Friday, 2 October 2020

Pattern Review - The Rhapsody Blouse by Love Notions Sewing Patterns


Looking out my window today it doesn't feel much like summer anymore but I'm assured by a local farmer that we will have an Indian Summer in October. So ever the optimist I thought I'd share with you my version of the Rhapsody Blouse from Love Notions Sewing Patterns which I made a few weeks back.


The Rhapsody has fun and versatile written all over it. I love the cute styling and I just had to have at least one in my wardrobe. I chose the flutter sleeve option in a gorgeously delicate embroidered cotton voile from Minerva Crafts which I had in my stash. Here I've teamed it with jeans for a relaxed look. Depending on your fabric choice and sleeve option it would make a lovely dressy blouse too.


There are some fabulous style details in the Rhapsody which really lift it above the rest. I love the flattering curved hem feature. The soft gathers at the front yoke and box pleat at the back are so feminine. The neckline is bound with narrow bias binding and there are optional ties for a pretty, professional finish.


I enjoyed making this beautifully drafted pattern and I'm looking forward to making more. My Rhapsody isn't perfect. I made some rookie fitting errors but I have learn't so much about making a more fitted and complicated garment in a woven fabric. I know what I will do differently when I make my next one. More on that later!




Pattern Review


Options


So the first dilemma I faced was which of the 9 sleeve options to choose! 


Yes, you heard right.... there are 9 glorious sleeve options to choose from including: sleeveless, cap, short, flutter, 3/4 with cuff, 3/4 with flare, 3/4 land full length bishop and even a Trumpet sleeve.

As if that isn't enough there's also a cute dress option. So it seems the only pattern you need to fill your sunny summer wardrobe to bursting is the Rhapsody! 


Bang for buck this is such a great value pattern retailing at just $12.00.


Pattern Options - Photo courtesy of Love Notions Sewing Patterns


Sewing Competence 


I would describe myself as an aspiring intermediate sewer. I was looking to take on a project with more technical challenges involved and the Rhapsody definitely fulfilled that brief. Not only have I added a really cool and sweet summer top to my wardrobe I've also added lots of new skills to my sewing kit bag. 


I would recommend the Rhapsody as great project for the ambitious new sewist wanting to move up a gear and tackle intermediate sewing challenges. 



Fabric 


This pattern is designed for lightweight and drapey wovens.


I decided to use this pretty embroidered white cotton voile from a wide selection at Minerva Crafts. I love this fabric and it was a dream to work with.


However once I sewed in the flutter sleeves I realised that my fabric choice didn't really have enough drape for this style of sleeve so they sit a bit proud rather than falling nicely from my shoulders. This one is definitely down to me and my fabric choice. A gorgeous fabric but not completely right for this project. A lesson learn't for next time.... listen to the the pattern maker Linda!











































The Pattern

  • This pattern is available in PDF with A4 file to print at home and an A0 version for copy shop printing.
  • A projector file is included 
  • I really like that the file is trimless making assembly much faster 
  • The pattern has layers so you only print the sizes you need. Saves on ink and makes tracing and pattern adjustment much easier and clearer.
  • The full bust, waist and full hips are marked on the pattern pieces which makes lengthening and shortening pattern pieces simple.

Sizing and Pattern Adjustments

  • Inclusive sizing range from XS-5X
  • Full Bust Adjustment option so all the hard work is done for you!

  • Based on my measurements I should have graded the pattern as follows:

    High Bust:  35 ins = M
    Waist: 30ins = M 
    Hip: 37ins = S 

    However based on the final garment measurement of 44" for the M Bust, which I thought sounded too roomy, I decided to do a straight size S. This turned out to be a mistake as the top, once basted, felt snug across the back and under the arms as my bust pulled the fabric forward. This also made the box pleat at the back bulge out instead of falling smoothly. 

    To try to remedy this I took some fabric back from the seam allowance to gain a little width. Sadly this meant I then couldn't do french seams as per the pattern. To stop the box pleat bagging out I closed it up, sewing it together to around 15cms below the yoke.  

    The end result wasn't perfect and in future versions I will either do the M of the S with a full bust adjustment.


    On the subject of making a toile

    I'm so impatient when I have a new pattern and fabric to hand that I find it hard to be disciplined enough to make a toile. I learn't my lesson here on the importance of making a toile to test the pattern and iron out fit issues before cutting into your special fabric. 

    A great source in the UK for cheap quality fabric is Pound Fabrics UK. Ideal for pattern testing and making wearable toiles.  

    Sewing Challenges

    The technical challenges of the Rhapsody for the ambitious beginner sewist include:
    • French Seams 
    • Inset sleeves
    • Lining a yoke
    • Gathers & box pleats
    • Making and applying narrow bias binding
    • Narrow hemming

    Easy Me-made Bias Binding without a gadget !

    The pattern calls for 1/4 or 1/2 inch single fold bias binding to trim the neckline and make ties (optional). I decided to make 1/4 inch for a finer appearance. You could have some fun here using a contrasting fabric of a similar weight.

    I didn't have a bias binding maker this size so I used a simple little trick I'd seen elsewhere. With the help of a tin of starch it was quick and easy to do. Here's how:

    You will need: 

    20 inch woven fabric square

    Fine tipped marker pen or chalk

    quilting ruler

    starch

    pins

    iron & board

    • Start by making your tape with your matching or contrast fabric. You will need a 1" tape width to make 1/4" bias. I used a 20" square of fabric. You could use less but remember the smaller the square the more joins you will have in your binding. 
    Here's a simple and short tutorial showing you how to make tape . 
    • Next spray starch onto the tape and iron flat. This stabilises the fabric, making it easier to handle and stops it unfolding while your stitching it on. 
    Starch is great as it's cheap, does the job and washes out easily. I find specialist fabric stabiliser to be expensive, sticky and leaves a gummy residue on your iron and board.



    • Now for the magic. For 1/4" bias measure just over 1/2" on your ironing board and insert 2 pins in opposite directions to each other as shown.


    • Next fold your tape as shown and iron the end before passing under the two pins.

    • Now pull the tape through under the pins folding the edges in before it goes under the pins and pressing as you pull it through. The pins will keep the folds in place as you press. It's that simple!

    • Pin the binding in place and you're good to sew!

    Lining the Yoke

    Lining a yoke involves stitching the lining fabric to the garment fabric, wrong sides together to enclose the seam allowance, and still being able to turn the garment back to the right side when you've finished. The Burrito method is the way to achieve this.

    The Pattern instructions are wonderfully clear with lots of illustrations but I have to admit it still made my brain hurt trying to visualise what I needed to do. Go slowly, follow the instructions and you'll get there.

     

    If you need to fully line a garment bodice Seamworks have produced a wonderful short tutorial showing the process using the burrito method  

    And Finally....

    I found the Rhapsody Blouse to be a satisfying and challenging project. I learn't some great new techniques which I've already used again on other makes.

    I'm already planning a second more dressy version with longer sleeves and in a drapey viscose for the cooler weather. This time, who knows, I may even make a toile! 

    Sources & Links

    Fabric was sourced from Minerva Crafts  in the UK one of my favorite online fabric shops

    If you would like to make the Rhapsody Blouse the pattern is available at Love Notions


    If you've enjoyed reading this please feel free to leave a comment below. I'd love to hear what you think.


    2 comments:

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    2. Needles are regularly a reason for string breakage because of burrs on the needle point. Begin by supplanting the needle with the right needle. Emily

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