Tutorial: Pendrell Blouse – Muslin and Pattern Alterations

This evening I stitched up a muslin for the Pendrell Blouse. In the sew-along schedule this week was choosing a size, fitting and pattern alterations. From my measurements I fit quite well into the size 10 column. I measured my high bust as suggested by Tasia and found that the difference between my bust and high-bust is 2″ – right on the boundary of the guideline of whether you need a FBA or not. As it’s a relaxed fit blouse I decided to go without the FBA and make a muslin first to check the fit.

Sadly I forgot to take photos of the muslin, and didn’t remember until after I’d cut it up again to mark the changes on my pattern pieces, however I did take some photos to document how I shortened the pattern, as I did it slightly differently to how Tasia did in her post on the topic.

I decided to shorten the pattern by 2.5″ so that it sits just above my hips (just at the level of the top of the pockets of my jeans). Tasia has done a great job drafting the pattern and the hem goes in slightly in the hem allowance to make it easier to hem and I wanted to re-create that detail in my alteration.

Below is what the bottom of the side front pattern piece looks like (as an example, but the process is the same for all four pieces). The notches indicate the hem line, which I’ve drawn in in black pen:

As you can see, below the hem line the pattern piece tapers in slightly in the hem allowance on the right hand side; this is to assist with the hemming – if it didn’t you’d end up with extra fabric in the hem and it would be a pain. (On a related note, on patterns that taper in at the bottom, for example the Jenny Skirt, you get the opposite – the hem allowance tapers outwards).

I shortened my pattern pieces by 2.5″, so the first thing I did was measure a line 2.5″ above the hem line I marked on the pattern piece to designate the new length:

I then measured back down the length of the hem allowance, which in this case was 1.5″ to mark my new cutting line, and cut along it:

This gives me the basic adjustment to shorten my pattern piece, but I no longer have the handy tapering in the hem allowance, so I need to mark that back on.

To do this I folded along the “new length” line:

You can see above the little triangle of where the hem allowance is bigger than the actual blouse once the hem is folded – that’s the bit we want to get rid of or it’ll bunch up when hemming the blouse.
So I drew along the edge of the pattern piece onto the hem allowance to mark that triangle:
And snipped it off:
Now my pattern piece has the nice tapering in the hem allowance, which will make hemming the blouse a much nicer experience. (If you try this yourself remember to do the same to all the bodice pattern pieces!)

I hope these photos help anyone else that wants to make the same alteration – please comment or email me if you have any questions.

The other alteration I made was to take out about 1cm on each side of the centre back piece along the princess seams, tapering off to start and finish at my shoulder blades and about 3″ above the hem. I decided to do this because it was looking very baggy at the back (particularly as my back is very sway-ey). As I was making the changes to the muslin I could double check that I can still get the blouse on and off over my head, which I can.

Now I’m ready to cut out my fashion fabric, but I want to wait to see what tips Tasia posts in her sew-along first.

1 Comment

  1. Jill

    Hi, I know this is an old post, but just wanted to pop in and say I found this really helpful. I never would've thought of the tapering!


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