It felt like a fitting place to start blogging with Butterick B6563. These blouses weren’t the first things I sewed, I dabbled in some more costume-type projects with my Mum a few years ago first, but they represent very different places in my sewing journey.
Because I was a glutton for punishment, and hadn’t come to understand the various fit issues around my shape and height yet, I immediately went to attempting to sew blouses the moment I was confident I could cobble seams together without assistance. Looking back at them I am so proud at how much I learned from both, and how I was able to use up entirely second-hand fabric and buttons for the construction. When I first started sewing these I balked at the cost of fabric from regular stores, and I hadn’t yet worked out where the reliable sources of sewing supplies were yet either. So this marked the beginning of my journey into using second-hand supplies where possible.
Boldly, I set about one afternoon attempting to create a pattern more adjusted to me based on View B. My good friend, an experienced seamstress, helped guide me through the process. Although I admit that at the time I had almost no idea what was going on, and what the changes really meant in relation to the original pattern and my figure. The only thing I did understand was that I had underestimated the sheer difference between my waist and my hips, and that the waist on the pattern more or less sat where my hips began. I’ve since learned to anticipate that commercial patterns, more so modern ones, are built for a waist several inches longer than mine. Nevertheless, I left her house feeling ready to take the plunge. So I cut into this fascinating fabric and started cobbling it together. Seam finishes were not a thing I quite understood then, and neither were collars. However, I’ve since found that others have also found the collar portion of this pattern peculiar so that brings me some comfort. I’d also made great use of a Youtube video of another, more experienced sewer putting it together in order to make it a little easier to understand.
In the end I left off the sleeves, as I preferred the sleeveless look more. I was also startled that despite all the downsizing it was still quite big in areas, and only really wearable if tucked in. This was before I’d gotten into the habit of scooping in the sides, and realising that certain blouse features would always make me look like I was wearing a sack. Darts and princess seams are my best of friends now! Still, after much unpicking, cursing, and effort, I had a wearable blouse! And you had better believe I wore it often.
Then later came View A. I’d gotten so used to the sleeveless version and how comfortable it was to dance in, that I was determined to make another. This time I started fresh, sizing down a few times more, and made amendments like shifting darts and such alone. I then cut into some more second-hand fabric, and used up the last of the buttons mum left me when thinning out her supplies, and whipped this one up. Again, I was shocked to find the sizing so large that I ended up taking several inches out of both sides. I hadn’t yet come around to the idea of back darts, or how wonderful those pleats in the backs of shirts are for taking in excess fabric. Despite that it still had a bit too much of a boxy shape for me, although I did wear it around as much as I could.
But in the end some weight loss and personal style changes meant I fell out of love with both pieces, and the work to get them to fit would have been a bit much at that point in time. However, I learned quite a lot during their construction. And I think it’s safe to say that this pattern is what kick-started a love for collared blouses, in particular those that are vintage inspired.
Pattern: Butterick B6563
Views Made: A and B
Pros: Vintage inspired, has a few cute options in terms of sleeveless or sleeved options
Cons: Sizing was a bit difficult to work out, collar remained a bit of a pain to sew despite increased experience with collars.
Would I recommend it to beginners:Probably not. I’d consider myself a somewhat intermediate sewer at this point in time, but I was definitely a proper beginner when I first attempted it. So I’d say it’s a pattern that’s better for people who’ve already had some experience with blouses and collar construction.
Would I sew it again: Also probably not. And that’s not because of a general dislike for the pattern, it simply doesn’t fit my style or sewing interests anymore.