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Can anyone recommend a pattern??

ilovefabric | Posted in Patterns on

This is my first email to ANY chatroom……be kind. 

I am trying to find a pattern for just a basic front button blouse…I tried a Simplicity pattern the other day….fortunately I made a test blouse and it was so off…it made me want to pack up my machine.

Does anyone have a favorite??  I’m open……thanks.



  1. TJSEWS | | #1

    Just curious, what do you mean by the Simplicity pattern being "so off"?  Were the pattern pieces off or was it the design? 

    Anyway, my favorite front button blouse pattern is Vogue 7903 by Sandra Betzina.  It has different sleeve, cuff and collar options as well.  I've made two blouses from it so far and have been very happy with the results. 


    1. ilovefabric | | #3

      Thanks for the Vogue pattern number.  As far as being  the Simplicity pattern being "off"..... the shoulders didn't meet my shoulders.  The pattern was way too big in the arms, and buckled in the back, but tight in the bust.  I have been sewing for 20 years but admittedly, alterations are not my strong suit.

      I do appreciate the advise.


      1. mygaley | | #4

        I find it useful to compare a new pattern to a similar garment that fits me well.  Be sure to allow for seamlines and ease if too small when you do this.  Galey

        1. ilovefabric | | #5

          Thanks I will try that.  I just purchased a blouse from Lands End that fits quite well so I'll compare to the next pattern I purchase.

      2. mem | | #12

        Maybe you need to measure your high chest and use that as your Bust measurement and then do a full bust adjustment . Measuring the length of your shoulder on the blouse you bought and the pattern will also help . Its really NOT hard and once you get it you will have so many more options and you will feel much jhappier about sewing . Get a good fitting book I love Palmer Pletch ones.

  2. woodruff | | #2

    I think we need to know more about you as well as the pattern. For example, are you an experienced seamstress, or just starting out? Do you have any figure problems, such as narrow or broad shoulders, or are you taller or shorter than average? Are you experienced at fitting and altering?

    What Simplicity pattern did you use? (I believe you can link to the pattern at this site, as well as post photos of yourself wearing the garment) In what way did it not suit you? Was it too large or small everywhere? Was the style different from the pattern illustration?

    1. ilovefabric | | #6

      I will have to get back to you about the pattern number.  I have been sewing for along time, over 15 years.  I did measure the pattern and thought I was OK with the size. 

      The bust on this pattern was too tight.  That is why,maybe, the shoulders didn't lay right.  I made a size 16.  I wear a 14, but it looks like I should have cut an 18.  I don't quite understand that.  I'm average height 5'6" with no waist whatsoever......

      I did go out an buy the Vogue pattern the message before recommended and I will start all over again.


      1. mimi | | #7

        ilovefabric:  The problem probably lies in the pattern company sizing.  If you look at what Simplicity considers a size 14 and compare it with your measurements, you will find that you do not wear a size 14 at all!  There is usually a two or three size difference between ready to wear and the pattern companies.  I don't know why this is!

        Also, you mention that the back had extra room and the bust was tight:  This might just be a "maturity issue".  I've noticed that a lot of what I had up front has either migrated to the back or dropped!


        1. ilovefabric | | #9

          How did you know I had a "maturity issue"????

          I know you are right about the pattern sizing.  But I do get confused about how much "ease" should be in certain garments...like blouses for example.

          1. mygaley | | #11

            I have never been sorry when I used a Vogue pattern.  I wish you the same good results with yours.  Every Vogue pattern has something unique about it, and if you follow the directions exactly, you will be glad.  Galey

          2. Teaf5 | | #14

            How funny that you've always had success with Vogue patterns, all of my experiences with them would fit into the "Worst Sewing Disasters" thread of this forum! The worst was a simple shirt that looked as if it would fit an alien, but never a human body....

          3. mygaley | | #15

            I once had a body that did not require many alterations.  This might have contributed to the success of the garments. LOL  I did not have a sewing mentor and the techniques I learned from the vogue pattern guides were invaluable to me.  If I am looking for a special drop-dead garment, I still look at Vogue first.  Galey

          4. Josefly | | #16


          5. mimi | | #13

            ilovefabric:  there should be ease around the midriff in most blouses unless there are vertical darts (running parallell to the placket) for shaping.  There should also be enough ease through the shoulders for you to bend over and pick something up.  Sometimes a blouse that has a back yoke fits the bill nicely!

            I know that Vogue Patterns describes the amount of ease in most patterns.  If you can find a copy of the Vogue Sewing Book in your local library, there is a pretty good description of what the various "eases" mean.

            I love your tag line!  I have had a bumper sticker that reads "She who dies with the most fabric wins!" although I am not sure what the winnings would be!


        2. Josefly | | #10

          I got a great chuckle from your last line about migrating assets. Ohhhhh, if I could only put my measurements back where they belong!

