Black on black

This is, by far, my favorite shot. Something about the setting sun tinting my hair and the blouse’s fabric a soft orange. And finally seeing that black-on-black jacquard woven fabric that’s typically impossible to capture. Wouldn’t you agree?

Here are a few more:


This Neue Mode blouse pattern (J23071) has awesome bones, as they say. Any blouse with full-fashioned princess seams allows a ton of refinement, even if it doesn’t work right “out of the box,” so that was the first step to success.


In my case, the majority of refinement came in the form of merging size 38 shoulders and a size 46 bust. Can you see that? (Labeled for clarity, I’m hoping?) You can also see where I took a bust dart, and rotated the fullness it would produce into the princess seam. Fewer darts to sew – always a plus!

One thing I didn’t have to modify from the original – the sleeves. Which is a worthwhile thing to mention… Though I think all of you must know this already. Nonetheless, it was a fascinating discovery for me!

As knitters, we are able to get away with all kinds of shortcuts, because knit fabrics are very forgiving. So, when we make a top, we probably realize that the back of our shoulder socket really should get more fabric than the front. (Swing your arm back and forth, and then lift it up and down – where do you think an extra bit of fabric to allow the movement should go – front of shoulder cap, or back?) But as knitters, we just say, “eh, screw it!” and knit the sleeve cap symmetrical across the midline (the infamous “decrease left side of sleeve cap same as right”).

Anyway, once we move to sewing and woven cottons, the story is very different. Little swaths of fabric matter, and the better-drafted patterns will have the sleeve caps all kinds of non-symmetrical. Take a look at the blouse you’re currently sewing and the sweater you’re currently knitting – how do the sleeve cap patterns compare?


34 thoughts on “Black on black

  1. Melly

    I really like pattern making and sometimes sit and analyze how clothing fits or not and try to figure out what went wrong compared to the actual body wearing the garment. Bravo.

  2. Elinor

    You have just identified some of the many reasons I believe myself incapable of clothing with sleeves!! Modifying bust darts looks scary too. Good thing I’m a member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee…

  3. loriz

    you have quite the geometric challenge to work with when adapting your sewing patterns. I complain to myself about always having to lengthen the torso! I’ve heard that adjusting princess seams is difficult: did you find it so?

  4. Kathy Sue

    Cool-I learned a new sewing trick today. Thanks. The fabric is beautiful, and the fit is perfect from here!

  5. Valerie in San Diego

    What beautiful work! Your blogging on sewing is talking me into trying to teach myself… I’ve already gone out and bought “Bend-the-Rules Sewing”, and I can thread my machine, which is a start, right? 😉

  6. Teenuh

    Oh that is a beautiful shirt. I love love love that fabric, you laid the pattern out perfectly! I love it when it works so well!

  7. Teenuh

    Oh that is a beautiful shirt. I love love love that fabric, you laid the pattern out perfectly! I love it when it works so well!

  8. Katy

    What a great fit. It looks fantastic on you, beautiful fabric choice too. How do you know which sizes to merge? Why not 36 or 40, for example? I often find that sewing patterns need adjustment, but am way too worried about adjusting the wrong thing.

    Great job!

  9. Margaret

    I am so impressed with your sewing progress! It’s been fun to watch you develop from early frustration to really beautiful work, and I’m so glad you didn’t give up. I’m cheering you on to even greater things!

  10. Cassandra

    Huh, I was convinced you were doing another store-bought shirt rehab, until I scrolled and the words ‘blouse pattern’ appeared.

    Your sewing skills are pretty impressive. Lovely fabric choice as well.

  11. Aunt Kathy

    When I was young I used to sew my own clothes from patterns. Oh how I remember those tissue paper cut outs. I don’t think I’d have a clue now. That blouse looks really good

  12. tina

    Excellent job, your blouse is lovely!!!

    I’m currently operating in avoidance of buttonholes. My Bernina does a lovely job it is something to do with ME at the moment! Go figure!!

  13. Shelda

    It’s always so fun to see what you’re on about, whatever it happens to be. I like your precision and the way you think things through and take the time to get it “right.” Much fun. Thanks for sharing yourself (and all these projects) with us!

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