Butterick 5365 Connie Crawford Blouse Design:Pattern Review

Butterick 5365 Connie Crawford Blouse: Pattern Review

Earlier I posted a listing of different pattern options for making a basic work blouse.  As a follow up I thought I would make a few of those blouses and review them.  Blouses are changing from the fitted ones that we have been wearing into a look that is more drapey and full.  As soon as the pattern companies came out with their spring catalogs I rushed to the store to check out designs that had a collar and full sleeve and were without both bust and waist darts. 

Here is a photo of the design and a link to Butterick.


First Impressions:  There are no bust or waistline darts and the pattern is not overly difficult though it does require some experience with cuffs, collars and plackets.  I was very interested in this pattern when I saw that the size range went up to size 6X.  So often plus-size sizing, even in sewing patterns, doesn’t accommodate past the mildly plump and I was pleased to see that this designer thought of larger women with some real care and compassion. 

Some Assembly Required: I used the assembly sequence detailed in “Sewing Secrets from the Fashion Industry “(Sue Huxley, Ed. @1996 Rodale Press, Inc. pages 214-217).  http://www.amazon.com/Sewing-Secrets-Fashion-Industry-Methods/dp/0875969801/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267033394&sr=8-4

  • I completed the body of the blouse but not side seams.
  • Then I began working on the sleeves.
  • I sewed the placket.
  • Next I sewed together the first three inches of the sleeve seam going from the wrist upwards. 
  • Then I attached the cuff.

I like attaching the sleeve cap to the body and then completing the construction with a final seam going from wrist to armpit then down side seams, a method often referred to the factory method.  I hate a set-in sleeve and I was able to get the best of both worlds doing the fine work of the sleeve without dragging the body of the blouse behind, and still having the ease of the factory method. 

  • After attaching my cuff to the sleeve I sewed the sleeve cap to the armscye as I always do.
  • Then I sewed the underside of the sleeve, going from the part I had already sewed at the wrist on to the armpit and down the side seam.

 Very easy.  I encourage you to take a look at that book.  This was a very clever idea that I am going to keep in mind for the future.

Fabric: I only sewed this in plain muslin as I did not choose to make this pattern up in fashion fabric.

Will I Sew it Again:  No, not for me.  Two things fell out for me.

1)      I could not get the sleeve to fit correctly.  I have some fitting issues around the armscye that sometimes make fitting difficult.  On most sewing patterns my inside collar is size 14, my sloping shoulders a size 16, and my fat arms around a 22 or 24.  I also have a little shortness and hollowness in the space from my collarbone to bustline.  At the risk of TMI I just wanted you to know what I am up against in fitting this area. I first made a muslin and when that didn’t feel right I made another muslin using the pattern alterations suggested on the instruction sheet.  That second muslin felt worse than the first!  I went on to make two more muslins and never corrected that arm fit.  I’m sure if Connie Crawford were standing in front of me she could correct it in seconds but at my current skill level (intermediate) I was unable to get it right.  

2)      Finally, all of those muslins later I came to my senses, pulled out that first muslin and assessed if this style even looked good on me.  The placement of the darts and tucks at the collar and shoulder highlighted all of the wrong things on my body type.  Even if could get the arm to fit better I was never going to look good in this shirt.  I called it quits at that point.

Advice to Others:  Despite my outcome I do think it is a good design and a good pattern.

 I had no difficulties arising from incorrect pattern markings, etc.  As with all patterns you may want to consult a sewing manual alongside the instruction sheet.  For example, the illustration for sewing the placket was a little confusing on the enclosed instruction sheet and I wish she had openly called it a continuous lapped placket so I would have known up front what she was looking for. I ended up wasting time cross-checking her illustrations against a manual.  Had I known the label I could have proceeded on since I already know how to construct that one.    

That sleeve fitting issue comes up for me intermittently and something I can’t hold against any designer.  If you are pear-shaped you may not care for this pattern as it does make your top look kind of little.  But if you are full shouldered that fact that it diminishes that area may work really well for you. 

Overall Style Grade:  A, I liked the style.  Results Grade : On me, F.  On someone else, maybe an A.

For more information:  You can look at what others had to say about the same pattern at PatternReview.com.  Here is a link to their homepage.  Just type in 5365 into the pattern search box on the left hand side directly under the Home tab.


Next Post: Thursday, March 4, 2010; Making a Mandarin Placket


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