Hello my lovelies! I really need to come up with some better ways to start posts. Oh well, maybe this can be my signature thing or whatever. Here is my Ngaio blouse!

I really liked this when I saw it on Leimomi’s blog – both back in the day when she made it for herself and then again when she released it as a pattern. I loved that it had bust cup sizes. I don’t care for the way the yellow top looks on the model – I mean, I think it looks fine but it’s not a look I want for myself. But the other one with a larger cup size is my JAM. I think for me I want the seamline to sit under my bust, when it’s on top of my bust I feel flattened and a strange shape. Once again, it’s a shape I think looks good on others but I find it disorienting on myself. Body image is a strange thing.

Ngaio-Blouse-Front-Pagev6long.png

Ngaio blouse

The readme for the PDF gives really clear instructions about which sections to print for which size, which I always appreciate. I printed everything off though because I wasn’t sure what cup size I’d end up using. The PDF went together really well, I love the way Leimomi organises and marks matching on her PDF patterns. I also REALLY love that her sizes are actual measurement sizes – if you’ve got a 46″ bust you’ll sew the size 46.

My measurements are High bust 42″, Full bust 46″, Waist 41″ and Hips 46″ – ish. These measurements all fluctuate by an inch or so but they are fairly accurate. I wear a 36DDD/E bra. Going by the detailed measurement guides this put me in a size 44 with the largest bust cup. I wasn’t too sure about this and I did up a muslin. It… sort of fit. Here are some photos of me where I look like death, wearing the muslin for you. I hope you appreciate it.

It was too tight though. I let out the side seams and it fit me better (this is what you see above) but still tight, I didn’t love where the bust seam was hitting me, Obviously this is accentuated by the two-tone fabric choices! But it made me look squished and boxy. And the upper back was WAY tight. So I went up a size and kept the same bust size . The final size that I sewed was a 46 with the largest cup size E/F.

The muslin of this size was still tight across my upper back so I did a upper back adjustment but I don’t think I did a great job. I haven’t quite worked out the best way to do this adjustment for myself. I really need the room across my shoulder blades but not at my upper back/shoulders. This combined with the style lines of the blouse results in some puffiness that I don’t super love – but I need that room for movement!

Perhaps I should just have added on to the sides of the back piece? As it is it’s much better than it was – I can sit comfortably at a desk and reach forward, for example – but still a teeny bit tight.

You can see the pull lines at the armscye. The sleeve is also pulling back towards my underarm in a way I’m not quite sure how to diagnose – any thoughts?

Anyway I think this back fit the best I’m going to get without adding in centre back/princess seams. I’m toying with mashing it up with the Springfield princess line back which fit me so spot on. I like the style lines as they are and I’m loathe to muck with them but when I see that back on me I’m not enthralled.

I did sew the back dart a teeny bit deeper, otherwise fabric pooled horizontally but now of course it makes the pouchiness more extreme. Swings and roudabouts!

I also moved the back bottom darts up and shortened them incrementally with each muslin. They’ve ended up with the bottom of the dart being 4″ higher than drafted and the top 2″ higher. As drafted the sat right over the fullest part of my butt. I have a long torso but not THAT long! This was an easy change to make, however.  I do love how high up the back neck comes.

I used the full instructions for this because I found the process a bit confusing at first. I do love that Leimomi supplies a short and a long set of instructions but I think in future I will still use the long instructions for this, and just look at the pictures, since the steps are specific enough to this blouse to need the help (i.e. it’s not just ‘sew back to front at shoulders and sides’).

I loved that the instructions told you which direction to sew your seams in – it really makes a difference in a make like this where there’s a lot going on and the way the top sits and fits depends on the way it drapes. A really excellent touch that Jessica also pointed out.

This was an incredibly fast and satisfying sew.  You can really tell the drafting and testing work that has gone into this pattern. Leimomi uses it to teach classes and you can really tell that all the rough edges have been smoothed off and only the necessary bits are in the instructions.

Untucked

I do wish the sizes went up a bit larger. In my opinion this runs small, which puts me in the third-to-top size. That’s still more generous than a lot of big 4 sizes where I am often the very top size, or other indies where I can only squeeze into their patterns by doing an FBA and some cheater grading. I do greatly appreciate the broader size range and the fact that it is actually appropriately shaped but there’s still a way to go. I know that both running a small business and drafting for a large size range is very challenging, I’d like to hope that if Scroop patterns gets bigger Leimomi might be able to revisit her patterns and go even higher. I would like my larger compatriots to be able to sew this pattern, too, without needing to grade.

