By Pati Palmer and Helen Bartley
Raise those arms to show the dolman sleeves!
Carol Stalvey, a Palmer/Pletsch instructor from Macon, Georgia, sewed with us. Then we had a photo party for the Butterick Palmer/Pletsch princess dolman shirt. I wore the two dolman shirts I’d sewn and Carol tried on both and decided she’d sew them when she gets back home. Carol and Helen sewed pants from our basic pant fit pattern B6845. Watch for a blog about that— “Design Changes Using a Basic Pant Pattern That Fits.”
Palmer/Pletsch teachers offer hands-on classes and workshops. Go to www.palmerpletsch.com for teachers, workshops, and resources. See the complete list of RESOURCES AND TUTORIALS at the end of this blog.
We liked the vintage inspiration of the higher underarm in the vintage blouses below. You can see this armhole fit especially in View A photo on the pattern envelope . The 6” bust ease is not an oversized dolman blouse. (See back of envelope for FGM for bust.) We sewed the longer-sleeve views in drapey rayons and the shorter in a crisp cotton, which supported the pockets very well. Remember that rayon “grows” a little, while the cotton seems more fitted due to its weight and tighter weave.
When Helen and I were sewing the blouses used for photography at Butterick, we were asked to increase the sleeve length for the tall models. The sleeves turned out longer than we envisioned on most of us shorter people, such as the model in the light blue blouse on the pattern envelope.
No worry, when sewing our own blouses we shortened the sleeves on View B. We also narrowed the lower edges and sewed a band instead of a cuff. The band barely slips off over our hands.
B6898 VIEW B PATI’S RAYON CHALLIS BLOUSE
I pinned the cuff to the View B sleeve to check the length
While fitting, note the position of the shoulder princess seam. Is it on or within ½” of your apex? If not, see Helen Bartley’s fitting changes for the position of the princess seam later in this blog.
I decided I wanted the sleeve 2” shorter. I matched the 2”-wide ruler to the cut line for View B and drew a new cut line.
MORE TIPS FROM PATI
I leave my pattern pieces out while sewing so I can easily check for accuracy.
For example, I place the pattern piece on the collar to mark the point, then draw the seamlines so I know where to pivot when sewing. I sew two tiny stitches across the point, then pivot to the next side. This makes a better point.
And, after basting the collar to the front, I can check the distance from the collar edges to the front fold on both sides. It is faster if I keep the pattern pieces handy.
As always, Palmer/Pletsch patterns include alteration lines printed on the tissue and fit help in the guidesheet.
For example, the pattern includes the cut line for cutting off the sleeve, in case you need to do a full bust adjustment. Just tape the sleeve back on when the adjustment is done.
Due to guidesheet space, we show how to add bust width to the side panel only. To add width to the front also, see the book The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting.
Helen pins the unaltered pattern together and tries it on. She finds the princess seam is too far from her apex.
And the bust curve is higher than hers.
Helen took a tuck from shoulder to hem in front to narrow the front and move the princess seam closer to her apex.
Then she did a full bust alteration on the side only, adding ½”.
Then she lowered the bust curve on front and sides to be at her bust level.
From The Complete Guide to Fitting, by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto
She has shortened the View B sleeve by 2”.
Now she pins cuff to sleeve and likes the length.
Instead of a cuff, she will band the sleeve.
She will also narrow the sleeve and cuff to be just large enough to slip her hand through easily. She will do this in fabric.
She is ready to cut!
UPDATED HIGH ROUND ALTERATION
We learn as we teach. NEW! When the back is cut on the fold, we show you where to draw the high round back line: on the neckline seamline for your size. This means less distortion than when the alteration is made lower, because it’s a multisize pattern.
This is how we show it in this Palmer/Pletsch Butterick pattern:
When the line is low, it adds width at the center back to the neck. When it is on the neck seam, there is no distortion. If the pattern has a center back seam, the seam will simply curve over your roundness, so it doesn’t matter if you draw the line an inch down.
A CUTTING ADVANTAGE
Because of the shoulder princess seam, you will be able to cut double and thus save fabric. If the front and back were all one piece, you’d have to refold the fabric to use the full width. This is much easier!
After cutting, I chose to use my undercollar as my upper collar because I liked the colors better.
Before interfacing, reposition the pattern on the fabric to check that they fit perfectly. I needed to pull the right half of my collar down to match the lower edge of the tissue.
To prevent interfacing from sticking to your ironing surface when you fuse, cut it smaller. At right, the interfacing pattern is placed 5/8” away from the long front raw edges and 5/8” from the bottom. This will make the cut-out interfacing about ¼” smaller on all edges.
Cutting instructions are on the back of the PerfectFuse insert.
HEMMING A CURVED SHIRTTAIL HEM
I love finishing the hem of a shirt by serging, turning up 3/8” and edgestitching. FAST, FUN, AND DONE!
But with a curved hemline it is more trouble and can look less neat unless you are expert at using serger differential feed.
