It is getting cold here in the Eastern US, but I know all the sewers in the Southern Hemisphere are gearing up for their warm weather clothes (jealous!). I'm still rockin' my Flora Blouse, just under my Cabernet Cardigans as I live in denial that warm temps are gone. But for those of you just getting started with warm weather, I wanted to share some answers to the most common fit concerns of the Flora Blouse.
How to choose your size
The Flora blouse is pretty easy. The bottom opening/ hem circumference is the narrowest part so I would choose your size based on hip circumference. The only exception to this would be if your chest is more than two size ranges above or below your hip size range, and then you may want to crunch the numbers a bit more and consider the information below.
If you are fairly consistent within the SBCC size chart I wouldn’t even think twice about the chest at all because there is about 7” of ease factored in. You’ll fit! And, bonus- no FBA's needed!
Reducing the hip circumference.
Here's what to do if you need to choose a bigger size because of your chest and are worried that the bottom opening will be too big:
Find your hip width on the sizing chart. Use that size and compare to the bottom opening finished garment measurements. Take that number and subtract from the hip opening you have selected. Take this amount divide by 4. Take each quarter of this increment and subtract from each side seam. Blend to zero at chest area.
The reverse can also be true if you need to choose based on a smaller chest circumference, but need to add to the hip. Instead of the above scenario where you are subtracting, you will add instead.
Removing fullness from the neckline
If you find that once you have made your muslin that the neck is too puffy, this one's for you. It’s going to be kinda generic as you need to estimate how much to remove based on how your fabric drapes.
Let’s say you want to remove 3” (7.6cm) of fullness from the front and 3”(7.6cm) of fullness from the back neck.
Start on the front- Draw three lines from the neck edge to the bottom hem. Make sure to leave a couple of inches between the two lines.
On the right side of each line mark 1/2” (1/2cm). Intersect this line to the bottom hem line. Repeat for other lines. This will equal 1 1/2” (3.8cm) (half of your 3” (7.6cm) reduction and since this piece is cut on the fold you have 3” (7.6cm) total.) Cut along one of the lines, stopping at the bottom edge. Try not to cut apart completely at the bottom edge.
Overlap this cut edge on top of the solid line 1/2” (1.2cm) mark and tape in place. Repeat for remaining lines.
Trim the top edge to make the neckline a smooth curve.
Increase the bicep/ sleeve opening
If you make up your muslin and find that the sleeve opening is too tight, don't worry. This is an easy fix!
Determine how much more you would need to make it feel comfortable. Let's say that you need 1" (2.5cm) more total circumference. Here's what you are going to do:
Divide the increase (total circumference) amount in half. At the underarm area, mark that amount. Repeat the same for the back.
Extend the sleeve opening down. Re-draw curve of underarm. Voila! That is it! Super simple right?
If you are not sure you can match the same curve, just go ahead and slice across the armhole horizontally then pivot at 90 degrees to blend to zero at the side seam. Shift down this new cut piece, the amount you need and tape in place.
Reducing the Neckline Opening
If the neckline is too big just reduce the total length of the elastic. For the traditional tunnel method this is easy. However, if you are using my method that requires two stitches then you have to check early. The best time to fix this is when you first sew it on before the turn over. If you complete this method and then need to reduce the elastic, it's going to be a pain in the butt to take out all the stitches.
Do you need to do an FBA?
Definitely not. The fullness around the neckline is a "dart" of sorts, offering shaping for the chest. Trust me, you'll fit.
I know alterations are not a fun thing, but sometimes it's that little extra step that you need to take to make it perfect and your go-to me-made. Flora is such a quick sew that it's worth the effort to perfect the fit so you can sew these up in multiples.
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