Sewing the Pendrell Blouse by Sewaholic
It seems like Spring might just actually be here and I need something to wear! I have been so used to fumbling around in the dark to grab ANOTHER jumper each morning that I hadn't actually thought about what I might wear if the sun finally made an appearance. Well apparently there is a distinct shortage on the short sleeved top front. In other words the perfect excuse to make another item on my #makenine list - the Pendrell blouse by Sewaholic. I made it in our gorgeously pretty and drapey new viscose fabric and I love it!
Sizing and Adjustments
I had originally planned to make view B, the ruffled sleeve version. However, the fabric is so pretty and feminine I thought the structure of the pleated sleeves (view A) would work better and balance things out.
I cut a size 8, which was pretty much bang on my measurements apart from the hips. Sewaholic patterns are designed with a pear shape in mind so the hips are always proportionally larger than the rest of the measurements. It is easy enough to rectify if you aren't pear shaped by grading the pattern. In the case of this top I thought I could just take the side seams in if necessary. I had to take the side seams in 1/2" from the armhole tapering back to the standard seamline about 8" down.
I also made my usual high round back adjustment. At first I wasn't sure how to approach this due to the princess seam. I spoke to Angela and she advised me to lie the side back and back pattern pieces next to each other and match the notches. Next I eased in the pattern piece in as I would with the fabric. When I slashed the back piece I carried it across at the relevant point on the side back piece. When I added the tissue in to fill the gap I made sure it tapered across the two pattern pieces consistently.
I completely forgot to check whether I needed to move the shoulder seams forward before cutting out the fabric. I always need to move them forward so I used the seam allowances to move the seam forward 1/4". This left me with a 3/8" seam on the back piece, which was ample.
The final adjustment I made was to cut a whopping 4 and 1/2" off the hem! I am 5' 6", so not particularly petite, and the blouse seemed incredibly long. Even cutting the 4 and 1/2" off I still have the option to tuck the blouse in and am very happy with the final fit.
This was such a fun pattern to make! Firstly there are detailed sew along tutorials on the Sewaholic website for each and every stage. If something isn't quite making sense you can refer to them for clarification. Having said that, the instructions included with the pattern are excellent. This is the third Sewaholic pattern I've made (I also made the Rae skirt and the Saltspring dress) and I've always been impressed with the instructions.
Secondly - the sleeves. I LOVE the sleeves and they were so fun to make. The pattern piece is one of the weirdest pattern pieces I've ever seen. I just couldn't work out how it was going to make a sleeve and automatically assumed it would be a complicated procedure.
However, I am pleased to report this was the most fun part of the making. First you fold the fabric wrong sides together. The folded edge forms the bottom of the sleeve. No finishing necessary - yes! Then you create the pleats on the opposite side, which is sewn into the princess seam. I mean how clever is that? The most fun and easy sleeves I've ever sewn and they look so pretty too.
The multiple layers of fabric created a lot of bulk where the sleeves were inserted into the princess seam. The instructions didn't suggest trimming or grading the seams, but I trimmed the pleat seam allowances to remove some of the bulk.
Armhole and Neckline Binding
The armholes and neckline are finished with a binding that you turn inside the blouse and topstitch in place. In other words the binding isn't visible from the right side. It gives a lovely neat finish, although I did struggle to keep an even amount of binding on the inside. I think this was due to the nature of the super drapey viscose fabric I used moving around a bit.
I found that using my 1/4" foot helped with this when I was working with narrow widths of fabric because more of the foot had contact with the fabric than if I used a standard foot. However, it didn't eradicate the problem completely.
Everything made sense and came together really well. It didn't take long at all to whip this little beauty up.
I'm really pleased with how this blouse turned out. It was very quick, easy and fun to make and I know I will wear it all the time. It is simple and understated enough to wear every day, but has some fun little details for an interesting twist. I'd definitely make it again, perhaps trying the ruffle sleeve version next time in a plain fabric such as our Prestige crepe in ivory.
Have fun sewing!
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