Work shirt conundrum

4 Jan

>As a total aside to my post subject, I so love the way when I type a pattern company name and pattern number into a search engine it often turns up vintage patterns as well as the current ones.
This are the patterns I found for Simplicity 9816:

I have taken to checking online for reviews of patterns I am about to sew for the first time (if I was really organised I would do it before I bought them, eh?) The most frequent site that comes up is the wonderful Sewing Pattern Review, then come individual blogs, (found some fantastic blogs through doing this).

I need a few boring boring boring but practical, simple, easy to wear and look after work shirts. For the past few years I have been getting rtw shirts from op-shops. But I am tired of the back, and often the waist, being too long, and the sleeves too tight. Worst of all I am sick of the little safety pin I often have to use to combat gaposis.

I am making my own! Years ago I bought a Vogue “Today’s Fit” pattern, V7903 for these kind of shirts. (Before I got sidetracked by op-shopping.)

I love the 3 darts at the waist (you’ll just have to believe me that they are there!)
I googled the pattern reviews. A review by kbenco proved very helpful. She had tried the pattern and had a lot of trouble getting it to fit. Happily for me she supplied photos. I took one look at her wearing her 3rd(?) attempt at the blouse, and it was still ill-fitting, and went ‘uh oh’. She has a very similar build to me. From the comments on her review, I learnt “Today’s Fit” is drafted upon very different lines to the usual patterns of the “big 4” pattern companies. This fact isn’t clear either in the pattern book, on the back of the pattern (which I always check before buying) nor in the instructions inside. I found this online when I went looking, that explains the draft after reading the comments. Apparently it is based on a study of the body shapes of 7000 American women. I commend Sandra Betzina’s efforts to make patterns that are more accessible to the home sewer, but it didn’t look like her efforts worked to fit kbenco’s figure, thus unlikely to fit mine either.

(I wonder if there is any significant difference between Australian womens’ overall body shape and American womens’? When living in NZ it seemed to me there was quite a noticeable difference between NZ womens’ body shapes generally, and Australian.)

Anyway, due to kbenco and a number of other women’s generousity with their experiences, I sadly put the three darts blouse aside. I have two other possibilities in my stash:
Simplicity 9816, the first pattern pictured in this post, and Simplicity 8872

(sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂

They blouses are quite similar in look and I had no idea how to choose.

Mum came to the rescue! She said “The collars are different, one is made to button right to the top[the second blouse], the other is obviously made to be left open at the top [the first one]. Which would you prefer?”
Aha! A direction. Phew. I never button up to my neck. I am not sure which would kill me sooner – heat exhaustion or choking.
The thing that put me off the non-button-up blouse is that it isn’t standard sizing. After discarding the Vogue Today’s Fit pattern for that reason I am leary to use another one with non-standard sizing. It may have taken me most of my sewing years to work out how to fit a “standard” pattern (And I am still learning) but DO know how to adjust them to get a passable fit from most patterns I attempt nowadays.
It was the dart options that swayed me in further favour of the non-button-up blouse. It has a bust dart. I have a bust. I have a waist. I have hips. I need bust darts or my clothes stick out the front and (inexplicably) slide back over my shoulders. A properly fitting bust dart fixes this.
The reviews are mostly positive, some have had trouble with the sleeve being too big, some with it too tight. But everyone seems to like the fitting of the bust etc. I couldn’t find a review for the button-up-to-the-neck pattern at all.
So I am going to take a deep breath, get an old sheet to make a muslin, grab the tape measure, and try it out. I reserve the right to make a post tearing my hair out if I have trouble getting it to fit nicely!

One Response to “Work shirt conundrum”

  1. Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    >Definitely a bust dart makes a big difference.


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