks like it’s going to flop completely, I decide that the pattern just isn’t for me. But I think I might be able to make this one work this time. Maybe.

How about you?  Have you ever revisited a failure pattern to make it work?  What did you do differently and how did it go?

About this blog

The Selfish Seamstress loves to design and sew garments, but only if she gets to keep them. I'm Elaine, known in the online sewing world as elainemay, and welcome to my selfish sewing blog.

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