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SOSM Round 1: True Bias Sutton Blouse

June 30, 2015

Red Knits_SOSM Sutton BlouseWhen the organizers announced that the Super Online Sewing Match Round 1 challenge was going to be the True Bias Sutton Blouse, I felt as though they had chosen the pattern especially to help me fill a gap in my wardrobe! I posted in my professional summer wardrobe boost plans that I could use some summer blouses that can be dressed up for work, but didn’t think I would get around to making one before my upcoming academic conference. This was partially because I had some other sewing planned, but also because I was secretly hoping that I would be chosen for SOSM. Lucky me–I get to be a contestant and get a new summer blouse! I doubt that I would have selected this pattern on my own because it is so much looser than my usual makes, but it turns out that this blouse is exactly what I was looking for.
Red Knits_SOSM Sutton BlousePerhaps the most challenging part of this project was choosing fabric. Harts Fabric was kind enough to sponsor this round of the contest, and I took advantage of their gift certificate to try out a new-to-me fabric supplier. Since I want to wear this blouse to my upcoming conference, I needed to be a bit conservative in my fabric selection: much as I love them, lace and sheers were out. Luckily, bright, bold florals are totally acceptable! I settled upon this Joel Dewberry rayon challis and then headed to the solids section to choose a contrast for my yoke. It might have been nice to pull out a pink or yellow, but I didn’t trust my monitor to give me an accurate color match to the print. Instead, I went with a gray rayon twill that I knew would look great whether or not it was an exact match, tone down the color a bit, and coordinate nicely with a neutral dress pant or skirt.
Red Knits_SOSM Sutton BlouseWhile I waited for my fabric to arrive, I made up a full muslin in a straight size 8 to both check the fit and make sure I had all of the techniques down. And let me tell you, done up in an unbleached muslin, this style is more Orange is the New Black than breezy summer chic! You really need a fabric with some drape to let this design shine. All of my alterations were standard for me, but I did pull out my trusty Fit for Real People since I hadn’t done them on a kimono style top before. In the front, I did a 1/2″ full bust adjustment because my side seams were unbalanced, causing the front to tent.
Red Knits_SOSM Sutton BlouseIn the back, I did a 1/2″ narrow back adjustment and 1 1/2″ swayback adjustment. I wasn’t sure that these alterations would be necessary when I first looked at the pattern, but the hem line of my muslin curved down around my bum–an alteration was definitely necessary. A good reason to make a muslin, especially for a new-to-me designer.
Red Knits_SOSM Sutton BlouseI wasn’t initially going to bother with matching this shifty fabric with a complex print, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to give it a try! With the help of this Sewaholic tutorial, a nice cup of coffee, and some patience, I managed to disguise the center front seam and preserve this beautiful print.
Red Knits_SOSM Sutton BlouseThe instructions for this pattern call for French seams, which are exactly what I would have used with any light, fluid fabric like this one. This attention to seam finishes along with the unstructured nature of the blouse makes me think this would be a great pattern for those who are interested in working with more challenging fabrics like some of those called for in the pattern for the first time.

The neckline is meant to be finished with a self bias binding, but I was concerned that using either one of my fashion fabrics would allow for the binding to show through to the right side of the garment in the lighter areas of my print. Instead, I used an off white piece from my stash–it’s actually an old sheet–for my bias binding, and it worked perfectly.
Red Knits_SOSM Sutton BlouseBecause of the split hem on this design, there’s no tidy way to do French side seams, so the instructions call for hemmed seam allowances. The edges are first finished off in your preferred method to prevent fraying–I serged in a light gray thread–and then turned under and stitched. This provides a clean finish consistent with the rest of the blouse.
Red Knits_SOSM Sutton BlouseSpeaking of the split hem, this is not a style that I typically wear. In fact, I can’t stand those high/low dresses that go from above the knee down to the ankle. But I don’t have anything like this in my wardrobe and thought I would give it a try. As it turns out, I quite like it! And I can always tuck the blouse into a skirt for a dressier look.

I used gray thread to topstitch the hem and the rest of the top, including some edgestitching along the yokes to lend them a bit more stability. Although the instructions call for backstitching, I only backstitch when reinforcement is needed, so rarely do when topstitching. Instead, I tie knots everywhere in my sewing for a cleaner finish. I also added a bit of handstitching for reinforcement at the top of the slit in the form of a triangle from one of my technique books.
Red Knits_SOSM Sutton BlouseMy aim in most of the garments I make is versatility, and I think I’ve really gotten that with this top. I’m looking forward to wearing it all summer long, not only with jeans as I did here, but also with skirts, dress pants, and maybe even my pink Maritime shorts.

