Cheap frills

Late last week I finished sewing up my version of BurdaStyle’s free JJ pattern as the penultimate piece in my FW/08 Collection (I’ve still got to put the finishing touches on my Jean Paul Gaultier Patrones skirt and these last two substitutes round out the Collection!).

I made a few changes to the pattern – mainly, I made the ruffles half the intended width by making them as long tubes with the edges inside (the pattern called to just fold one edge under and zigzag stitch, which seemed weird), making them a lot less “in your face” and a lot more like a ruffled 1970s tuxedo shirt!

I also changed the way the sleeve slit was finished – the instructions called for a fiddly bit of overlapped binding, which seemed downright insane considering the size of the slit, so I instead used a technique I learned from a 1940s pattern:

  1. Place a small bit of scrap fabric on the right side of your garment where the slit will be.
  2. Sew a small V, and cut the slit up to the very point of the V (seen in the lower bit of the photo).
  3. Turn the scrap fabric to the inside, press, and topstitch. The finished slit is on the top in the photo, ready for the sleeve band to be attached.

I used some shell buttons from my stash, and used two smaller ones on my sleeve cuffs. My sleeves close with a concealed hook and eye as my weight-lifting arms are apparently an inch or so larger than the standard size 42, so the sleeve buttons are purely decorative.

I really like the overall styling of this blouse, but I got frustrated early on with the quality of the instructions with this pattern. The instructions are so bad I’m willing to bet money that they were never proofread before being uploaded. Simple stuff, like saying to sew Ruffle II like so and then do Ruffle II in the same way. Or saying “left side” when they meant to say “wrong side” because someone has confused right/left with right/wrong. Or not using standard pattern-speak and taking three times as many words to get across the same meaning as “press towards center back”. It’s so bad I actually got out a red pencil and started correcting it, teacher-style, until I got fed up and just threw them aside. It’s weird, I’ve sewn a bunch of Burda Style’s patterns before and found the directions to be quite good, so I really don’t know what happened on this one. In parts they’re nearly indecipherable, and I think it was actually more taxing to interpret these than even Burda World of Fashion’s (or the ones in languages I can’t read!).

I ended up having such a productive weekend that I made another top, start-to-finish on Sunday afternoon, but I’ll save it for another day!

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