Thursday, September 29, 2016

Camas Blouse muslin

Who wants to look at a tortured muslin with me?

And talk about tortured...I apologize in advance for these photos. I could NOT get the color to show up well. Either they were super dark or blown out. It's been raining all week so I can't get outside. Sad face.

I've had the Camas Blouse pattern from Thread Theory for quite a while. I even had it printed at a copy shop in large format. But it's a tricky pattern when it comes to choosing fabric. It's designed for knits with enough drape to gather in a pretty fashion, but the fabric also needs enough stability to support a placket and buttons. Lots of people have sewn it with combinations of knits in stripes and prints, but I'm just not that into crazy fabric mixing. Eventually, I decided to go ahead with a lightweight solid-colored rayon knit and make a (hopefully wearable) muslin.

I honestly forgot I had this fabric. I remember I made a Seamwork Aberdeen from it and it was awful. The fabric was thin and possibly off-grain and just the worst. I actually tossed the shirt, and I never do that. I stumbled upon the rest of the cut in my stash and decided to forge ahead with it for this muslin. At least it would be used up in a useful fashion.

First off, choosing a size was difficult for me, but that is NOT the fault of the pattern. Thread Theory included a TON of help in this area, along with an exhaustive chart of finished measurements.

The biggest complaint I read about this pattern is the low cut, but there is a measurement specifically addressing this ("neckline drop"). My concern was fitting a largeish nursing bust when the rest of my frame is not that large. I also have narrow shoulders and sometimes have trouble with the whole yoke-plus-gathered-back look. I ended up making a size 6.

Right off the bat, I think I can size down. Thoughts?

Now the real sad part. The hem is all crazy wonky, the placket is rippled and uneven. I have not hated a project this much in a long time. I sewed the plackets approximately 80 million times. I basted by machine, I basted by hand, I trimmed the SA for easier easing. Nothing I did helped. When sewing, the fabric inevitably shifted and never matched up properly. It would be correctly pinned and then go to crap on the machine. I was tearing my hair out in addition to my stitching.

I kind of have a beef with the pattern over this, but it's not exactly to blame. If you choose to interface the placket, it will not ease. The above step tells you to ease, which ended up taking place between the shoulders and the seam line of the yoke. I could not make this happen. Even with knit interfacing. And stretching the fabric made my interfacing act all wonky and distorted the whole garment. You can see from my photos that there is pulling all along the placket. I ended up glue-basting and then serging the damn thing on because at least it could handle shifting layers of fabric.

I spent way too much time on this for a muslin. I had hoped to wear it, but the hem is just terrible. I glue-basted it and used a straight stitch on my sewing machine (instead of my coverstitch) just because I was angry.

So where do I go from here? Make another in a smaller size? I still have an issue with fabric choice. If I can't get pretty gathers over the bust I'm going to hate the whole top. You know the stiff kind of gathers where they stick up and don't fall gently? Yeah I hate those. Maybe I need to make it in a print to hide any pulling? For sure next time I will not interface the placket. The shirt pulls easily over my head, so the only button that I need to be functional is the top one, and that's only for nursing access. I can easily interface just that portion, or only one placket, or SOMETHING to make the process easier on myself.

If I didn't love the look of this top I wouldn't be so frustrated. If I can work out the issues I'd make a bunch of these. They're knit, so comfy, have nursing access, but are nicer than a tshirt or even a wrap top. Help!


  1. I applaud your efforts because I don't know that I would of made it through the whole muslin. I would definitely go a size down. Maybe a more stable knit so that you don't have to interface but like you said if it's too stable the gathers are not gonna be pretty. hmmmm??? Instead of using interface could you just use the same knit fabric? You could baste the two together. Then it would all ease in and I think it would be more stable. Just an idea.

    1. That is a GREAT idea, thank you!! Definitely worth a try!

  2. I think this could be a great and practical top, definitely have another go, I think using the top above is a good idea and only making one button hole might work too. A knit that's thin but not really stretchy would be good but I'm sure hard to find, I do a lot of online shopping which makes finding the right fabric difficult. Good luck for your next version.

  3. I'm also thinking trying it again in a more stable knit, maybe an interlock? Don't give up. This pattern just looks too amazing for that.


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