I’ve always been the sort of person who only needs to look at a set of dumbbells to gain muscle. Lucky you I hear you say, yep it’s just how the good Lord made me. A couple of decades ago when I was involved in car crash the doctor’s report described me as a “pleasant mesomorph”. That was new to me, so I searched it up. We mesomorphs gain muscle easily and are the envy of bodybuilders everywhere.
I didn’t always regard my build as a blessing, sure I was always one of the first to be picked for sports teams but I always had a hankering to be more delicately built. I had the sort of frame which meant boys were happy to punch my arm and treat me as one of the lads. Some even wished they were built like me.
But my greatest annoyance was trying to fit my arms and legs into shop bought clothes that were definitely not made for girls like me. From an early age I avoided all clothing with cuffs that fell at my biceps and were buttoned, fitted or even elasticated. They were always too tight and restricting.
Knowing this, you’d think that I’d always be on top of sleeve adjustments now that I have the skill of making my own clothes. And yes, I usually am. I size up, grade out, slash and spread, swap out for a more generous sleeve, but for some reason I forgot to do this for this blouse, the Sienna from Fibremood.
Let’s talk about this blouse. As a Fibre Mood insider, I get to preview the patterns each time ahead of the magazine launch and choose one pattern for free. There were as usual many great patterns but shirts and blouses have been calling me lately. The gathered, slightly cropped and boxy shape of the blouse with high neckline and possibly bicep constricting sleeves were all things that may have put me off in the past but I was drawn to this pattern.
Other lovely features are the hidden placket, shoulder yoke with gathers, back yoke with centre pleat and gathers and neat, cuffed, buttoned sleeves.
I choose to make mine from a cotton madras check print I bought from New Craft House. It’s a lovely soft, light fabric with a slightly crumpled look which helps give this blouse a very casual feel. It’s quite a roomy blouse and I’m not a huge fan of being swathed in excess fabric so although my measurements put me at a large, I cut a medium based on the finished garment measurements. I had to cut carefully in a single layer to match the pattern design and am thankful that I got that right.
As well as gathers at the back and shoulder yokes, there are gathers at the sleeve cuff. Gathering is not a particular favourite of mine but I think I’ve got into a gathering routine that works fine for me: change bobbin to a contrasting colour. Turn machine tension right down. Use the longest stitch length. Sew two parallel lines within the seam allowance. Keep threads long at both ends. Pull on the bobbin threads to gather. Spread gathers evenly but don’t get too hung up about that part!
The sewing process for this make was quite pleasant. I even had huge success with my sleeve placket, infact I’d say they were the neatest sleeve plackets I’ve ever made. The instructions were clear and I went slow. So you can imagine my great annoyance when I discovered after all the hard work of making the sleeves that they were never going to button up over my arms!
I briefly contemplated unpicking the sleeves and making a new set as I had enough fabric left over but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. So I decided to make some cute ties instead, and unpick a tiny bit of the cuffs to neatly insert them and voila, a cute little hack was born!
Am I happy with the outcome? For sure! I’m not usually one for high necklines, I prefer a v or square neck but I love the buttoned up neat finish of this shirt. With the concealed button placket it reminds me of the smart , long shirts often worn by men in West Africa.
It’s another Fibre Mood winner and the sleeve ties mean no tears were shed!