Tag Archives: Cina

Sewn: A Checkered Blouse

Since I am a huge trivia nerd, the panel show QI is one of my favourite TV shows. Not to mention how many great stand-up comics I’ve discovered through that show (so far I’ve seen Bill Bailey and Dara O’Briain, both great on stage!).

Anyway, in one of the episodes the discussion was about the cockpits in RAF fighter jets; I think it was during WW2. They sized up all the RAF pilots and deduced the “average RAF pilot” and designed the cockpit for that, thinking that it would be one size fits all. Instead, none of the pilots fit properly into the cockpit since no one of them actually was average.

This relates to sewing patterns. On an insta story, I recently saw a newish (?) pattern company putting out a call for sewers to help them with measurements for sizing. Being the cynical, and keeping the RAF story in mind, I quickly realized that there if you do sizing based on the average of  random group of people, it will fit none. And maybe that’s the way it should be. The other option is that it will fit just one person just right and still nobody else.

For me, I like it when pattern makers clearly describe how they have drafted the pattern; what size to choose, finished measurements, cup size and so on. I don’t trust any bloggers’ assertion that “great fit, right out of the envelope” for while that might is true for that particular person, it probably isn’t for the majority of people.

I decided to try out the patterns of Mönsterfabriken, a fairly new Swedish pattern designer. I like the fact that the patterns are basics, but with a twist. First out was the Cina top, which I sewed in a checkered cotton from Stoff och Stil to try out the fit and the techniques. The sizing guide makes it known that you should base your size on the primary measurement – in this case the bust measurement. So I did that.

If you, like me, have a larger bust, you know that this is a bad way to go. But I wanted to do it by the book, since I hadn’t worked with this pattern brand before. And while the pictures in this post might not be of how I plan to wear the top (it looks better with the front tucked in) it gives a good view of the fit.

The dart is a bit too high. It was expected, it is an alteration I usually do to account for my long torso. But also, which is common when you choose the size based on a unproportional measurement, the shoulder is too big and the sleeve hits too far out on my shoulder. Thirdly, the back is a little tight. I was thinking of sizing down, but that would mean that the back would get even tighter, and I don’t want to fiddle with the collar too much.

I do think this top has potential for me, however, I will not yet cut into the nice fabric I wish to have it. I think some more muslins are in order.

On the plus side: the pattern was great to work with, the instructions are sparse but you do get access to more thorough instructions for the tricker parts (fx. while not used in this version the instructions would say “sew cuffs”. That is all. You can use a method of your choice or use the more detailed instructions. I like this, no too long instructions explaining every little detail), the designer answered my questions over Instagram.

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