The Great British Sewing Bee Blouse with Collar

So, the stash-busting continues… It’s getting trickier, as mostly what I have left now is Summer-weight fabric, completely uninspiring as Winter finally makes an appearance here in the North West of England. A fabric which did catch my attention though was this beautiful, ‘flower bomb’ pattern left over from my circle skirt, see here. I’ve no idea how I managed to acquire so much of this fabric, I’ve already run up a matching top as you can see in my previous post.

I’d actually printed out The Great British Sewing Bee Blouse with Collar pattern about six months ago, after seeing a couple of nice examples on various blogs. I’m not really sure why I hadn’t used it before, but this fabric seemed the perfect match for it.


I really liked this pattern 🙂 It started with the construction of the collar, which was pretty straight forward. I struggled a bit with pressing the curved seams, I guess this is where a sewing ham would come in mighty handy (I did have one on my recent birthday list, but the relative in question couldn’t find one, so sent me money instead to source my own. I’ve looked locally, but couldn’t find one either. I guess I’ll resort to the internet. If anyone knows anywhere appropriate, let me know 🙂 ).

This is only the second time I’ve used French Seams on a piece of clothing. I really enjoyed the process and liked the neatness it created, especially for a blouse, which you clearly wear closer to your skin. I can really see why so many bloggers choose to use this method every time. However, as this top was coming together, it started to look mighty small 😦 With this in mind, I omitted the turned up sleeve as they were looking far too slim as it was! By the time I came to completing the French seams up the sides, it was looking ridiculously small, fast becoming a bit of a thing for me, see here.

I figured I’d soldier on anyway, so completed the neckline. Luckily I’d saved some bias binding I’d run up for my previous top in this material and there was just enough, so this spurred me on to finish it regardless of the size issues. As I’d chosen to complete a collar in the same material (rather than use a contrasting fabric as demonstrated in the book), I thought it would be fun to use some lace to make a kind of double collar. It was a little fiddly to attach (including the interfacing, six layers of fabric in all), but I was pleased with how it turned out.

But sure enough, when it came to the trying it on, although I just about wriggled into it, it was far too small across the bust and upper arms, as you can probably see in the photo below…


Rubbish, mirror-selfie sorry, but I was worried that if I’d attempted to make it downstairs and outside, I’d be in danger of ripping several seams on the way! I really like this top, and it would have been perfect with my favourite, linen Ginger in the Summer, so it’s a real shame! I cut out an English size 10, the given measurements came up quite small, but this should have been ok. Out of interest I looked back through my pattern off cuts and came across the test square. Mmmmm…  this is where I should have looked more closely at an earlier stage. When I got my ruler out, it came out a good half inch smaller on each side, so at least I worked out the problem, and clearly a good lesson learnt. The clue was in the name really… Test square, doh!

For now I’m going to pack it away for the Winter, with a few other lighter items that somehow escaped my earlier wardrobe-switch. Come Spring, possibly I could undo the French seams up the sides (and arms) and re-do as ‘normal’ seams, which might give me a little extra room to play with…. Either that or find a smaller friend to hand it over to, ho hum!



27 thoughts on “The Great British Sewing Bee Blouse with Collar

  1. Such a shame, it’s lovely, and would have looked great with your circle skirt.
    I did the same once with a PDF pattern but realised after I’d stuck it all together, so not quite as bad.
    What if you chopped the arms off? That might give some extra room across the bust too?

    • Thank you! I was so pleased with the collar as well…I might have a go at removing the sleeves as Thimberlina suggested, just to see if that makes it wearable, even if totally seasonably inappropriate…

  2. Tilley and the Buttons blogged about making your own Tailors Ham. It’s pretty easy. Like making a pillow stuffed with sawdust! I have saved the post for myself. You should try to make one! Sorry about the Blouse! I have done that, ending up with the finished product being too uncomfortable or too small or not what I expected. That’s how I keep the charity shops in business!

  3. I made my own tailors ham and roll. There are plenty of tutorials online. I decided to avoid the tutorials with darts in as I thought the ridge of the sewn dart might lump through onto whatever I was pressing. My ham curves just fine without darts and packing the sawdust in was fun (avoid mess by filling in a large mixing bowl to catch the debris then vacuum the outside of the ham after seeing up the hole to get the bits off).

  4. So sorry it’s too small! Maybe you could also add a small panel of extra fabric running down the side seams if undoing the French seams and removing the sleeves doesn’t give you quite enough room. A lace panel to match your collar might look good– and give you some breathing room.

  5. Sorry your blouse doesn’t fit, it’s so cute! The collar is really lovely. There are tons of simple tutorials online for making your own ham. Oddly enough, sourcing the stuffing was the hitch for me so I got a ready-made one for Christmas. The cheapest I found were through sewing shops in eBay.

  6. Oh nooo! Blumming printers. If nothing else this is a perfect practice run so when you make it again you’ll whizz it up in no time! But if letting out the French seams works this can have a new lease of life!

    • I know! I’ve learnt my lesson, but hopefully thanks to many helpful suggestions I should be able to rescue it, fingers crossed… And yes, I’ll definitely be having another go at this next Spring 🙂

  7. Pingback: Why I love this little corner of the internet… | navybluethreads

  8. Pingback: #MeMadeMay 2015 Week 1 | navybluethreads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s