      2. dotty | | #8

        There's a palmer pletch(Mccalls) camp shirt that I like. It comes with some fitting advice. I still had to take it in at the sides after doing everything else. But thats simple.

      3. User avater
        artfulenterprises | | #17

        You have a perfect opportunity to make a perfect shirt...you already have a pattern you just constructed which shows you how to get a custom fit. First, check your pattern to make sure the bust point and your bust point are in alignment. (It's usually marked on the tissue with a cross or X with a circle around it.) Then, if you are a C cup bra size or more, you may need to alter the blouse to accomodate a fuller bust. In any case, make sure the darts are in line with and pointing directly to your bust point. There are books and articles on the subject and it's an easy fix as alterations go. I believe You can also find an article on the subject on the Simplicity/McCalls website titled "How to Increase the Size of a Dart - For the C-cup or larger figure". Your shoulder point can be extended quite easily (just extend the shoulder line on your pattern to add the additional amount needed and blend it into the armscye. ) You may also find you need to shift the shoulder seam to align with the center point of the neck (in line with the shoulder point). As we (ahem) mature, often the shoulders become rounded and so the length of the shoulder gets longer in back and shorter in front. The buckling in the back sounds like you are shorter waisted than the pattern. Have someone measure you from the first vertabrae (the bump at the base of your back neck) to your center back waistline (since you say you don't have much of a waist, you can pick a spot! (or, put elastic snugly around your "waist" and then bend from side to side a few times until the elastic settles....that's your waist!) Then, compare your measurement with the pattern and shorten accordingly. Once you've made all those adjustments, you can lay this corrected pattern over other patterns ( like the new Vogue blouse) adjust the pattern and get a good fit first time around. Happy sewing!

        Edited 6/26/2006 12:13 am ET by artfulenterprises

        1. ilovefabric | | #18

          Thanks for all the info!!  It is appreciated.  I did purchase a Vogue pattern (one of Sandra B's) and did adjust the bust dart.  I also eliminated one of three waist darts in the front and I am now happy happy with the fix.  I haven't put in the sleeves yet but so far so good.

          It has been so long since I have made any garments.  Mostly I switched to quilting because I felt I couldn't get the fit I wanted.....but after working on this blouse, I must say I'm feeling pretty confident again.

          I am having a hard time though finding knit fabric to made some quality Tee shirt types tops for work.  I have looked at Vogue fabrics and also Sawyer Brook.  Does anyone have another website I might look at?

          1. User avater
            artfulenterprises | | #19

            Great knits are hard to find..mostly, I grab em when I see em and stash em for later! However, there is a small company called Stretch n Sew Fabrics in Stockton, CA which carries lots of cotton, poly-cotton, and lycra blend knits as well as other stretch fabrics. I doubt if they have a website but you could always call. Also, you might check Loes Hinse's website...she sells gorgeous sweater knits although the colors are very muted and "neutral". (Not my color style, but the textiles are elegant.) Try asking your fabric store for Merino wool jersey...it's the ultimate in a fine, dressy knit for tops, dresses, skirts, pants, coats, etc. Perhaps you could google merino wool jersey and find it online.

          2. user-184917 | | #22

            Thanks, I have been scouring around for merino wool jersey.  I have a pair of thick merino blend pants I picked up at some thrift shop...love em.  This I wear these things to bed and they feel like a second skin.

          3. Born2Bead | | #23

            Hi!  I have not ordered anything from this site yet but they have a great selection of wool which is what I've been looking for...



          4. Marno | | #20

            For all baby boomers facing maturing contours when it comes to patterns, do not despair, helps is on hand!I can highly recommend Sandra Betzina's Today's Fit patterns in Vogue. These are designed for real women, I know because I was one of her fitting 'models'. She had a series of pattern fitting evenings
            before Today's Fit patterns were introduced in Vogue. There were about twenty-five of us running around her house in San Francisco in our undies trying on the sample patterns made up in striped cotton fabric. Note, her pattern multi-sized and designated as A, B, C, D, E, F no horrid numbers! We had blouse, jacket, skirt and pant samples in each size, so once one had found the most satisfactory size in each garment the result was inspected by Sandra together with a cutter and a pattern maker from Vogue all taking detailed notes.

