Posted by: Kate | January 21, 2011

Pendrell Blouse…the muslin’ly beginning!

Last weekend I had a wonderful three days off full of fun with friends, relaxation, and great sports watching! In addition, I took advantage of my extra day off to really get started on the Pendrell Blouse!

I can’t believe I haven’t had time to post about this before Friday, but so it goes – I’m still a new blogger figuring out how to do all this 🙂

Pendrell pattern with my fabricPartly since the Pendrell pattern is designed for “pear shape” ladies but I am in fact more of an hour glass, and partly because I thought it would be good to try something I haven’t done much before, I decided to muslin, or practice sew, this blouse.

Despite the good advice of the pattern designer, Sewaholic, I muslin’ed in actual muslin, which is quite stiff, even though the pattern calls for a fabric with drape. In the future I’ll try to find a fabric more similar to the fashion fabric for muslin’ing.

Anyway, I decided to fully make the muslin of the Pendrell blouse because, long story short’ish: the only other time I have ever found myself muslin’ing I screwed up pretty bad because in trying to just do a quick fit check on the bodice, I skipped some steps that resulted in a totally inaccurate muslin’ly mess. Plus I figured I could always dye the fully made, muslin Pendrell and wear it for real, right?!

I found the pattern pretty easy to follow (which is impressive given the vagaries of many patterns). Based on my measurements I cut a 16 in the bust, a 14 in the waist, and a 12 in the hip. The only issue I had with assembly of the blouse was that the pattern says to cut two collar neck seam bindings, but somehow I only used one and everything seems to look normal!? I might have missed something since it’s somewhat hard to tell which side is the right side of muslin…and I’m pretty talented at making sewing mistakes while distracted.

Here are a couple views of the finished muslin:

Overall I’m pretty happy with this!

The only fit issue is some extra material between the princess seams and the armhole, just below the ruffle. To try to address this I sewed a 1 inch seam allowance (instead of 5/8) for the two inches of side seam just below the armhole, but, as you can possibly see in these pics, there still seems to be some excess fabric in that area. In addition to the armhole excess, I think the princess seams fall a bit wide on me. So, I’m planning to cut the front and center back as a size 14 and then cut the front and center sides 1/2 way between 14 and 16, and I’m hoping that will address the issue. But if anyone has any suggestions on better ways to deal with this, please let me know!

I am also planning to shorten the blouse a bit since I don’t tuck very many tops in, but that will be a pretty simple change.

Overall, I’m really excited about this blouse, it’s very fun and adorable. Here is a better view of the fabric I’m using for the real thing.

It’s a cotton lawn and it’s semi-sheer so I will be underlining it with white cotton batiste.  I just realized today that I will probably need to consider matching the pattern…crazy!

Hopefully I’ll get started on the real Pendrell this weekend and I promise I’ll try to stop incorporating the word muslin in different parts of speech!



  1. It looks great!

    I think what happened to you with the shoulders is the usual reason people recommend doing an FBA – because if you have a full bust, you’ll end up swimming in the shoulders if you cut the bust to fit. Have you done one before? The jury is still out for me on the method but I will say that it drastically improved the fit in the bust! (It was the waist/hips where it caused drama, lol.)

    It’s going to look so cute in your fabric!

  2. Thanks for the comment! I considered doing an FBA, but the difference between my high chest and bust measurements was 2 inches, so I thought given the ease in this pattern I could get away without one…maybe I’ll have to reconsider though.

    I’ve never done an FBA and there’s not time like the present, right?!

  3. Did you pick the pattern based on your bust or high bust measurement? If you’re using your full bust measurement, then it would make sense that the shoulders were a bit loose as 2″ smaller would have been about one size down. Could be worth a shot!

    I have to say, it’s all confusing. Fit For Real People says that my cup size should be a B or a C I think, when in reality I’m an F cup! There’s only 2.5″ difference between my full bust and my high bust, but there’s like 6-7″ difference between my full bust and my rib cage. My mind, it boggles!

    I will say that this is the perfect pattern to try doing an FBA, it really was quite easy to do, it only took maybe 10 minutes to adjust the pattern piece. I suppose it also depends on how you want it to fit – it’s so loose that the proportions might not matter much, but it could be an easier way of getting the shoulders to fit? Really, whatever works best for your body and is easiest for you!

  4. Thanks for all the thoughts! It’s really helpful to get someone else’s perspective. My high bust was 40.5 and my bust was 42.5, and given how much ease is in the pattern I went with size 16 in the bust (which is a 41).

    I hope I don’t regret it, but I think I’m going to try making this up with just a few minor alterations to the size I cut. But I’m thinking of also making the view A soon, so I think I’ll try an FBA for that to see how that works!

  5. I have no helpful advice, but I think it looks pretty awesome! I’m impressed by how clean the sleeve ruffles look, though for all I know maybe that’s super easy. 🙂

  6. I think it looks great. Ruffles are nicely done!! I agree with the fit on the shoulders and arm holes. Making the center front will help a bit, but you may have the opposite problem with the full bust.

    One suggestion, especially with the cotton, is to rip off the selvages and then wash the fabric before you sew. There is a lot of sizing/starch in the fabric on the bolt, so this will usually help soften it. Use the hottest water the fabric can tolerate, which will help insure that the cotton shrinks before you make something rather than after.

    I did not see what the back fasteners look like…I am assuming it is not a zipper.

    When you mention matching the pattern, I guess that means it is a horizontal stripe. When I looked at it I thought it was vertical, but obviously I can’t see the selvages. If it is vertical, it is easier to deal with especially with princess seams. Matching is all about where the little matching diamonds are when you cut the pattern. If you lay it out so the matching pieces are next to each other, it is easier, but sometimes the fabric is not wide enough. Can I come over and help cut it out??

    the other trick with matching is to be sure the fabric on the bottom and top don’t slip when you are sewing the seam. You will be able to pin the matching together, but the feed dogs are on the bottom of your machine. My machine has a feed dog on top too… of the features that attracted me to it.

    Good Job!!

  7. Jess,
    thanks for the comment! I’m was Federer right now! The ruffles are awesome b/c they are self hemmed (all the edges are folded up and tucked into the seam), and that’s probably why they look so clean!

  8. […] it has taken me SO long to do a post on my finished Pendrell, particularly since I posted on my Pendrell muslin on January 21st and I actually finished the blouse before the end of January! I’ve enjoyed […]

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