I’ve had the Michelle Blouse from Schnittchen printed out for ages, but now that NZ is in lockdown and it’s not possible to print anything, I was finally spurred me on to testing it out (also because I hate buttonholes but love shirts)!
The Schnittchen plus-size patterns up to EU 56 or 53.54″ (136cm) bust and 55.91″ (142cm) hip. The shirt has a wide, swingy cut and a small collar, there is a yoke and a box-pleat in the center back.
It can be sewn up either sleeveless or with sleeves, but rather unusually the sleeveless version is exactly the same as the sleeved version but with bias tape around the armscye.
The pattern doesn’t list finished measurements, and although this arm hole looks very generous, there was no way the sleeve would fit my arm in there, so sleeveless version it is.
Size details: I cut out the straight size 56 (the largest side), and it’s too big across the shoulders, but there’s not enough cross over at the front for me to be certain that I wouldn’t flash a lot of people if worn outside of the house, and the shirt is much longer on me than it is on the model. I’d also need to do a very substantial full-bicep adjustment if I wanted to make the version with sleeves!
Would I make this pattern again?
Maybe.. The instructions were quite inscrutable and although the instruction sheet talked about instructions with pictures on the website, I wasn’t able to find any to use. I did quite a bit of head-scratching but I’m still not sure that I sewed things up in the correct order.
I love the aesthetic of the patterns, but I think it would likely be much quicker for me to start with a pattern that fits and adjust to recreate this look rather than spending the time to make the necessary adjustments at the shoulders, hips and the arms too.
I’ve had the extended sizes of the Kabuki Tee from Paper Theory printed out for ages now, and it’s been in the back of my mind that I ought to find some lovely linen for this for ages now. A couple of weeks ago I tried to find some examples of plus-size bodies in the pattern, but found so few of them (which was very surprising since it was such a popular pattern when it first came out).
I rarely toile but have done so this time around (which is why I didn’t bother to finish the neckline). I’ve never sewn a right angle sleeve before, so I read the instructions before starting (very rare) and also watched this video that Tara put together on how she does it.
I haven’t pressed anything for these pictures (sorry), but the instructions were good and the sleeve will sit perfectly once I iron it out.
The reason I chose to toile this is that so many folks got in touch with me to tell me to be careful with the pattern because they’d ended up with something very oversized that they weren’t very happy with.
I chose my size based on my bust measurement and didn’t grade out at the hips (which, as you can see was a mistake)! I made a straight size 22 for my 47″ bust and 54-ish” hips (I was relying on positive ease in the hips for the size 22). I don’t mind oversized but thought it was best to play it safe based on the advice from the hive mind.
I’ve popped some pictures which show the sample garments from the Paper Theory socials- the area between the neckline and where the sleeve portion begins is much wider on my size 22 than it is on the samples in white.
Unfortunately, I have pretty narrow shoulders, so where the sleeve starts is practically already at the edge of my shoulders (as opposed to sitting quite close to the neckline as it does in the samples). I’m not sure if this is an issue that’s unique to me or if the extended sizes drafting presumed I got a bit broader in the shoulder or perhaps it was trying to make the top in similar proportions).
What do you think, is it worth moving the sleeve in, lengthening the sleeves and grading out at the hips before giving it another go?
The Ashton is available up to a “size 30″ or a 58″ hip and 58” bust (drafted for a D-cup). Helen splits her cup sizes across her size range, with size 0-22 available with a B-cup bodice and size 12-30 available in the D-cup bodice. This is something I’ve never experienced before (since Cashmerette offers cup-sizes across her entire size range which doesn’t go as low as Helen’s).
Since the D cup option was the only one available in my size, I took it. I cut out my pattern with a size 24 at the shoulders and graded out to a size 26 at the hip. In the instructions, Helen provides lots of guidance on fitting and suggests not grading more than 1 size if you’d like to retain the boxiness. Unfortunately, I’ve got a lot of armhole gaping in this toile- perhaps I would have used a smaller cup-size bodice piece if that was available.
This isn’t a finished garment that I’d wear outside of the house, but I have been wearing it a lot indoors on warmer days. I might try sizing down to a size 20 bust and see if that will let me get away with no doing much editing to the pattern.
If you have already purchased the Torrens, you’ll get an email with the new sleeve pieces once we’ve finalised the instructions in the New Year!
Because I didn’t have much fabric, I wasn’t able to concentrate on pattern matching, but the two sleeves are non-identical twins! They’re pretty close, but the fabric was quite shifty and I didn’t want to stress much about trying to get the crepey squares to lay exactly straight.
The same virtues of the Torrens still apply here- Leila drafted the shoulder for larger bodies and also put a lot of thought in to the neckline as well. I find the neckline to be the perfect width for my narrow shoulders- it’s not too high and my bra straps are never on display. I don’t find that the top slips around during the day, and I certainly never have to pull the top down after it has slid backwards and started choking me at the neck (it just never happens and it’s a total game-changer). So, while this is a deceptively simple looking top that maybe doesn’t strike awe- the comfort factor is next level because there’s no ‘poor-fit’ issues affecting the wearing!