            At 5'10 with what I would describe 'as an hour-glass figure with all the sand in the lower half', I found the Es were just about perfect. By coincidence there was a 5'4" 'model' also searching the Es which were fine in the body but on her needed generous turnups on the sleeves and trousers whereas with me, the hems were down! We were able to stand in front of Sandra so the experts could really make comparisons. It was hilarious evening helped along with wine and a great food provided by Sandra's husband.I would also recommend the Burda patterns when it comes to fitting. Now they come with seams added, whereas the originals were without the allowances which made measuring and comparing sizes much easier, providing one remembered to add the allowances before cutting out. A bit more time, but resulted in spectacular garments. Sandra was the first encourage the use of Burda patterns, especially for trousers. Compare a Burda pattern with any of the others and you will see the diffference; the Burda (European cut) crotch is longer in the back pieces and shorter in the front, which makes the material wrap round and eliminates the baggy bottom! Vogue Today's Fit 7027 is a good basic pants pattern. For a classic shirt blouse try Today's Fit 7903.
            I fine-tuned my sewing skills with Sandra Betzina and Marcy Tilton back in the good old days when they had the original Sewing Workshop in San Francisco in the (horrors) 1970s! Their enthusiasm got one fired up to take on anything. Now that my contours have 'matured' I can still be successful with Sandra's patterns. I just wish she and Marcy still did the pattern recommendations in Threads.Happy sewing!Marilyn

          5. ilovefabric | | #21

            Thank you for your informative response.  It gives me hope and also wants to make me run out and look at the patterns you mentioned...right now!!!  Wish I could spend as much time at my sewing machine as I do in front of the computer!!

          6. woodruff | | #28
  3. DONNAKAYE | | #24

    I hope you will forgive me if I didn't read the whole thread discussion.  Where are you in your sewing education?  The reason I ask is, have you set in sleeves yet, constructed cuffs, etc.?  I feel like I can give you some useful guidance but I need more info.

    1. ilovefabric | | #25

      I have been sewing for at least 30 years.  But frankly, I'm just now getting back into sewing clothes for me now that the kids are grown.  (I still do alot of quilting by machine.)  Anyway my skills at pattern alterations are probably not what they should be. 

      I just recently purchased the Power Sewing book by Sandra B. and find it fascinating! 

      My biggest fitting problem though seems to be in the shoulder area.  I cut out the Sandra B. Vogue blouse pattern, thinking it would fit perfect, but I have an access of fabric (that I could almost pleat) that goes vertically down thru the top of the bust from the middle of the should seam.  Did I cut the wrong size?  I did move the bust dart down to accommodate a "lower mature bust" but I don't think that would effect the shoulder area.  Any help you can give would be appreciated!!

      1. DONNAKAYE | | #26

        A fuller bustline usually also means a narrower shoulder line on the figure.  (The old saying goes, large bust, narrow shoulders; small bust, wider shoulders.)  If there's that much ease in the shoulder line and the blouse is already finished (i.e., the sleeves set in), you can simply rip out the shoulder seam and stitch in a dart.  This would also probably make the upper portion of the blouse fit better anyway, especially if you have a rather concave upper chest.  If the fullness also goes into the back upper portion of the blouse between center back and the back part of the sleeve, you can simply carry the dart into the back section of the blouse.  Make sure the dart points to the crown of the bust on the front and the shoulder blade on the back.  Stitch an inside curve or outside curve dart depending on whether you are concave or convex in the upper chest or upper back of your figure.  Make sense?  Also, make sure the termination point of the dart stops at least 1 to 1-1/2 inches short of the crown of the bust.

        Edited 8/9/2006 1:01 pm ET by DonnaKaye

        Edited 8/9/2006 1:02 pm ET by DonnaKaye

        1. ilovefabric | | #27

          Thank you for the info.  Just to make sure, the dart that you are talking about is the one that extends from the shoulder seam.....not the bust dart.  Correct?

          To eliminate this problem in the future, should I have cut a smaller size pattern in the shoulder area?

          1. DONNAKAYE | | #29

            Yes.  The widest part of the dart actually begins at the shoulder seam and the termination point goes to just shy of the crown of the bust in front and the shoulder blade in back.  Make a trial garment and try cutting the smaller size on the shoulder seam (for narrower shoulders).  Don't forget to match the appropriate size in the sleeve cap.  If the bustline fits you well, and you have success with the narrower shoulderline, then you've made it.

          2. ilovefabric | | #31

            Thank you so much...........I can't wait to get back to my sewing machine tonight!!

          3. Teaf5 | | #32

            I have the same problem you have described, and I always take out nearly 3/4" in a dart in the pattern piece shoulder.  The Sandra Betzina tops I tried also had way too much fabric in the chest area, both horizontally and vertically; to use her wonderful styling, I overlaid her pieces onto a better fitting blouse pattern and assembled the new hybrid.

            My thanks to the poster who mentioned the "large bust/small shoulder" rule; I've never heard that, and it doesn't seem intuitive, but it's absolutely true for me!

          4. user-172042 | | #30

            I have narrow shoulders and have found the Nancy Zeiman method of putting a pin in shoulder seam and pivoting to new bust line and drawing a new armscye very helpful. I know I'm not explaining it very well, but this works. I don't go too big on size for tops. I try to get what will fit shoulders and alter the rest. It's easier this way.

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