Anyway. The fabric is some shirting that I THINK I got at rathdowne remnants? It’s a wee bit poly feeling. I sewed this up at craft camp and I finished the seams with whatever thread was in someone else’s overlocker at the time so the insides aren’t super pretty! But that’s fine by me.

Not as pouchy when untucked. Perhaps it’s too tight at the hips?

I would definitely like to sew this up again. The shirt is distinctive but I think it’s also simple and elegant enough to get away with having a few of these in rotation. I prefer sleeves but I can definitely see a sleeveless version in my future for summer, because the front makes it less basic and negates my main issue with sleeveless which is that I always feel underdressed. Yet another irrational preference that I know isn’t objective but I’ve learnt my own foibles!

TL;DR:

  • Sewed a size 46 with an E/F cup
  • Did a broad upper back adjustment of about 1″ I think
  • Moved the bottom back darts up 4″, shortened by 2″, widened very slightly at the top
  • Fabric is a plain shirting from Rathdowne Remnants (I think?)
  • Seams were sewn on the sewing machine and then finished with overlocking
  • The hem is dodgy as usual. I might redo it or I might just always wear it tucked in.

Next time I would:

  • Consider subbing in a princess seam back
  • There’s still some weirdness with the armscye and sleeve – it fits ok (a small miracle in itself!) but there are pull lines it would be nice to figure out what that’s about
  • I think I might need to do a sloped shoulder adjustment, that would help the pooling at my shoulder and might also help with the sleeve issue?
  • I will definitely be sewing this again though! Very pleased with this make.

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8 thoughts on “Ngaio blouse

  1. This top looks amazing! That drape! And it looks super complicated too so good to hear it was really an easy sew.

    Being a broad backed person myself, I wonder if that is what the drag lines also coming from the back of the sleeve indicate? Either way, there is a prominent shoulder blade alteration and several broad back alterations in Fit For Real People, which you can perform in such a way as it doesn’t affect the fit of the rest of the back or shoulder seam. That book is an endlessly useful resource.

    1. Thank you! It is not actually at all complicated to sew! Fit is a different thing but that’s my ongoing battle…

      I think it certainly has SOMETHING to do with the draglines. I mean… that area just isn’t fitting right so it’s obviously affecting it. Whether that’s the whole story is another question which I am not equipped to answer! I was actually just looking at FFRP after I blogged. I made this top at craft camp and so only had what was on the internet but I definitely need to dive deeper into that book. I’ve actually found it quite disappointing for bust adjustments (and obviously there’s not much about pants because that’s a separate book!) but it looks much more comprehensive for back and shoulder and neck stuff.

  2. I can’t help with fitting issues, but just wanted to thank you for another great, detailed write-up. I really like this pattern, but I’m just outside the size range in the hips & I’d have to do a lot of grading between sizes so I will wait until I’ve got more experience!

    1. The hips area would be quite easy to grade up, I think – although it’s all relative! I mean, it’s still work that needs to be done, you know? I definitely would say this runs small though so you might need to do some adjusting of the rest of it if you’re already in the top size, which is a shame.

  3. Oooh thank you for posting this review! I’ve been umming and aahhing about this top, because I LOVE the style – 30s blouses are my jam – but if it runs small I may have to do a bit of grading, as I think my bust is in the top size and my waist/hip aren’t on the chart (which is common tbh). Anyway I think you look chic and terrific! \o/

    1. Yeah it definitely runs small – other people have also said this. Not HEAPS but enough you know? I think the waist/hip area would be easy to grade up and the bust would be trickier. But I am not a grading expert so I can’t be sure. Either way it’s still work that I wish you wouldn’t have to do. 😦

      Thank you! Chic and terrific is p much what I am going for always 😛

  4. What a stylish looking top! Such beautiful design details. I love the look of those neck darts in the back. I would love to try out this pattern but I know that like you, I would have to seriously fiddle with those back darts. I can’t imagine ever needing darts to take in fabric around my hips, the widest part of my body. I think I might consider leaving the darts out until I was done and then pin them in place until I achieved the look that I wanted. I like your idea of princess seams in back. I always get such a nice fit with those.

Whadya reckon?

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