I was all set to make the biggest bell-sleeve option of the Dove Blouse from Megan Nielsen until I saw what the pattern piece looked like. I could have used it as a template to make a shield – it was bigger than me! But after some online encouragement, I decided to go for it. After all, once I tire of the bells, I can always take them off and still have a great shirt. In that spirit, I also broke out this rayon from Cotton and Steel that I have been putting off using. I couldn’t find the right project for the fabric that would fit within my 2.5 metres. I cut very strategically (I had to piece together the neck facings), but I just eked it out, giant sleeves and all.
I wasn’t sure how the sleeves would look in the print, but I was happily surprised with the results! I feel like it’s going to be hard to have a bad day in this shirt. I made the XS, which was again an experiment and I’m glad I did. I find it too long, but I suspect this rayon will continue to shrink. The neckline is also lower than I would usually go and a bit much for the office. I’ll raise that next time. I used french seams where possible, and finished the bottom hem by hand. There are times when the neck rises up away from me (depending on how I stand), but I’m not sure what this means for the fit – it’s too long in the upper bodice? Needs an FBA?
I let the sleeves hang for a good day before I hemmed them as they are cut on the bias, but they didn’t stretch out too dramatically. However, one side stretched out more than the other. I have a vintage dress form and it is certainly drunken in stance, so perhaps that contributed. I also discovered the warm-climate nature of big bells: you try cramming that much material into coat sleeves!
Since this shirt is a little too low for the office, I’ll have to wear it out instead. Must be time for wine, no?
Project: Floral Dove Blouse by Megan Neilsen
Pattern: $17 CAD
Time: 10 hours, including PDF assembly
Techniques: French seams, French darts
Fit Adjustments: Straight size XS. I’ll need to shorten the length and raise the neckline next time.