Instead, we prefer to baste ¼” from the edge of the right side of the fabric with a 3.5mm stitch length. That puts the bobbin thread on the wrong side.
Turn under ¼” along the basting line.
Then turn under another 3/8”, press, and pin into a pressing board to anchor.
Along the curves, pull up the basting thread from the wrong side with a pin to ease it to fit the curve.
After pressing use a lot of pins to keep it neat.
From the inside, stitch along the edge, removing pins as you go. Press when finished.
BUTTONS AND BUTTONHOLE TIPS
Draw a chalk line ½” from right front edge. Then for buttonhole placement, draw a horizontal line at your bust level and others 3 ½” above or below. (The pattern includes a handy buttonhole placement guide.)
Sew a test buttonhole (or two) to check both buttonhole length and thread color.
When you have determined the correct buttonhole length, draw lines to mark the buttonhole ends.
Pin through front and facing to keep layers flat. Sew machine buttonholes.
Decide on thread color for buttons and sew them on. Run thread across beeswax to keep it from tangling.
All buttoned up! Happy Sewing!
Pati Sews a Dolman Blouse in Silk
I sewed a second dolman blouse out of a lightweight silk crepe de chine using View A with long sleeve and shaped 3-button cuff. Read on to learn about how I added pockets, shortened the length several inches to wear with trousers so you can see the pleats, and how to sew perfect princess seams in silk.
Teaser alert—The next blog will be on my trouser pattern, Butterick 6878, shown here.
The dolman blouse is great with a blazer. The collar fits well over lapels. The dolman sleeves are not too low to fit into the armhole.
This blazer, Butterick 6862, was featured in an earlier blog:
Check out the piping detail on the inside of the blazer. I love it!
Pattern and fitting changes from the first blouse:
I made the blouse shorter, with a straight ¾” topstitched hem. A shirt tail hem would be challenging. I adjusted the tissue for the sleeve width narrower by tapering the seam to ½” narrower to the cuff on both front and back sleeve. With the cuff tissue pinned to the sleeve, I shortened the sleeves 3” in the length. I have a B bra cup size and a low bust. I didn’t lower the princess curve in the rayon blouse because the seam in this looser blouse is not very curved. But, after the fact I decided it should have been lower to get rid of the extra width above my bust. I also moved the front princess seams over ½” to center the seams over my bust just like Helen had done.
Pockets or Not?
The main concern is that the pockets might be too heavy for the silk. So how do you test? Well, you make the pockets and pray! Here I am in my auxiliary sewing room—my bathroom counter—with pockets pinned to front. Voila! They will look great!
Stop the Feed Dogs from Feeding
If the feed dogs try to swallow your silk when edge stitching, try placing Perfect Pattern Paper tissue under the fabric.
Tips for princess seams when sewing blouse in silk crepe de Chine.
The four vertical princess seams from the shoulder to the hem are easy to sew, press, and topstitch in cotton and rayon fabrics. In a lightweight silk crepe de chine they can be more challenging. Testing before you sew will save you time in the end. A NEW needle size 70/10 or 75/11 or 80/12 universal are good test choices. A microtext needle is another option.
- Sew a test seam. A 2mm stitch length is recommended.
- Then test a seam finish. Use pinking shears or a serger 2-thread stitch for a less bulk. Cut two long layers of silk cut on the lengthwise grain. Adjust tensions and widths until the serging is smooth and pucker-free. Press only on the serged edge to flatten it.
Now you are ready to sew a finished seam as your final test. Cut two more long strips.
Sew a seam. Press on top to smooth out any puckers.
• For best results when you want to press the seam in one direction, first press the seam open.
• Then press both seam allowances in one direction. (In the garment these seams are pressed toward the center front and center back.)
• After pressing, serge the seam allowances together trimming 1/8-1/4” away. (Or finish with pinking shears.)
• Then place just the serged edge on the ironing board. Press just over the serging to flatten.
• From the right side, lightly press barely over the seam on a seam roll to avoid making an imprint on the right side. Let cool before moving.
Hopefully your finished test sample will make it easier to get lovely looking princess seams in your silk blouse.
GO TO YOUTUBE.COM
Also, search for Palmer/Pletsch Tissue-fitting and you will find many tutorials. You can also purchase complete streamed video classes at palmerpletschdigital.com
WORKSHOPS AND TEACHERS NEAR YOU
If you want to master sewing shirts, we now have 5-day workshops where you fit and sew a shirt under the guidance of a pro. You will be proud of the fit and quality of your shirt. Go to palmerpletsch.com and check out workshops and to search for a trained instructor.
BUTTERICK AND MCCALL’S PATTERNS
Palmer/Pletsch patterns include tissue markings to help you succeed as well as fit tips in the guidesheet PLUS our best sewing instructions with lots of tips.
Mother Pletsch’s Painless Sewing by Pati Palmer and Susan Pletsch contains the most basic sewing techniques you need to sew well. Plus, the cartoons it contains will make you laugh out loud!