Grey little flowers blouse: tripping over arm hole.


  1. To play some more with the armhole: position, fit, ease.
  2. the original Burda sleeve does not have the grain centered, does this have a function?
  3. another collar.

PATTERN ALTERATIONS made on the Grey Winter Deer blouse pattern:

  • bringing the armhole closer to the body in the front and back. Not taking in sideseam nor altering how it meets the sleeve. (my alterations widen the armhole… or not?)
  • shortening the shoulderseam by 2 cm. Doing this at the princess seam point instead of the arm hole. Just to find out.
  • taking off the integrated collar, inserting the collar from Deer & Doe instead.
  • a little more pronounced shaping at the underbust on the side front panels
  • not forgetting the horizontal dart in the front panels this time.

same alterations I made for the Grey Winter Deer when compared to the Stylish Cat Lady Blouse:

  • extend the front panel towards the collar, don’t let it bend away so fast

using the front panel -free cut to extend the Center Front seam- for cutting the facings.

not the sleeve seam though. (sleeve cap yes)


horizontal one in the front panel and the cup darts at the side.


  1. sleeve seam
  2. zipper (new way, just like a lined zipper pouch.)
  3. long seams
  4. shoulder seams

2. Zipper sandwiched between front panel and facing. Having it’s end peak out so it’s hidden from the right side:

Precise cutting makes for precise positioning, front panel, zipper and facing line up beautifully:

Because I did the zipper before I sewed the princess lines I could work it like a zippered pouch. I used a tutorial.

3. Princess seams are quite curvy. Here’s one panel laying on top of its partner:

Pin it down, cut into the seam allowance and staystitching to make it work:

– the princess seams ended way too much to the side, they don’t run over the apex.

The zipper is not yet top stitched, that may draw in the princess seams a bit. Topstitch the zipper and see what’s what. Before the topstitching I pressed and pinned the fabric carefully. On the outside it covers the zipper, on the inside it lays back a bit, for easier operating of the zipper.
But somehow, no matter how well you pin and press, the upper layer will wrinkle because the dog teeth make the under layer go faster. There’s a lot of pulling and smoothing involved to make it look acceptable. Slow sewing.

– I need little darts at the side bust, before I put in the sleeves.


Zipper top stitched. Princess seams are still off the apex, 2 cm too much to the sides at least. I think I might have added some width to the front panels when I cut it? Perhaps because I wanted a button band and snap ons buttons. Then I changed it to a zipper but didn’t take out any fabric. Will do for a next time I use this pattern.

For now I think I’ll leave it like this. It was quite an effort to sew the princes seams, with their curves, I don’t look forward to resewing them. And I fear the armhole is already positioned enough towards the bust, it shouldn’t go any nearer.

Taking in the sideseams at the underarm makes up for the surplus of fabric. Took in a whole (2x)1 cm. Now it’s snug. Might be too snug.

The curve at the underbust -more curvy than the previous blouse- works well. But still horizontal folds.
I wonder if they’d be less if the closing CF was not as stiff as a zipper is.

Sewing in side darts.

pinned one and sewed it in with sleeve running close to the dog teeth and bodice on top. No trouble easing it in.
Fitting showed I had not enough room at the front. I’m going to take out the bust dart.
(sleeve cap seems to be too roomy at the front but this is the 2 cm seam allowance bulking things up. It’s not been graded yet.)
Shoulder seam is positioned a bit to the back:

(the collar is going to need some serious engineering. I know nothing about collars! Yet.)

took out the bust dart. While sewing the arm hole was now too big for the sleeve. As the shoulder seam was a bit too much to the back I took it apart and used it to take away some of the excess fabric of the armhole. (we’re talking maybe one cm here, exactly how much the side bust dart took up.)

looks awful. Sits even worse.

It looks like I moved the shoulder seam to the back instead of the front (??)
The arm hole is way too wide at the front top, the sleeve cap is too narrow over my upper arm. I can’t move one bit, it looks like I sewed a sloper, with no ease.

The whole arm hole sits awful. It should be nearer to my body. Higher in the sideseam, closer to the body in the front. The shoulder seam should even be shorter I think, but then the sleeve will move on top of my shoulder and that’s not good.

But the extra ease from the abandoned bust dart is good though. It’s on the right side in this picture:

Blouse thrown in corner. I’m done sewing for the day.

got no idea. The sleeves have to come off, that’s clear. I have enough fabric to draft new sleeves. But how? What?
Take the bodice -with bust darts- as a point of departure I guess. That one sits good and looks fine. But the arm hole is a bit wide at the front. How attach a sleeve to it without it becoming wings?
Maybe a gusset at the underarm…
The bustdarts do give the armhole a right angle. It’s no longer oblong.
The sleeves need some sort of wearing ease, at the sleeve cap. Even though Fashion-Incubator makes a good case that it’s nonsense.
Drape the sleeve in the hole?

