I've been working on this top for a couple months. The sewing was quick, but making multiple pattern copies, a couple muslins, and working on the fit took me several days and a lot of extra thought time. I first noticed this pattern when Anna Graham of Noodlehead made one for herself a couple years ago. I immediately liked it, but assumed it wouldn't fit me as all of my previous me-sewing projects were flops. Over the past couple months I've read quite a few blogs (Cashmerette being my favorite inspiration!) on using any pattern and making it fit correctly. Liesl Gibson, designer of my favorite Oliver + S children's patterns and Lisette patterns, has also written some very helpful blog posts about fit.
I started by using my measurements, which put me in four different sizes, and just making the largest size muslin in the Datura Blouse. It was too big everywhere! So I made the next size down, which was a lot better. No gaping in the back around my arms, no sagging in the front, and just about right around the middle. The darts were very definitely too small/short and too high. I read and researched more blogs for information on FBAs (full bust adjustments) and just wasn't feeling confident that I would get it right. Liesl highly recommended Fit For Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using Any Pattern by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto, so Miss H and I picked it up at Barnes and Noble. I spent the next few days reading much of the book and learning too much for my brain to hold.
I made a couple more pattern copies as I adjusted darts: breaking out several colors of sharpies, making them bigger and then smaller again, longer and finally moving them down. Once I had what seemed close, I made another muslin to try on. The muslin helped me assess the way actual fabric drapes and hangs. I made a couple more dart adjustments, and changed the length. I then made a final muslin, showed it to Tom and a friend, and set it aside for a few weeks while I sewed through some custom orders and Kid's Clothes Week.
Every time I would sort through my sewing stack, I'd just reshuffle the Datura pattern and fabric back into the pile. This last week I hit a sewing block and wasn't sure what to work on, so I hemmed my jeans and thought about cutting into my beautiful fabric; a rayon challis by Joel Dewberry. Friday night I did it! Then, Friday and Saturday nights I sewed.
This top went together pretty quickly. The instructions were well written and translated. I had to re-read the parts about sewing the shoulder seams together quite a few times to make sense of a method that I'd never used yet really liked in the end. This is the first time I've sewn with rayon, and it was pretty easy and basic! Tom stayed up laaaaaaaate with me on Saturday night while I hemmed and attached my snaps. I tried it on a couple times as I was putting it together and kept feeling amazed that it was still fitting the way I wanted.
I love the end result and will definitely be making more of these! I even got to wear it for my birthday/Mother's Day.
Pattern: Datura Blouse by Dear & Doe
Fabric: Dainty Daisies, Lavender in Rayon Challis by Joel Dewberry from Harts Fabric in Santa Cruz
Modifications: Changed dart length, depth, and placement, and added 1.5" length