Sade Blouse, Breaking the Pattern
Posted on Wednesday the 18th March 2020 by Oak Blue Designs
Hello again! I’ve been looking forward to sharing this project with you. I’ve been wanting to sew a project from the book Breaking the Pattern by Named. I made a few, high waisted pants last year so I’ve wanted to make some higher waisted tops to wear with them. For this project I picked the Sade blouse.
For the fabric, I picked a mustard, cotton double gauze. I liked the fabric when I saw it online but I fell in love with the color after I saw it in person. After I washed the fabric, I adored the texture of this crinkly fabric (being a more open weave). Although I’ve worked with double gauze before, the other double gauze fabrics didn’t have as much texture within the weave as this one does.
I used the following sewing machines for this project. I used the standard sewing machine for most of the sewing and the serger to finish the inside seams.
Book, Breaking the Pattern by Named
2m, Double Cotton Gauze Fabric (reference size chart for fabric lengths needed)
1m, Atelier Brunette Moonstone Bias Binding, Blue
2m, Plain linen rustic ribbon, Beige, 8mm
2m Water dissolvable seam stabilizer
70/10 Microtex needle
Bodkin/Iron/Glass head sewing pins
Tracing paper/pen/french curve ruler
The styling and small details included in this book are really stunning. The way they have constructed each of the garments are fun and very unique. At first I thought I would sew the Sade blouse as written. Then, as I usually do, I thought about the construction and wearing it in my day to day life. Although the construction is beautiful as is, I questioned whether I would wear a top with sleeve ties. I also questioned if I would frequently wear a top with the open sleeve slits. It’s very cute but for my lifestyle, it’s not the most practical. I decided I would wear this top more with closed, Bishop style sleeves and with elastic gathered around the cuffs.
Size - 2 at the shoulders/sleeves, grade to a 3 at the waist.
Initially I thought I would sew a muslin for this project. I realized this book encourages you to mix and match elements and “break the pattern.” For the muslin, I thought I would reference the tunic option for the Sade pattern. The tunic has a solid back pattern piece included. I had in mind for the muslin a challenging wool/gauze fabric. I ended up running out of time with the muslin process and decided to abandon it.
The book has paper copies of the patterns included. Admittedly, the process of tracing patterns from a book can take time. Upon studying the patterns a bit, I learned that this book has each pattern printed on one page of paper (overlayed). The pattern pieces aren’t intermixed across multiple pieces of paper but instead one pattern is on one piece of paper. As I’ve noticed each pattern book has it’s own way of formatting the included paper patterns, it’s helpful to study the pattern sheets a bit before tracing out a pattern.
The Sade blouse has a label on the pattern sheet, for reference. After I finished this project, I found on the Named website a location where you can download the pattern PDFs from the book (if you’d rather tape a PDF together instead of tracing out the overlayed pattern pieces). Although I appreciate that the book comes with the paper pattern, in the future I’ll be taking advantage of the digital PDF option. I believe this will save me time with the tracing for future patterns from this book.
I didn’t find a size chart to reference the size/tracing lines (which line is associated with which size). To determine which lines to trace, I held up a ruler to the lower line. I found that the lower line is shorter than the top line (so the lower line is the size 1).
I thought I’d share how I modified the sleeves. I laughed a bit as I went through this process as I felt I was “unhacking” a hacked pattern. More commonly, people will “pattern hack” a pattern to modify and add a unique detail (to change the original pattern). The Sade blouse (the original pattern) has sleeves with open slits and an open paneled back, included in the pattern.
To modify the sleeves, I first traced out the left and right sleeve panels. I folded under the seam allowances along the inside edges of each of the two sleeve panels. At the top shoulder notch line, I overlayed each of the sleeve panels together.
I then laid the bottom of the sleeve edges together.
Using washi tape, I taped each of the sleeve panels together to create a single sleeve pattern piece (removing the slit details).
For the front and back bodice pieces, I graded out from a 2 at the top of a bodice to a three at the waist. This size grading occurred through the bust dart so I added tracing paper to smooth out the transition through the bust dart. I tested this transition by folding the bust dart on the traced pattern pieces:
I had to be careful with fabric as my sleeve mod used more fabric than the pattern originally intended. I layed out the front and back bodice pieces in the following layout to have enough fabric remaining to cut out the sleeves:
Size - Same as mentioned above.