I think I shouldn’t have matched up the seam of the sleeve with the side seam. Fashion-Incubator shows a rotated sleeve in her last picture.

I’m also thinking about sewing it in back side to front, just to see if that changes anything.

NEXT TIME I use this pattern:
– broaden the side front panels: make the arm hole smaller by bringing it closer to the arm pit. It’s about 2 to 4 cm out.
– more soupleness at the closing (CF) to see if the horizontal wrinkles at the underbust disappear. That rules out a zipper.


intermezzo: putting thread on the bobbin of my foot threadle

had to wind some new thread on the bobbin for the under thread of the sewing machine. It is all done by hand (foot) and it’s a wonderful piece of machinery. I LOVE the gears and all the precise engineering:


look at that heart shaped gear, it guides the thread holder to an fro!
The tension is precise, there are fail safes and spots to put oil. I LOVE it!

my tools: books, machine, ‘dress form’

as I wait for my patterns to arrive:

Processed through USPS Sort Facility, April 20, 2013, 11:50 am, CHICAGO, IL 60666

let me show you what tools I own. My books, my sewing machine and my ‘dress form’.

these are the books:

  • Mouleren by Ton Verswijveren
  • The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant by Sarah Thursfield
  • How to Adjust, Adapt and Deisgn Sewing Patterns by Lee Hollahan
  • Knippen en Naaien met BURDA by Burda

The last two I got as a gift from two lovely friends who knew I’d be sewing a dress before I knew it myself.

Mouleren by Ton Verswijveren is all about moulage, the art of draping cloth around the human form and deducing a custom fit pattern block out of it. (I was looking for images on ‘moulage’ and got all bloody murder on my screen. It seems in the US it is the art of making fake wounds.)


It features everything from starting a simple piece of fabric on a dress form to having all the alterations in fabric and making it into pattern pieces.
Ton Verswijveren teaches this skillful art in the Netherlands and also sells custom fit dress forms.
I don’t understand everything I read yet but I do see a lot, especially paired with the reading of the next book:

The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant by Sarah Thursfield.

This teaches how to make a ‘block’ off of somebody’s body and how to use that block to make historic garments.

The next book I have not read well yet. It’s How to Adjust, Adapt and Deisgn Sewing Patterns by Lee Hollahan.
It has a special section about how to proceed when you’ve bought a commercial pattern, that will come in handy.

Knippen en Naaien met BURDA by Burda is a book in Dutch from 1984 and it teaches the basics. Including alterations and some simple patterns. Its title translates to: “Cutting and Sewing with Burda.”

I learned a lot from it. It has lots of pictures too.The only thing is it is in Dutch, which is my mother tongue, granted, but I’ve been reading up on sewing in English and I have difficulty translating the right terms back to Dutch.
The same happened when I thought myself to knit and to spin. At least I’m consistent. I do want to learn the proper Dutch terms though because I’ll be talking to my Dutch friends about this over at my favourite group at And I’ll be buying fabric in a Dutch shop which makes it necessary to learn the fabric names well. Because I’ve got a feeling that the right fabric will make this dress and the wrong one will be eaten by my sewing machine…


It’s an old foot treadle with a boat shuttle and a part to wind up the long bobins that go aboard that shuttle. It is a good piece of equipment. It runs smooth, it runs precise.
It goes forward and it goes backward and I can adjust the stitch length. That’s about it!

It does well with cotton, felt and leather. I am really looking forward to do a smoother fabric on it like silk chiffon. But I may start with raw silk first. That is, after I’ve made a few dresses in well behaving, easy to handle fabrics.

To test my knitting garments I made a dress form last year. A couple of knitter friends got together and had a fun afternoon taping each other up.

she has no name. And after being stuffed in ‘the wool room’ for a few months she now leans back pondering ceilings.
There’s a clothes hook in there but the hook came apart from the wooden part that fortifies her shoulders. She was meant to hang, not to stand.
Oh well, it did reach the goal of shocking me into a more realistic idea of my body and better ideas of what styles suit me.


While waiting and reading I felt I do need a tracing wheel. I went to the church’s second hand shop and found one. And some bias band of which I hear great things. There were also lovely ladies helping me to pronounce it right (another haz(z)ard of learning through books and internet, you never know what you are saying). Apparently in Holland we use a French pronunciation, “bee-yay band”, is this correct?

As a sewing Bumble I’m all for Bee Yay Bands!

picture by Mikateke | Kateryna Korniienko-Heidtman

The ladies at the thrift store also prevented me from going home with a non-souple gauze to make a toile/muslin from. Instead they sold me this old sheet. It is very soft, has a small flowery pattern and even a repairment. Done with love and care.

Talk about love and care, there’s a lot of cat help around here….

“you’ve been working too long, it’s time┬áto nap!”