Monday, March 17, 2008

Not Reinventing the Wheel

The sleeve on your left is the "new" sleeve. But it's not really new, since I traced the actual Burda sleeve from the 01/2008 issue. Because this is a gathered sleeve, I figured I'd have some leeway in my adjustment "techniques." I measured my sleeveband and then noted the measurement for the largest size Burda sleeveband (size 42) and calculated the difference (4.25"). I slashed my tracing straight down the middle, parallel to the grainline, and spread it that amount. Voila! Done. Oh wait, I also added another 1/2" to the bottom when I cut the muslin because to my eye it looked a wee bit too short for me.

But the proof is in the pudding, right? So I cut out one sleeve and sewed it to the other armhole of yesterday's muslin.

I think this will do just fine. Still puffed, but so much less so. And it fits great. If only all sleeve alterations were so easy.

The problem stems from PMB's default puffed sleeve, which I just clicked buttons to produce and cut out as is, planning to try it and see and if that didn't work, move on to morphing the actual Burda sleeve. You can see the whopping difference in the two sleeve patterns below and why the PMB sleeve was completely overwhelming. But I had to try it just to know.

Yesterday I also sewed a sway back tuck into the muslin which made a huge improvement. Still need to move those darts though.

This morning I've made what I hope are the final tweaks to the pattern:

1. If you look at the photo above with me wearing the new sleeve, you can see vertical folds. (Ignore the diagonal fold as it's an anomoly from the too-long collar.) I really shouldn't have extended the shoulders, at least not on a puffed sleeve blouse where (I learned today) it's actually better to reduce the shoulder width a little and let the room of the puff compensate. Live (make muslins) and learn. So I trimmed the front shoulder, tapering to nothing going into the bottom of the armhole and darted the back (since I actually like back shoulder darts).

2. I incorporated the swayback tuck into the back pattern piece and I'm now debating whether to cut it with a CB seam, mostly because the original Burda pattern has a CB seam and I'm trying to copy it as closely as possible.

3. I traced the Burda collar and stand pieces and morphed my PMB pieces to match, as well as shortening the PMB pieces overall since yesterday's muslin told me they were too long.

I'm going to cut one more muslin because I'd rather be safe than sorry, and it really doesn't take very long to sew ugly. ;-) I especially need to test the altered collar and stand since it would be a major drag to get almost done with the real blouse and then be fiddling with those. (Note to self: get that fabric in the washer!)

Parting shot: All of the odd bobbins I've used up sewing muslins, with 2 more still in the machine.


  1. I like the new sleeve. I'm always guilty of not reinventing the wheel, especially with sleeves. There's just too much that can get funky. Thanks for letting us follow along! Obviously, I cook much more than I sew, and am frustrated that there's never enough "Marjie can sew!" time. Well, I guess there's always next weekend....

  2. I also like the new sleeve-I think the blouse will be grand. It is a good thing that you have shown us a way to get the flavor of a puffy sleeve look without the frou frou. I think even the skinny minnies or young women would prefer the toned down version. mssewcrazy

  3. You look terrific in this new sleeve,Debbie. I'm starting to think about sewing more 'feminine' tops for myself, but worried about them being a bit too-too. You've given me hope!
    Aless(who forgets her p/w!!)

  4. Now that looks really good. I think that this sleeve really makes the blouse. Young and trendy, but not too young or over the top. I need to make this top!

  5. It's looking pretty good. I like the BWOF sleeve even though I'm not usually a fan of gathered sleeves. Interesting comparison with the PMB draft.

  6. The muslin looks very nice on you. Very flattering. I wish PMB had a lower gathered sleeve settings than two. (Nothing has changed in PMB4). We should ask Lisa.

  7. I like the new sleeve - it definitely looks better. This is a cute top Debbie!

  8. I have to admit I thought you were crazy when you started the project, as I'm in the same size range as you and couldn't imagine wearing such a thing. But I knew why you did it, the dart manipulation is oh so cool. Now that you have gotten to the point that the blouse actually fits, it looks really cute! Proof once again that well-fitted things look much better than just a big old sack.

  9. You pulled this one out with the sleeve alteration. Now I'm in suspence waiting to see the fashion fabric.

  10. I"m with everyone who likes the new sleeve. I'm really impressed with the process you're going through to get this blouse to work for you.


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