For the final I used the polkadot mustard double gauze fabric from Minerva. As you can see from the photo, this fabric is quite prone to wrinkling.
I had to think upfront about how I wanted to approach the texture of the fabric. I have sewn with double gauze before but the previous fabric that I used did not have this much texture. I needed to commit upfront if I wanted to iron the fabric every time I wear the top or embrace the wrinkles and leave the fabric un-ironed.
Before sewing, if I ironed the fabric flat, cut out the pattern pieces and then decided later I liked the wrinkles, the garment would be smaller than I intended. The same issue would occur if I went the other way. If I left the fabric wrinkled, cut out and sewed the top,and I decided later to wear it wrinkled, then it would be much bigger than I intended.
I decided to go with leaving the fabric wrinkled/not ironed. I love the texture of the open weave in this fabric. I felt like the texture in this fabric is quite unique so I thought it would be fun to highlight the texture. I left the fabric wrinkled as I cut out the top. As I sewed the top, I ironed each seam but I threw the finished top in the wash (to bring back the texture).
I tried a “new to me” technique for hand basting the bust darts in place. I’ve tried tailor's tacks a few times to mark sewing notations on garments. I haven’t loved my execution of tailor's tacks so I have wanted to keep coming back to this technique.
I found this really helpful video tutorial from Threads Magazine for how to hand baste bust dart seams. I followed the video and decided to mark the baste lines with the pattern. With this technique, you baste the bust dart seam with thread. You then pull the thread and then have a handy sewing line to sew the final bust dart on the machine.
I decided to pull the end of the bust dart thread through to the wrong side of the fabric so that I could reference the final dart tip. I tied the tails of the bust dart in place and was quite happy with the finished result for this “new to me technique.” I will definitely use this technique over tailor’s tacks in the future (for darts).
For the bias binding at the neckline, I did not want to have the binding show on the right side of the fabric (as written in the pattern). I picked a viscose, pre-made bias binding by Atelier Brunette from Minerva (to match the drape of the double gauze). I didn’t want to hand make bias binding with the double gauze. In hindsight I wish I would have picked a single fold bias tape instead of a double fold. When I have used this technique in the past for necklines, I have liked the flatness and less bulky option of a single fold bias tape to enclose the neckline on the wrong side. The result with my top is a little bulkier than I would have liked (that is just me being picky).
To finish the cross back feature on the top I did not finish the edges with bias tape. Instead I used a tape adhesive and folded over the fabric twice. This helped to stabilize the seam but also quickly enclosed the raw edges of the fabric.
I decided to omit ties at the sleeve cuffs. I felt like the ties would get in the way for me or become a hazard when cooking, eating, etc. I decided instead to gather then sleeve cuffs with elastic.
I have learned that I really like hand finishing the edges of thin tie closures. In the past when I have sewn a double fold seam along a thin fabric tape, the seam gets mangled and does not look nice. I used a hand sewing needle and thread and sewed two lines of stitches along each end of the tie, matching the mustard thread. I folded under the raw edge of the ties, twice.
Although I haven’t sewn a drawstring waist for a top, I have sewn lots and lots of drawstring waists in pants. One feature I love to include in drawstring pants is to sew the string in place along the two side seams. The convenience of a drawstring is quite fun but the hassle of it getting twisted or falling out during washing can get wet quite annoying. I decided to add this side seam feature in this top as well. I first pulled the drawstring so that the front of the top was gathered. I made sure the drawstring was flat along the casing. I sewed the drawstring in place along each side of the two side seams, hiding these extra stitches in the seam and holding the drawstring in place.
I would really enjoy making this top again but try the solid back and short sleeves (including the split sleeve detail included in the short sleeve, tunic version).
As a side note, I love exclusively using silk head pins now when sewing. I enjoy being able to iron while the pins are in place in the fabric (and not worry about the heads of the sewing pins melting).
I have a few larger scraps of fabric leftover from this project. I love how the double gauze looks like a quilted blanket. I’m planning on sharing these leftover scraps by serging the edges and offering them to kids as baby doll/stuffed animal quilts.
I love the contrast of the billowy texture in the fabric but a tailored drawstring waist, shaped bust darts, and gathered sleeve cuffs.
I’m so glad I decided to leave the fabric un-ironed. It’s been really fun to wear this top with high waisted pants and I love grabbing it out of the dryer, ready to wear. Happy sewing to you!