PATI’S PALMER/PLETSCH BLOUSE PATTERN FOR BUTTERICK—B6856
After designing and writing guidesheets for over 350 McCall’s patterns, I was invited to design for Butterick. Including Vogue, this is the third brand for which I’ve designed. This spring my bestselling McCall’s designs were moved to Butterick with new photography. You can see them all on our website. Then in August my first two new patterns debuted, a blouse, here, and a jacket, which you’ll see in an upcoming blog.
My first new Butterick design is B6856, a very wearable blouse with many interchangeable details. You can find it on the Palmer/Pletsch website or online at Butterick. It’s exciting that my former guidesheet writer/illustrator, Pamyla Brooks, is working with Butterick now. We make a good team!
The process of designing for Butterick is different than for McCall’s. My team needs to provide a croquis of the style along with specifications, select and buy the fabric, and sew the garments for photography. In the past, McCall’s did all of this because there was no way I could do 12 designs a year beginning in 1980. Now, I will accept lots of help!
Enter my daughter, Melissa Watson, here in her newest trench coat, McCall’s 8246. I taught her a lot growing up. Now she’s giving back! She drew the croquis in Adobe Illustrator—not one of my talents. She has great taste and color sense. She selected the silk fabrics for these cover blouses and swatched the views on the croquis.
Then enter Helen Bartley, Palmer/Pletsch Certified Sewing Instructor and now lead teacher for our Portland, Oregon, workshop location. She also is author of our new book, Fit and Sew Custom Jeans (available October 2021). Helen also has her own business, Seam Diva’s Sewing Lounge.
Even though she was madly trying to finish the book, she offered to sew the blouses. Here she’s wearing one of the blouses and of course jeans. The photography blouses are sewn in a size 10 and I’m a size 12. Darn! She deserves to own them after sewing all three in slippery silk AND they fit her! She did an amazing job.
Helen shares a few thoughts on sewing a detailed blouse in silk.
“If you prewash silk, you won’t get water spots if your iron happens to drip or you get caught in the rain. Dip the yardage in cool water for about 5 minutes. Roll in a towel. Then lay the yardage over a rod or over the side of a bathtub. When it’s almost dry, iron to dry completely.
“Fusible interfacings made the details much easier to sew. I did a lot of hand basting. It might not be popular, but it worked better than pins.”
Sewing the Blouse in a Rayon and Cotton Fabric
I just finished sewing this blouse twice. This one is from a lightweight woven rayon and cotton fabric.
I cut the pocket tabs, front band, neckband, and back yoke on the bias for added interest—and a bit more challenge.
We both used PerfectFuse Sheer and cut with the lengthwise stable grain in the direction of the buttonholes. I fused the outer yoke with the grain going across to keep it from stretching. I cut the yoke facing on regular grain with no interfacing.
Follow instructions on the back of the package insert.
I cut out the View C back and sewed the unusually deep pleat like this one.
In my fabric it hung strangely, flaring out at the hem. Helen’s silk has more weight and draped beautifully. I recut my back, eliminating the pleat.
I wanted to sew shirts I could wear with the six pairs of jeans I’d sewn while editing Helen’s jeans book.
All the details in these three blouses are interchangeable. I decided to maximize the details by putting as many as I could into my first shirt. I like a challenge!
I included all the tabs—both epaulettes (View B) and roll-up sleeve tabs. I decided the box-pleated bust pockets (View C) with the shaped flap would camouflage if I don’t wear a bra. All this meant sewing 12 buttonholes and sewing on 12 buttons.
I graduated from the 3-hour shirt to a 3-day shirt.
The clincher detail was the traditional sleeve placket. I must admit I’ve never sewn the “house with the chimney” placket. I think if I sew this again soon, I’ll be good at it.
The instructions in the Butterick guidesheet are good. I’d suggest using fusible interfacing on the placket piece and tracing the lines from the tissue onto the interfacing.
After Helen sewed the three shirts in silk, she suggested moving the vertical lines of the placket opening box closer to each other by 1/16” on each side. Then the placket will easily cover the underneath layer.
I did a lot of marking with tracing paper: pocket and flap positions, and buttonhole placement lines. I used snips to mark the center back on all pieces and the cuff foldlines.
Pin the pockets to the front over the curve of a ham since they are placed over the bust. It makes the pocket a little larger than the under layer so it will be smooth on your bust. Position the flap the same way.
Don’t shy away from this pattern because of the traditional sleeve placket. Instead, just use the “painless placket” sleeve from our blouse pattern B6852. The sleeves are interchangeable.
Marta Alto invented the “painless placket” in the 1970s. We show it in our book Mother Pletsch’s Painless Sewing.
I stopped doing any other kind of placket.
The sleeve seam becomes the placket opening. It is super easy!
Be sure to tissue-fit. Try on the tissue. What you see is what you get. I did my usual square shoulder and sway back alterations. Common alterations are shown in the guide, a sample of which is shown here. I added a large-neck alteration for the first time. Pamyla, who has been doing my guides for a long time, commented she hadn’t seen that one before in a Palmer/Pletsch guide. The neckband hugs the neck. It’s easy to increase the size for a larger neck.
I didn’t check the sleeve length because I don’t usually change it on a shirt. Bad advice. Always check everything. Mine is a bit long, but I decided it just looked more expensive and couture! The cuff is a bit too big around. I’ll check these things in the future.
I like the sleeve rolled up to just below my elbow. I sewed the tab first. Then I pinned it to the placement line on the pattern. I rolled the tissue and pinned the tab in place. When I slipped it on to see where it landed, I lowered the tab placement marking about an inch. It is perfect.
I carefully measured the center line on the band and the length of the buttonholes using a chalk wheel and a ruler. I purchased this ruler from Pamela Leggett at pamelaspatterns.com. It has white lines on one side and black on the other. Use the side that shows better on your fabric.
Buttons are sewn on. Oops, what is wrong with this picture?
I love to do handwork when watching television, but sometimes it causes mistakes like sewing the buttons to the wrong side of the band. I had to laugh at myself and redid them with a smile!
The Second Shirt—a Rayon Batik
My second shirt is made from a rayon batik fabric.
I took a “details vacation” by eliminating the cuff and placket altogether as well as the epaulettes. I cut a 4” hem allowance on the sleeve so that when rolled up, the inside would be finished. It sure saved a lot of time!
On my first shirt, I did a French seam on the sleeve to encase the seam allowances. It looks tidy when rolled up.
I loved sewing this batik fabric. It was a good quality and easy to sew. All the details pressed well. I saved time by sewing all the tabs, pocket flaps, and cuffs so they were ready when needed.
I always read the guidesheet instructions. It keeps me on track. It made sewing all these details a no-brainer! Yes, I follow the guide, even those I write! It really helped, especially when I got to that fancy placket (for which I didn’t write the instructions).
P.S. Thank you Linda Wisner, design director, Palmer/Pletsch, for designing and posting this blog. And to Ann Gosch for editing.
HERE’S THE BACK OF THE ENVELOPE:
Check the back of the envelope for yardage. I prefer to see the finished garment measurements for bust and hip on the back of the envelope, but if they are not, they are printed on the pattern tissue in those locations.
A SPECIAL BLOUSE SEWING WORKSHOP
Helen Bartley will be teaching a new 5-day blouse sewing workshop in Portland/Vancouver on March 24-28, 2022. Our goal is to help you master the details. We think it is a way to improve all your sewing. The 2-day or 4-day fit workshop will be a prerequisite. Check our website for details — https://www.palmerpletsch.com/classes/sewing-workshops-5-day-shirt-march2022/