Simplicity 2215 blouse detail

Sewing the Simplicity 2215 Sleeveless Blouse

While not typically not a dress or skirt person, I’m open to becoming one some day. And at a recent $1 pattern sale, Simplicity 2215 struck me as a classic-yet-modern option that just might work for me. But first, I dip my toe in the water with the blouse.

Project features

  • collar
  • facing
  • bias tape facing
  • darts
  • buttons

Process notes

Simplicity 2215 Cynthia Rowley Blouse, Skirt, and Dress

Instead of using the pointed collar that comes with the pattern, I drafted a Peter Pan collar. This was a nice blouse to try that on because it doesn’t have a collar band.

After making a size 8 muslin to test the fit, I made some adjustments:

  • omitted the front waist shaping darts
  • replaced the arm hole with the size 12 arm hole
  • added about 3/4 in. to the back side of the armscye (broad back/shoulder blade adjustment)
  • shaved 5/8 in. off the neckline

For the fabric, I used some of the mystery challis from my stash because it has such a nice soft feel. I love sewing with regular cottons, but they tend to have a stiffer shape in tops that I don’t care for. I like my tops to look polished, but not stiff.

Results

Simplicity 2215 sleeveless blouse with Peter Pan collar

The challis feels wonderful, but it’s tricky to sew with — it wants to slither around quite a bit. And I think it’s going to be snag city with this particular fabric. Just during the sewing process some little snags appeared, causing little hiccups in the fabric pattern.

I’m super happy with how the collar turned out. It was challenging to figure out where exactly it should stop in front, but I lucked out big time. Some of my Craftsy classes were a huge help for getting me through this top successfully: 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know, One Pattern, Many Looks: Blouses, and The Classic Tailored Shirt. And I’m sure if I watch Sewing on the Edge again I’d pick up ways to improve the arm hole binding process.

The arm holes ended up being too large, and the broad back adjustment could have been reduced by about half. On the plus side, this top fits over my head if the top button is unbuttoned, which gives me some good direction for designing a popover blouse.

Somehow the fabric got uneven on the bottom front — either when the facing was attached or when the buttons were sewn on. I’ll have to watch for that sort of thing in the future.

This top would look wonderful with slim navy pants. And on that note, perhaps making the skirt from this pattern in a navy is the way to go.

Adjustments for next time:

  • make size 10
  • shorten the length of the back neck facing a little bit to lie smoother

Simplicity 2215 sleeveless blouse

 

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Bias facing detail on Simplicity 1364

Sewing the Simplicity 1364 Retro Sleeveless Woven Top

I love a classic top with a bateau neckline. And this pattern is fairly simple, with just a few pieces. But the lapped zipper in the back and the bias facing in the arm holes did make things a little trickier.

Project features

  • lapped zipper
  • facing
  • bias tape facing
  • darts

Process notes

Simplicity 1364 retro blouse pattern

For fitting this top, I used Nancy Zieman’s book The Busy Woman’s Fitting Book. After experiencing Joi Mahon’s pattern fitting techniques, it seemed like a good idea to give the pivot and slide method Nancy teaches in order to compare the two.

I chose the pattern size based on Nancy’s front width fitting chart. It’s hard to say how effective this method was because the pattern needed to be made wider at the shoulders and narrower at the bust. I started by doing the wide shoulder adjustment (adding 1/2″ to the shoulder width) and the square shoulder adjustment (moving the shoulder up 1/2″), then made a muslin to test fit.

The test fit revealed that there was way too much fabric in the bust, waist, and back, and not quite enough at the hip. In addition, the neckline in the front was cutting into my neck a bit, the darts on the front were too long, and the arm holes were too snug. I really liked how the neckline looked though — the bateau neck was crisp and flattering.

After seeing the fit of the muslin, I made further pattern adjustments:

  • dropped the front neckline by 1/2″
  • lowered the bottom edge of the arm hole and blended it into the upper part of the arm hole
  • brought the side seam under the arm hole in and blended it down to the hem (small bust adjustment)
  • widened the hip at the hem
  • shortened the dart by 1″

Then came the difficult decision of which fabric to use! A remnant of lightweight indigo chambray was calling to me, and for the bias facing on the arm holes a white and navy stripe was a good complement.

Results

Simplicity 1364 Retro Top

Striped bias facing on Simplicity  1364
Striped bias facing on the arm holes

With the exception of the shoulders and shoulder blade area, I’m super happy about how this top turned out. The fabric is soft, lightweight, and has a good drape. And the design of the top is crisp and polished, but casual as well. The long zipper in the back makes it feel purposeful and put-together.

The ends of the shoulders at the arm holes are just a bit too high, making them pop up when they should mold to the shoulder better (this is less evident when my arms are bent like in the photos). And I learned a valuable lesson: if there’s a poorly-blended curve in the pattern, that will show up in the final garment. Makes sense! These areas are now fixed on my pattern.

I’m on the fence about whether a bit of a broad shoulder adjustment would help me or not — my concern is that adding fabric to the back will exacerbate the sway back fitting issue, but I’m consistently wearing tops that pull at the upper torso/shoulder area. That’s something that will continue to evolve for sure.

I also learned why some sewers like to stabilize the fabric before attaching a zipper. My fabric kept smooshing downward as the zipper got stitched on, causing wrinkles and puckers. If I had fused some interfacing on before folding and stitching, it probably would have alleviated this issue.