This particular pattern, a shirred blouse, appeared in the August 2014 issue of Burda Style. It features a cut-in-one shirred/draped collar, and pleated peplum. I had purchased an amazing panel print, called “cheetah fantasy”, with border from Linda at EOS that I could easily envision in this design. It was only available in petite sizes. Since I qualify as “petite”, I decided to simply follow the recommended measurements. It was difficult to flat measure due to the shirring, and I could be sure how much ease was needed. I liked the fit on the model, and, based on my experience with Burda, “it should be fine” … this would turn out to be a mistake.
Overall, this fabric, which is a poly-silk, can be tricky to sew. It snags easily, and is quite slippery to work with. It also makes it challenging to cut. A sharp rotary cutter and fresh blade is MANDATORY for this project. I carefully arranged, and rearraged the pattern pieces and panel placement over and over, until I achieved a balance I liked. I decided to feature the printed borders on the peplum, and solid borders on the sleeves (i intentionally made them in dissimilar prints). The back was contrasted to the front, which was an oversized leopard print.
For the assembly, I used a microfiber needle and the dual feed feature of my Bernina 750QE (the 830E was in the shop, which is much easier to sew fine fabrics on, oh well …) For the hems, I did a narrow roll serger hem. It was really the only option available to me, given the way this fabric behaved when sewn on the bias. I would say, surprisingly enough, the most challenging aspect of this project overall was the pressing of the pleats and steaming in of the extra “pouf” created by the shirring. The pleats were not evenly spaced, or even in size. I had to play with how they would hang (some on the bias), and worked with vertical steam on the form at times.
The fastening called for two central snaps, but I find that snaps don’t seem to hold well, so I substituted a slide fastener.
Overall, this pattern runs big. It was so big that I added some elastic to the waistline to give it a more defined shape. I originally wore it with a belt, but the slippery fabric struggled to stay in place.