This is now out-of-print but I will include the link to the Vogue Patterns website as they may continue to sell it for some time.
The collar is easy as it does not have an outside seam and Betzina instructs you to baste the edges, press and pound flat as you will with tailored garments, giving a beginner a try at that technique using cotton instead of wool.
The sizing fit. Normally I detract beyond the pattern at the neckline, and add at the waistline. I cut my neckline at the smallest, the shoulder at the next up, and the side seams at the largest. I did not have to alter one-damn-thing! for this to look like a RTW shirt.
The collar is graded in keeping with RTW. For once I did not have to cut back a huge collar because the patternmaker thought my plus-sizeness meant that my face had widened at the same rate as my girth. (This is one of my biggest peeves – RTW stops at a certain size for pocket welts and collars, home sewing patterns should too. Big, wonky collars scream dorky and homemade.) I did not make one adjustment to this collar.
Some menswear detailing like topstitching back the armscye seams and turning under the rounded hemline.
The lack of an outside seam makes the collar easy to construct, but it can fold up on itself when worn. Most collars have an outside seam to give them a small curve which clings to the neck.
The blouse has an early 1990’s feel. Those of you still in your high chairs at that time might not like the design for that reason. Those of us old enough to remember 1992 with at least some fond memories will probably give it a chance since we are now old enough to have seen at least one full fashion cycle turn back on itself.
If you have never sandwiched the body of a blouse within the yokes for a machine finish- the illustrations on the instruction sheet will not help you. Consult a sewing manual or google because someone may have youtube-d this one. Seeing a video or photographs is the best way to learn this technique.
Some Assembly Required:
You actually have to read the instructions. For most of you that probably isn’t an issue, but I normally use assembly line construction methods I have gleaned from a few manuals, so following the pattern instructions step by step was atypical for me. Unless you have sewn this type of pocket before you won’t get it without a look-see at the instructions.
I also made the mistake of turning my placket under the way I am used to doing. I turned it under too far, gyping myself out of about two inches of ease and making the collar meet right on the seam edge. Again the pattern is not just like most oxfords you may have come across.
This design is good enough to make an old limp thrift store sheet look presentable. It doesn’t look swank by any means, but I have seen men’s shirts in this plain poly/cotton muslin. I am going to keep it for a summer overshirt layered over tanks.
I am going to practice the placket for the long sleeve version on some scraps. Betzina uses a menswear style placket and I am most familiar with a continuous lapped placket.
Will I Sew it Again:
I plan to cut some pink linen this week.
Advice to Others:
As I mentioned before, the design is classic-ish. It is a classic oxford, but the pocket detail pulls it away from classic into casual. For the longest time we have had closely fitting cotton work blouses with fitting details like princess seams, bust and waist darting, and shoulder seam that rest right on the bone. I am seeing shirts lose their waist darts and the shoulder to drop just a bit, but fashion hasn’t cycled completely back to this very loose style of oxford.
What you might want to do is use a very fashionable print, such as something swirling and bright. Where the print moves the eye so the viewer isn’t looking at the seamlines, or the lack of the seams we have become used to seeing tighten up the fit of a blouse.
There is polished classic such as men’s oxford type shirts for women, but there is also an organic classic look that you see with a lot of clothing manufacturers who make basic tanks and pull-on pants. They often use nubby, rough or open weave organic cotton, silk, or linen in natural tones. That ploy visually stops the viewer from mentally dating the garment.
Overall Style Grade: Silents, Boomers and Early Gen-Xer’s would probably give it a B+, it’s not fancy, but I do fondly remember when air could circulate under the armpits of my blouse!
Late Xer’s and Millenials are probably staring in wonder as they have not bought a shirt without some lycra content ever. Everything marketed to them from tee’s to princess seam oxfords has had lycra to cinch it into the body a bit. They would probably give it a C-.
Results Grade: A, for the intermediate sewer. Beginners grab a plain blouse, but if you are becoming bored with that this is a good next step.
Next Post: Thursday, October 14, 2010: Topstitching sewing widths taken from standard menswear.