Many thanks to my husband, Steven, for taking these photos at the Pittsburgh Botanical Gardens before the rain came!

27 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2015 8:07 pm

    Your craftsmanship is impeccable!

  2. June 30, 2015 9:06 pm

    Gorgeous! I love your fabric choice and you did a beautiful job sewing it. Best of luck in the contest! 🙂

  3. July 1, 2015 5:13 am

    Beautiful! Good choice of fabric, and fingers crossed for you in the contest! Hege

  4. July 1, 2015 7:48 am

    I love the sutton blouse. The attention to detail in the pattern is impeccable. I love your contemporary floral version. I’m doing a solid red crepe next, suitable for work.

    • July 1, 2015 7:09 pm

      Ooh, crepe was my first thought for this one, but Harts didn’t have much for prints. It’s such a fantastic fabric for work, though, since it doesn’t wrinkle as easily as many other fabrics appropriate for this pattern. Can’t wait to see yours!

  5. July 1, 2015 9:42 am

    So lovely! I’m glad you made something that you’ll wear often! Harts is one of my fave places to shop both in store and online. Plus, everything comes so quickly!

    • July 1, 2015 7:12 pm

      I’m glad to hear it! I have only started buying fabric online in the past year or so. On the one hand, I love choosing fabrics with my fingers, but on the other, the only fashion fabric supplier we have with reasonable selection and prices is JoAnn. I tend to compromise by stocking up when I go out of town. This experience with Harts was a good one, so I’m sure I’ll shop with them again.

  6. mommylap permalink
    July 1, 2015 12:23 pm

    I am so in love with this rayon. It doesn’t matter that I already have it in two colorways in the cotton woven. I think it’s dreamy, and so well deployed here.

    • July 1, 2015 7:13 pm

      Right?! I know it’s a bold pattern that some may not think of for work wear, but I just couldn’t say no! The rayon is really lovely, so I’d recommend it if you have a use for it.

  7. July 1, 2015 1:08 pm

    Your top is lovely! And bravo for pattern matching that front seam! Good Luck!

    • July 1, 2015 7:16 pm

      Thanks so much! That means a lot coming from a competitor in the original SOSM–I was rooting for you last time!

  8. Anne permalink
    July 1, 2015 4:25 pm

    Can I vote for you or something? How does this contest work? 😉 yeah yeah it’s probably in a link here somewhere but I’m on my phone and am lazy.

    • July 1, 2015 5:01 pm

      LOL! Thanks, Anne! This one has judges, so I’m afraid you don’t get a vote 🙂 Congrats on the new house!

  9. July 1, 2015 5:27 pm

    Huh, I could have sworn I commented on this yesterday! Anyways, your sewing is perfection! Good for you with the pattern matching, not an easy task on such shifty fabric, Thumbs up!! I didn’t bother with mine because the pattern was too small and busy, I couldn’t squint my eyes enough to find the repeat lol

    • July 1, 2015 7:17 pm

      Thanks so much! I don’t bother with pattern matching on tiny, squinty prints, either, but I thought I’d give it a go on such a large design.

  10. Lauren permalink
    July 1, 2015 5:33 pm

    I saw this on SewMamaSew and knew instantly this was taken at Phipps! What a wonderful place to take photos of your beautiful blouse. Yay for Pittsburgh!

    • July 1, 2015 7:18 pm

      I know! We don’t go inside often because admission is kind of pricey, but we walk around outside a few times a week. So gorgeous!

  11. July 1, 2015 7:16 pm

    So pretty! That grey is awesome on you, by the way.

  12. July 2, 2015 7:32 am

    Great colors. I’m a redhead, too, and I know how hard it can be to find a busy print that works. This garment is so fun! 🙂 I also like the photoshoot location…

    • July 2, 2015 10:06 am

      Thank you! I’m surprised that one of my favorite colors to wear is pink–it doesn’t seem like it should work on a redhead, but it does!


  1. Super Online Sewing Match II: Round One Showcase of Sutton Blouses | Sew Mama Sew | Outstanding sewing, quilting, and needlework tutorials since 2005.
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