Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Simplicity 9816 blouse + Weed the Garden skirt

Fitting a simple blouse isn't as simple as it should be, in my opinion. Only time will tell how this latest effort will work out. For today, I'm mildly pleased with this top and its sister, a cantaloupe-colored version.

A convertible collar is one of my favorites; it has the substance of a real collar, it isn't too frilly or girly, it frames the face, and yet it doesn't sit up high enough on the neck to interfere with hair or get makeup rubbed on it from the chin. This blouse pattern is a basic convertible collar offering, Simplicity 9816, now out of print. My copy came from the thrift store; it was 10 cents! This must have been one of Simplicity's earlier cup-sized patterns.

I have finally learned that the cup sizing should not be taken too literally. Even though I wear a D cup bra size, the D pieces give too much room in the bust for me. C is just right.

I think roundness at the upper back (which surely isn't getting any less as I get older, let me tell you) is at the root of my blouse-fitting challenges. I really want to master adjusting a yoked shirt pattern for this issue, but I thought it would be sensible to achieve a good fit on a non-yoked pattern first. Since my fabric is a very nice seersucker (from FabricMart, what isn't?) with a stripe, I didn't really want a center back seam. Threads has a great alteration tutorial with an awful name: The Dowager's Hump. Even though this article covers the various possible approaches to altering for this problem in a more comprehensive way than Fit for Real People, it's hard to look that truth in the face.

Oh well, Threads showed me how to add length at the upper back and then add neckline darts to do the High Round Back alteration without using a center back seam.

I still feel a little restriction at the sleeves, though. I may need to add a bit of width to the back at the mid-armhole level. Or something.

The collar turned out well! I narrowed it 5/8" from the original pattern, and really, I might even narrow it some more for future efforts. Patterns generally only vary the length of the collar (the part that goes around the neck opening) with the different sizes, not the width. Which doesn't make much sense, considering that my shoulders are a good three or four inches narrower than the largest size for this pattern.

Other adjustments were to shorten the blouse 1 1/2" and to omit the front darts.

I'm wearing it this first day of May with another recent item, a cousin to my Walk the Dog skirt. The mud color of this fabric (a verrry stiff cotton canvas by Marc Jacobs by way of FabricMart) makes it appropriate to utilitarian uses, so I am thinking of it as a Weed the Garden skirt.

The main thing is, it has pockets. Nothing else matters that much.


  1. This looks like an excellent basic and your skirt also looks really smart. I find my broad upper back and shoulders so hard to fit that I have retreated to easy knits. Once day I will work out the adjustments I need.

    1. Kestrel, thank you so much! You've got a free pass for a while yet on the back and shoulder fitting--with pregnancy changes, easy knits are the best solution to every fitting issue!