Sewing: The Sew Over It Ella Blouse

I haven't shared any sewing around here for ages, I usually just post it on Instagram

I love Sew Over It patterns, I've made several, and have a couple more still waiting for the right fabric and inspiration. This year they've opened a PDF club, where for a small fee you get early access to new PDF-only patterns a week before they go on general release, and a bit of a discount. To be honest, the patterns so far this year haven't really been my sort of thing, but then the April email arrived and gave me a big smile.

 Screenshot of pattern cover page

Screenshot of pattern cover page

 

Previously available if you attended a workshop at one of the London shops, the Ella wrap blouse is really right up my street. I love the shape, cinched in at the waist, three-quarter length sleeves, perfect for cool floaty fabrics, and only four pattern pieces and no zips or buttonholes required! What could be more perfect for a nice quick project? Or so I thought.

OK, that sounds a bit ominous, it wasn't as bad as all that, but I did have to make a couple of alterations that added to the time it took to make this blouse.

First - the fabric. I got this GORGEOUS viscose from Sew Over It's Clapham shop a while ago - it was the roll end and I'd seen Lisa Comfort had made a blouse out of it, and I had an idea for something similar, but it turned out there wasn't quite enough for that. However, there was enough for the Ella blouse.

 Screenshot of pattern information

Screenshot of pattern information

I quite like PDF patterns - you just print it out at home and stick all the pieces together. Yes, there's a fair bit of paper wastage, but printer paper is much sturdier than normal pattern tissue, so these will stand up better to some repeated use. I always look at the finished garment measurements to pick my size as I usually have a pretty good idea of the amount of ease I want, and how the garment is supposed to fit. For this one I picked the size 12.

It was all going swimmingly, the instructions are nice and clear, and the steps all fairly straightforward - probably the trickiest part of this pattern is the pleats on the front pieces and attaching the ties. I usually have no trouble with Sew Over It patterns and don't need to make any adjustments. However, when I tried this on at the nearly-finished stage it's REALLY short in the body! And I'm not tall by any stretch of the imagination, and I know the blouse is supposed to sit at the waist, but seriously, this was heading into midriff-baring territory.

Having got that far with the construction, and not wanting to waste the beautiful fabric I decided to make an extra panel to lengthen the body - I just measured the length of the hem and added about 5 inches depth, brought out the sides a bit to allow for hip width, hemmed it all the way round, and attached it at the original hem with a double line of top stitching. As the waist ties will wrap around over this, it doesn't end up showing too much.

Adding the extra panel meant I now needed to open up a gap in the side seam for the waist ties to pass through, but that was a quick and easy job, again just top stitching round to secure it.

Much better!

It was a bit frustrating, and I don't know if anyone else has had a similar problem (if you've made this blouse and found it short please let me know!), but not an insurmountable one. It's definitely a blouse I'd like to make again, so I can either add the extra length to the original pattern pieces, or I thought I might try making a couple of sizes bigger to see if that helps. I'm fairly generous in the bust department so wonder if a couple of sizes bigger might also give a more secure wrap so that I don't need to wear a vest top underneath for modesty. Sewing friends - your thoughts on this? The other option is an FBA (full bust adjestment) which I've not attempted before...

So overall, I LOVE this blouse, especially in this fabric, and it definitely works for my style. The alterations weren't the end of the world and I'll definitely plan to make some more and will keep an eye out for different fabrics - I wonder if it would work in a jersey? 

 Outtake - still getting the hang of using my phone as a remote control for my big camera!

Outtake - still getting the hang of using my phone as a remote control for my big camera!