For my second Loubodu Fabrics blog project, I was immediately drawn to the range of bold leopard viscose fabrics. I loved them all, but opted for the brown colour-way as I could see it working well in my wardrobe. I didn’t have a specific project in mind at this point, although I was thinking a dress would be a great option.
Once the fabric arrived and I saw how beautifully flowy it was, I started to think that a blouse with billowy sleeves would be amazing. I already had the in my stash but was yet to make it, so this was what I decided on.
About the pattern...
The Nexus is a versatile, long-sleeved blouse that can be worn with its v-neck button up feature to the front or the back. There are two hem and sleeve options that can be mix and matched – I opted for the shirt-tail hemline and the cuffed, gathered sleeve with button fastening.
After pre-washing and drying the fabric, I was ready to cut out. I took my up-to-date measurements (These are constantly changing as my pregnancy progresses) and looked at the sizing charts. I decided to cut out a size 5 at the bust, grading to a 6 at the waist and hips. I also lengthened the front and back bodice pieces by 4 inches to give me some extra coverage over my bump – a little note here, I failed to add the extra length on to the facing pieces (Something I realised later!) To cut out the fabric, I used my rotary cutter and cutting mat with lots of pattern weights and wonder clips to ensure the fabric didn’t shift around.
Working with viscose...
When sewing with viscose, the fabric can sometimes pull and snag. To avoid this, I decided to use a Microtex needle. This worked really well and I had no pulling on the fabric at all. I used my overlocker to finish all seams – the instructions guide you as to which pieces need to be finished. I found the instructions really straight forward to follow with clear diagrams to demonstrate each of the steps. Papercut Patterns categorise their patterns in three levels: Rookie, Skilled and Expert. This blouse is a ‘Skilled’ level pattern and I would have to agree. Although most of it is a pretty straightforward sew, there are some more complex techniques such as the gathering of the sleeve (Which I found a little frustrating – so much fabric to gather in to a small space!) and the buttonholes. Luckily, my sewing machine, the Brother Innovis F420, makes sewing buttonholes an absolute breeze – no problems at all. It can also sew buttons on, but I actually prefer doing this step by hand. I would like to recommend a couple of essential tools for accurate and neat buttonholes: the Simflex sewing gauge and the Clover buttonhole chisel. The Simflex allows you to mark out evenly-spaced buttonholes in a really straightforward way while the chisel cuts the buttonholes neatly with no risk of ripping your fabric.
I am happy with my finished garment and feel very comfortable wearing it. However, I think a couple of tweaks would make it perfect. Firstly, I need to move the buttons on the sleeve cuffs so that the cuffs sit more tightly at my wrists and don’t slip down over my hands. This is a simple change which I can make straight away. The other change, which I will have to implement on the next version I make, is to actually size down. I think a size 4 at the bust grading to a 5 at the waist and hips would have given a better fit, although this version does have plenty of growing room and will probably serve me all the way through my pregnancy!
If you’re looking for a blouse pattern, I would definitely recommend this one. It’s a pretty straight-forward sew and the billowy sleeves give a lot of drama.
Thank you for reading.
Love Tamlyn xx