Pattern: The Afternoon Blouse by Jennifer Lauren Vintage
Pattern Description (from designer): An easy summer blouse perfect for afternoons sipping tea (or cocktails), the Afternoon Blouse has been designed with beginners and advanced sewers in mind. For the beginner, the flowing design will help to build sewing confidence with its choice of two decorative necklines and 1940s-inspired kimono sleeves. For the advanced sewer, this gorgeous blouse can be made in one afternoon using silk or rayon – a luxurious, quick and satisfying make. While the Afternoon Blouse has been designed to be tucked into high-waisted skirts and pants for a vintage look, it also works perfectly worn loose with jeans and sandals for the modern gal, making it a truly versatile blouse.
Purchase Price: Full price is $12.50 US, but she had a sale after Thanksgiving.
Fabric Required: Oddly specific… 1.58 yards of 60″ or 1.66 yards of 45″. I would say the conversion from metric to US is why it is so specific, but the metric also goes out to 2 weird decimal places.
Amount of fabric used: I squeezed it out of 1.5 yards of 44″ wide material. One of my facings had some imaginative cutting done to do so.
Sizing: I used a 16 for the shoulders (closer to my high bust measurement), then went out to an 18 at the bottom of the sleeves for my bust size, then came back in to a 16 for the hips. It was really big in the waist/hip area, so I had to take it in some more. It’s also a little bit shorter than I prefer my blouses.
- There are no finished measurements, so I had to go off the size chart. I guess I need to start measuring pattern pieces, but it annoys me to pay good money for a pattern then have to measure pieces of paper to decide what size to wear. Anyway, the size chart recommended with my measurements to do an 18 bust, 20 waist, and 14 hips. If I had done that, the shoulders would have been way too big and the waist way too big.
Alterations: Once I tried it on after sewing up the side seams, it was way too loose in the waist/hip area. I took off the blouse and decided to trace the side seams off my favorite Belcarra Blouse. That reduced the sizing from an 18 in the bust, to a 16 at the waist and 14 at the hip. This helped immensely, but I still need to fix the tenting effect in the front of the shirt.
Instructions: The instructions are good. This was the designer’s first pattern. Most of my issues with the instructions are my personal preferences from sewing different patterns by different designers.
- I personally prefer to hem the sleeve after I sew up the sides to avoid any interior seams showing, but doing it first does make it easier to iron. I think the best solution is to iron the seamline early, then sew after the sides are done.
- I also under stitched the neckline. It was a little tough at the corners, but it really helped my blouse lay flat and keep the insides where they belong. I think every pattern on earth, especially ones aimed at beginners should mention that step. I think at the end, there may be a step (step 3 in the “To Make Up” section) that hints at under stitching, but it would be hard that late into the blouse. It also mentions top stitching as an option, which I don’t think would look very good on this blouse.
- Printing: I did like that the pieces were tiled so that I only had to print off the pattern for the front that I was using. On a larger pattern, I would probably prefer some more overlapping to save paper, but on a blouse like this I really appreciated not having to print every single option.
Pattern Issues: Why does it not include finished measurements?!?! I keep getting tempted by cute patterns without finished measurements. I know it’s harder to do the bust measurement with kimono sleeves, but at least give me the waist and hip finished measurements so I don’t have to take the shirt in after I’ve already made it…
Fabric Choice: I used a wonderful 100% cotton lawn by Yuwa. This stuff feels amazing. It washes up beautifully, and I admit to googling the brand in an attempt to find more. It’s that perfect lightweight cotton that isn’t completely see-through like voile, yet substantial enough that you can actually wear it outside of the house without worrying if your bra is showing through the fabric. The one I purchased from Imagine Gnats appears to be out of stock, but Fancy Tiger and Miss Matabi seem to stock Yuwa regularly.
The other consideration is whether or not you want the neckline detail to show. I love this fabric, but it is so busy you can’t see that aspect of the shirt. A solid or plainer design would show that much more.
Finished Product: I like the neckline and kimono sleeves. I am probably going to end up with way too many blouses with kimono sleeves, but I like them. I can see making this shirt again, and maybe trying the other neckline option.
Notes for future makes:
- Make a swayback adjustment. Just make one in every single pattern you will ever consider sewing in your entire life. You know you need it, so don’t be lazy and just do it!
- Also, add a couple inches to the length. I’m a shorty, but I have a long torso and a short human to chase around, and I like my middle to be covered.
- It has a weird tent like effect in the front. None of the pictures of other people’s versions seem to do this, so I’m not sure why mine is. I think I will add a dart next time to take in some of that excess.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I like this blouse and plan to make it again with a couple fit adjustments.