Making Blouses that Fit

I hardly ever find button front shirts or blouses in RTW that fit.  They are usually either too short for my orangutan arms, or if I find a blouse that fits in the bust, the shoulders are way too big.  So, I decided to try making my own with Simplicity 2758.  This is one of the Threads Collection patterns that has multiple cup sizes.  However, even with the multiple cup sizes, I think choosing the size can really be a challenge.  If I would have gone with the sizing on the envelope, I would have made a size 18 allover with the D cup front.  What I did was make a 14 in the neck, shoulders and back, and then only used the 18 D cup for the front.  It fits absolutely to perfection- I can't tell you how THRILLED I am. 

But why use two sizes to make one blouse?  It turns out that if you take your high bust measurement, by measuring tightly above your bust, that is really a better measurement for choosing the neck and shoulder size from a pattern.  Then you measure the widest part of your bust for choosing the pattern size at the bust level.  Or you can stay with the same pattern size at the neck and shoulder area for the whole body, but alter the bust to fit.  Confused yet? Don't feel bad- it has taken me YEARS, maybe DECADES to figure this out.

First, I had to realize that pattern sizes don't correspond to ready to wear sizes.  I really think that a lot of people get turned off to sewing when they learning that their pattern sizes are bigger numbers than store bought sizes.  Ready to wear sizing has changed considerably over the years, due to vanity sizing.  Pattern sizing has not.  You have to learn to forget about size number comparisons when it comes to sewing, and just focus on the facts- let the ego go!  There are no size tags, and NO ONE WILL KNOW!

Then I had to learn about the high bust/full bust difference for people who wear a C cup bra or larger.  Now, there are exceptions to the rule in the pattern world.  Sandra Betzina's Today's Fit patterns are designed for fuller busts, and with her Vogue pattern line, you really can choose the pattern based on your full bust measurement.  I LOVE Sandra's patterns, and have all of them.  And a lot of independent pattern companies, like Hot Patterns and Colette Patterns are also designed for curvier figures.  You can also change any regular pattern using a Full Bust Adjustment.  There are some great illustrated views of how to do this on various styles on Debbie Sewing Tips page

Back to the project- the first blouse that I made was a navy blue stretch cotton.  I was so thrilled with it, that I decided to make a night out blouse too out of a crazy 70's silk print that I've had in my stash awhile.  Here it is:

I feel like I've gone back a few decades when I'm wearing this one, but it is SILK!  And it FITS!  So, if you don't like it, TOUGH, I DO!  Can you tell I've had a couple of glasses of wine tonight?

Anyway the pattern is fantastic.  Get it if you want a blouse that fits. Or if you don't like this style, Simplicity, McCall's and Vogue now have a nice selection of multiple cup size patterns.


  1. I love this blouse on you! The fabric is cool :)

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