In which I pretend to be a 40/50's era Gillian Anderson


Last year my husband and I decided to watch season 1 of "The Fall" together.  It was an enjoyable if super creepy time until the end. At that point I might have shouted, "You Bastards!" at the cliffhanger ending. (I come from a long line of TV yellers.)  My take away from the the series was, A. My brain will always be semi scared of poor Jamie Dornan, who I'm sure is actually a lovely person. And B. Who ever was dressing Gillian Anderson needs to take me shopping.  If you've never watched "The Fall", it's about a serial killer with Gillian Anderson playing the detective trying to find him. Her wardrobe is full of tailored suits paired with silk blouses of various colors. She comes off as professional but coldly sensious, which seems to drive some of her male co-workers a little crazy.
Obviously I wasn't the only one taken with her collection of silk blouses since Lisa Comfort decided to design a pattern inspired by the show.  When it was posted on the Sew Over It instagram feed last year I was sobbing lightly after reading it was only available in a class. But I wants the precious and I don't live in the UK. *Sniff, sniff* Thankfully all I had to do was wait and now the pattern is available as a PDF for those of us who reside across the pond.
I'd classify this pattern as beginner level blouse pattern since there's no darts, collars/collar stands, button bands to deal with. The cuffs do call for button holes, but having to sew two is a lot easier than making a standard button down shirt. So here's the thing about me and beginner level patterns.....I can't leave well enough alone.  At first I'm all like, "Oh and easy project that I can zone out on." But I never really do that. Instead I start redrafting the pattern because I'm not a beginner and I'm dangerously equipped with "textbook" pattern drafting knowledge. That said, there wasn't any major redrafting done on the Anderson blouse. I think this pattern has a solid base, but there were one or two details of the drafting that weren't to my liking. Then add to that my usual personal preference changes that have nothing to do with the draft of the pattern. The things you change because it's your garment and you can. So here's a breakdown of what I liked and didn't like, and what was changed just for my tastes.

Things I liked about the pattern as drafted
- The back neckline is finished with bias binding that is slip stitched down.  This gives you a pretty clean edge that won't flip out like a facing would.
- The fronts are finished with fold over facings. I found these to be drafted wide enough that they weren't prone to flapping out the neckline.

- The sleeve caps have just the right amount of ease. Just a little for movement, but not so much that you have problems setting the sleeves pucker free.  I'm also like the width of the sleeve itself. Feel like it would have been easy to stray into 80's puffy sleeve land, but these perfect.

Things I didn't like as drafted
- If you make this blouse as instructed then the sleeve slit is part of the underarm seam. When scanning the directions I saw this and said NOPE.  On the good side it will take you all of 10 minutes to move the pleat, add a slit and draft a piece of continuous binding. (Steps for this are under the Confessions/Advice section.)
- The bottom of the blouse is cut straight across and finished by sewing a casting and inserting some ribbon to gather it up. As someone who has always had a "large for her frame" butt, anything that gathers around that area sends me into a fit of hives.  I did some brainstorming for alternate finishes and didn't come up with anything that would look all that great if the blouse was worn untucked. So I procrastinated another day and then decided that I didn't really want to wear the blouse untucked and finished it with a rolled hem.

Things I changed just because I'm picky about clothing in a way that drove my mother crazy when it was her job to clothe me.
-  Instead of gathering the shoulders I turned that area into pleats.  It's more of a 40's look which appeals to me, but might not appeal to everyone.
- The pattern comes with a narrow cuff. After making a muslin I didn't care for the narrow cuff and widened it to the same width as some button down patterns in the stash.
With my mods I'm pretty pleased with this blouse. It's got a bit of a vintage-ish vibe when paired with a pencil skirt that is gonna work great with my wardrobe. Now on to all the review details!

Sew Over It's Anderson Blouse

Fabrics used
Double silk georgette (This was purchased from Tessuti fabrics years and years ago. Sorry because I know a lot of you like it.)

Pattern changes/alterations
1. Standard 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment to the sleeve and shoulder.

2. Took the shoulder width in 1/4".

3. Changed the side seam from a straight line to a curved one to remove a bit of the ease at the waist. Removed around 1/2" on the quarter for 2" of ease removed at the waist through the entire garment

4. Changed the gathers to pleats.

5. Redrafted the sleeve to be a standard shirtmakers sleeve with a continuous bias binding.

6. Increased width of the cuff to a finished width of 2 1/4".

7. Sleeve length was reduced 1" since I'd increased the size of the cuff.

- The sleeve redraft is super simple because the only thing missing is the cut line to make the slit. I converted one side of the pleat to the cut line and moved the pleat.

1. The left side of the pleat will be converted to the slash line so first we will move the pleat to the right.  Measure out the 1 1/4" from the right pleat mark.

2. Cross out the old pleat fold marking and draw in an arrow over the new pleat location.

3. Go back to the leftmost mark and extent to up to the length you want the sleeve slit to be.  Mine is 2 1/2" finished. (So 2 1/2" plus the 5/8" seam allowance for the cuff, 3 1/4 total.)

4. Last step is to draft a rectangle to be the bias binding for the slit.  The rectangle should be twice as long as your slit length plus seam allowance.  Mine is 6 1/2" line.  The width depends on what seam allowance you will use to attach the piece and how wide you want the finished binding to look.  I sew sleeve bindings on with a 1/4" SA and like them to be around 1/4" finished. My binding piece is drafted to be 1 1/2" wide.

- I was a dum dum and transferred one of my slit markings incorrectly to the cutting paper. Didn't notice it until I'd cut the slit in the fabric and tried to sew the binding on.  So on this blouse the sleeve slits are 3 1/2" instead of the drafted 2 1/2".

- In my humble opinion this is not a blouse to wear untucked. Here's my photographic evidence. Having it tucked into a fitted bottom makes all that ease look good. Hanging on it own....not so much. Tucked in though, it's sooo good.

- Want to convert the gathered area on the shoulder to pleats like I did? Here's a look at my pattern.
The 3 pleats are around 1 3/8". There's a bit of fudging here to make everything fit in the marked out gather area. Between the pleats is 1" so that they don't stack right on top of each other.  All the pleats were folded towards the neck.

- I used the old stiffen it with gelatin trick on this double georgette and had a very pleasant sewing experience. Here's a link to the Threads article which explained it to me.

Husband Comment
"Ooooh, blousey. That's a cool fabric."

My Final Thoughts
Even with my anal retentive tweaking this project sewed up really fast. It took me only a week even with the time suck of cutting silk between paper. Speaking of silk, this is the perfect pattern for using some of those long stashed lengths in the stash. I'm thrilled how great this almost 5 year old georgette looks sewn up and how the blouse pairs with my collection of pencil skirts.  I'm pretty sure another Anderson blouse is in my future.
So that was a good start to my FESA sewing. Froggie thinks that the Smooth Sailing trousers might also pair well with an Anderson blouse. He's probably right, but I started another pencil skirt instead.  Trouser fitting will wait for another day or until someone prods me into doing it. Please someone prod me a little. Or come sew some pant for me. I have cookies! Please?

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