Hello friends! After a tumultuous couple of months where I have been more focused on work and things outside the creative sphere, I ended up deciding to take a several week break from sewing to get a complete refresh. I had also been through some sewing disasters that made me feel like I was turning something fun into a chore that I was required to do to uphold a schedule, and that was something I wanted to change. I went through all the sewing patterns I owned, sorted what little fabric I had, and got a friend to help me take new measurements from the waist down. With that in mind, after the break I decided to come back to a particular pattern that I knew I had the fabric and supplies for, and which I had been quite keen to make even before I got into stretch fabric: The Adrienne Blouse by the Friday Pattern Company.
So, first up is the pattern itself. This is a blouse made from stretch fabric, with voluminous sleeves and a tight-fitting bodice with elastic in the shoulders and in the cuffs in order to give it that ruched shape. The sleeves in the original pattern are much larger than what I ended up doing, so keep in mind that it has serious volume! Size wise it ranges from XS to 4X, but given I sat at a Large I do think that the size range could stand to be expanded upon further. Meterage-wise it’s not too much of a fabric guzzler if you’re mindful of those sleeves, so I ended not needing 2m for mine because I reduced the volume. I’m not even sure I used a full 1.75m to make either version. However, if you’re going all out in the sleeves do note they take far more fabric than the bodice will. There are also provisions in the bodice for a full bust adjustment if required.
For both tops I used stretch fabric which I had bought at Spotlight on sale around Christmastime, including some cotton spandex which I had been fortunate enough to squeeze two other tops out of, and some beautiful drapey stretch fabric – the exact blend of which I forget. The cotton spandex gave the first blouse a lot more structure, which I felt helped to define the sleeves quite a bit. It also made the fit a little tighter through the bodice, which I quite liked. I also used a walking foot on the first blouse, and I found that made the process quite smooth, particularly when I was doing topstitching on the neckline, although irksome to have to stop and tie the threads off all the time. For the second blouse I didn’t use the walking foot but did regret that decision almost immediately, as I found it a bit difficult to zigzag on the hems and neckline without the fabric shifting. So, if I make this top a third time, I will be using that foot!
Now, on to the changes. I am a bust size 36” individual, with a 29” waist and 49” hips. Although I am closer to 40” on the higher hip area. After consulting numerous other reviews, I decided to risk cutting out a size L, as I still don’t have much of an understanding of negative ease at this point. I removed a whopping 3” from the sleeves and made no changes to the bodice as it looked to be a good length for me. Most of the time I need to remove a couple of inches from the length of tops, so I expected this one would hit around the hips and wouldn’t be too cropped on me as some other reviewers suggested. I found this was a fantastic fit. So good in fact that it was hard to believe I hadn’t adjusted it! Removing all that volume from the sleeves also made them the tiniest bit more practical I felt and puts me less at risk of catching them on door handles and things which I do tend to do with big sleeves.
I found this pattern quite quick to sew on both occasions. The fiddliest bit was attempting to get the stretch fabric to lie flat on the floor so I could cut the pieces out without them moving around too much. So, I do think this pattern would suit an intermediate sewist with experience at handling stretch fabric.