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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Stylearc Jane blouse review

Yesterday was a good day. Hit the garage sales and got some clothed Barbies and a trike.

Also finished my wearable muslin of Stylearc's Jane's overshirt.

There is a bit of a back story on this.

I personally find a cotton shirt sometimes cooler in the hot weather than a knit top. More air room. I also have been thinking long and hard about clothing designed for men that have been deemed "classics" for women.

Tell me, do you often see a woman who looks better in a pair of pants with a fly than without? Why are trousers with a fly a female "classic"?

Same goes for the old power suit straight up blazer with the mega shoulder pads.

I think this is important because this list of classics denies garments that really do suit women and are comfortable for them. 

So I was so happy to see the return of the dress to corporate and fashionable life. I am intrigued by this fall's new statement skirts.

Which brings me to shirts vs. blouses if you define a shirt as something with a collar band. 

Now these shirts were designed for wearing with ties, which are things that men themselves complain about. Shirts can look fresh and sharp on women, particularly women with a longer neck because the stand raises the collar and takes up neck space. However if you don't have a long neck it can't be your best look. I remember once been suckered into thinking I needed heavy duty collar interfacing on a collar band shirt and ended up with red marks burned onto my neck under my ears. Was I mad, it had taken me ages to match the print at the front.

Which brings me to the blouse and a convertible collar worn open, a strictly only female garment. These are IMO more flattering on most women. 

Trouble is there are very, very few patterns for them. In fact if you add in the camp shirt element you are stuck with some kind of hybrid unisex women/men/boys pattern that has zero shape.

So I was intrigued when I saw the Jane shirt and thought that this might be a possibility.

Amazingly I am running out of fabric here (I thought the Chanel jacket was going to take me longer but I hadn't anticipated I would become so obsessed with getting it in the Out Basket.) In fact all I could find in Knoxville in 100% cotton  that I liked, until I discovered Gina's Sewing Centre, but that's another story, was dotted quilting cotton.

So I used some of this (I have three more dotted cottons) to make up a trial of the Jane.

Have to tell you I love it.

First the pictures:

The all important bum shot. Note yet another iteration of the Peta pants into shorts. Note the nice yoke with the pleats set off quite far to the sides so it doesn't billow out.

The frozen smile shot, nice fit I think. Note the matching star earrings someone talked me into buying at a jewelry party. Finally they match something and further allow me to channel my highly developed inner '50s housewife.

The dog talking side shot - so you can see what this blouse looks like unaltered and without a bust dart, which this pattern doesn't have.

Here's why I like this pattern:

  • No bust darts but in a casual shirt still a pretty good fit. Yes, with a dart I could eliminate those pull lines shown above and the pull up at the front, articulated in the cotton,  but since the front view looks OK I am good with this for an is-what-it-is.
  • Casual and therefore cool and comfortable but fitted enough so it doesn't look sloppy. Set in sleeve (that went in with minimal easing), ease built in at the back with a couple of tucks.
  • I love the collar. It's is pretty and feminine.
  • Fit together beautifully. Well-drafted pattern.
  • If I had my serger I would have knocked this out in no time. As it is I had to bind the back neck, and still in Chanel mode for some reason hand stitched the hems. Didn't want to see a line of white thread running between my dots.
I made this out of the box and this is what I would change next time:

  • I would lower the top button about 3/4".
  • I would add about 2" to the length and do the side slits as per pattern. 
  • I might add a bust dart and certainly will add to CF.
A real TNT keeper with potential for further development.


Pearl said...

You made me laugh, hand stitching the hems! It looks very nice on you, wish those blouses looked good on me, I find they make me look much older than I am. I find the more masculine collar-on-band much more flattering on me. That's the beauty of sewing - we can make what looks best on us!

Bunny said...

I totally agree about this sort of shirt being much cooler than a knit top. Gimme some air!

Karin said...

Cool and comfortable. Just what a person needs for a North American summer. Handstitched hems on a camp shirt?!? Whoa! You really do have a Chanel hangover;-)