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!