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Trapeze Blouse Sewing Project - McCalls Pattern #5881

I bought this used pattern in a charity shop, as it reminds me of my favourite summer top. It's for a 'trapeze shaped blouse' in two lengths with front button fastening, five different neckline and collar variations and patch pockets.  I wanted to make a simple sleeveless version, with pockets, but without a collar, so I thought I would try view E with the round neck.

I rummaged through my fabric stash for some lightweight cotton in sufficient quantity. The only piece of fabric big enough was a tie-dyed tablecloth someone had given me, and nothing else in my stash co-ordinated with it, so it will all be made from the same fabric. 

I ignored the fabric grain direction when I cut out the back of the garment, as I wanted to centre the tie-dyed pattern on it. The colours of the fabric are quite subtle now, but it was originally yellow and green.  I over-dyed it with red, and this is the result.  I suspect it is a cotton polyester mix, as the colours are very muted.

The first task was making and attaching the patch pockets, then attaching the front and back. As you can see the trapeze shape is cut very loose and full, without darts or gathers.  I had cut out view E which is sleeveless with a round neckline but when I tried the blouse on I didn't like it, so I re-cut it, trying to trace the view C pattern piece.

I  re-cut the neckline around a notch instead of through it, resulting in a somewhat unusual (but not unattractive?) curved shape, and strange skinny facings.  You can see I had managed to pattern match across them!  

The armhole facings were straightforward, but overall I think I would prefer a lining as the facings move too much when you put the garment on.  You can only affix them down at the two seams.  I went back and top-stitched them, as it was irritating.  I wonder now whether I could have just done a narrow hem instead.  

The final job was the buttonholes and buttons.  I love that my machine has three different automatic buttonholes; square, round-end and keyhole.  The special foot uses a sample button to work out how big to make the buttonhole too!  I never had all this when I learnt dressmaking at school!

Even better, I can use my sewing machine to sew the buttons on too, so the whole process is quick and easy now.  I recycled some 3/4 inch wooden buttons from my button jar.

My trapeze blouse.  I did place the buttonholes where they were marked, yet they still look unevenly spaced at the top - which is far too low!  Probably because I messed it about changing halfway through.

Not too bad from the side.  Studying the finished garment, the length is fine, the armholes appear to be big enough, the pockets are a good size, it hangs well. 

Back view, and you can see how very full it is.  Doesn't look too much like a target on my back does it?  It was an easy make, and if I see the right fabric I would be happy to make another one, but I would have to stick with the one I cut out!

Mastering Construction: Facings & Linings

Views: 1876


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Comment by Diane Carlson on July 14, 2016 at 6:40pm

I'll try it...thanks!

Comment by Karen on July 14, 2016 at 4:52pm
Hi Diane

I have checked the envelope and found "copyright 1992" does that help?
Comment by Diane Carlson on July 13, 2016 at 7:57pm

I'm trying to find this pattern, but am having difficulty.

Would you happen to know what year it came out?

Comment by Brenda Garner on April 14, 2015 at 11:15pm

I think I have this pattern. I will have to make this. Make it a long length like you did with pockets so I can put all my sewing things in it as I am going from table to table. Thanks for Sharing.

Comment by barbara Richards on April 7, 2015 at 9:12pm

This is Barb. No, I don't have a tablcloth like that but lots of summer fabric to work up. I'll try Amazon for the pattern.

also, theres a website for vintage patterns.

Comment by Mary Ellen Edwards on April 7, 2015 at 7:05pm

I wish I had that old vintage pattern in my size. Or maybe I would look like a barn. I love the shape of yours. I think the way you finished the armholes was great and repurposing the tie dyed tablecloth was so ingenious. Great job! 

Comment by dixiequilt on April 7, 2015 at 5:23pm

Very nice!

Comment by Karen on April 7, 2015 at 4:23pm

Barbara, when you say "I'll do this" do you mean re-cycle a table cloth or make this blouse, only it is a vintage used pattern dated 1992, not a current one, sorry.

Comment by barbara Richards on April 7, 2015 at 2:19pm

Thanks. I'll do this.

Comment by Lee dulaney on April 7, 2015 at 11:48am
Excellent choice of fabric. Great pattern.


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