Stripy Bonnie blouse by Sew Over It – Pattern review

Hi sewing friend, in today’s post I will be sharing my thought on the newest pattern edition from Sew Over It. The moment I lay my eyes on the cover photo I had this instant urge to make one for myself.

Pattern

The pattern comes as a cropped blouse or a dress option that can be made with or without pleats on the front. The other main details are: concealed button placket, turn up sleeve cuffs and flat collar. The top is slightly looser and gathered into a waistband. and Bonnie dress features a gathered knee length skirt which is cinched in at the waist by an elastic.

Pattern alternations

With Sew Over It patterns I usually have to make some adjustments to improve the overall fit of the garment, so making a toile first was a necessity. I had put on some weight recently so had to cut out size 20 based on my bust and waist measurements. I ignored looking at hips measurements because the blouse should sit at the waist level. I made my first toile from cheap cotton fabric to check what alternation I would have to make to the pattern. I always find it very useful to take this also as an opportunity to practice and learn new techniques or just to check if the pattern instructions are clear and concise.

I established (top two photos) that I will need a number of adjustments to make this garment fit my body better. I would need to reduce shoulder seam and adjust armhole curve, plus a full bust adjustment is necessary because the front hem is raising substantially. Also the bust dart placement needs to be altered as it is too low.

I considered simply raising the bust dart first, but it would sit very close to an armhole seam, which I did not think would look nice and instead I chose to alter an angle of the dart, following by 2.5 cm FBA. This made the bodice even more boxy, hence my decision to size down to 18. Since my waist circumference falls closer to size 20 I also had to extend the waistband by 10 cm, which in turn meant that my bodice will net be as gathered as much. Next I decreased the shoulder seam by 1 cm and smoothed the armhole curves on both front and back pattern pieces. My last alternation was to shorten the sleeve length by 2 cm, because I felt it looked a little of balance and also would be more comfortable.

Fabric choice

I had purchased 2 meters of this beautiful lightly sheer viscose and poly blend fabric from myfabrics.co.uk for £7.45 per meter specially for this project. I really liked the color combination of white , black and blue and thought it would be easy to put together with other items from my wardrobe. The material is very delicate and shifts a lot, so I had used some spray starch to stabilize it more. I took my time (90 minutes) cutting out individual pattern pieces by laying the fabric on a cutting mat and using a rotary blade to allow for as little movement as possible. Even this was not enough and I still had some stripes that way a little bit off grain. Once the fabric was cut it was not as bad during sewing and pressing stage.

What I forgot to consider when choosing this fabric was that vertical pleats on the front would distort the fabric pattern. This is clearly visible here because the stripes are not symmetrical it was impossible to mirror match both left and right front pieces. This is something that I realized only after I stitched all pleats already, but it does not bother me and I consider it a design choice hihihi

Sewing the pattern

From the very beginning I wanted to make this blouse as neat and beautiful inside as it is on the outside and finishing all seams with a french seam was a clear winner here. Also choosing the right interfacing for this delicate fabric was very important. I needed something that was lightweight but with enough body to enforce the button placket. Lucky for me I have a number of different interfacing at home, because I always experiment with it to find out how it will affect and change the fabric. I must say I really love the hidden placket, but somehow missed that you supposed to put press studs on the beginning and at the end. Instead I simply made 6 buttonholes, and not 5 as instructed and placed the first and the last as close to the edge as possible. I am happy with the result, however it can be a little bit tricky to button up the top one.

I made this top in a total of 8 hours, giving as much attention to details as much as I could. I really like that there is some hand stitching involved, because it makes the process more thoughtful and professional looking finish.

Due to doing a full bust adjustment the width of the bust dart increased quiet a bit and it was very noticeable on this fabric, which made me unhappy to say the least! I never used a french seam on darts before so it did not crossed my mind, but I knew I had to do something to make this dart “disappear”. The easiest way for me was to make a fake french seam, because I was afraid to damage the fabric while unpicking those darts.It worked like a charm.

The pattern may look complicated, but in all honesty is not that difficult. To make hidden placket and pleats all you need is it to fold the fabric and stitch in specific places….very easy, but precision is a key here. One thing I found a little confusing while following the instruction on making the pleats is that the booklet tells you to fold the fabric right sides together and stitch, but the illustration show that wrong sides are together….go with an illustration here, otherwise you will end up with plackets on the inside of your garment. If you look closely you can see on my first toile left side is done as per instruction and right side per illustration.

Final thoughts

This is a lovely pattern with lots of interesting details, but I am not sure if the cropped version suits my body type. I like it and will definitely find a way to style and wear it, but if I make another version I will omit the waistband and extend the bodice to reach hip level…..saying that you will see very soon a dress version without pleats, that I will make in October as part of a #SwapShareSew challenge. More on that later!

~What do you think about Bonnie pattern?~

Monika xxx