Pattern Testing – The Anthea Blouse
The Anthea Blouse is here!! Again I have taken part of the pattern testing process for Anna Allen Clothing’s newest garment – the Anthea Blouse. A versatile pattern that comes with 2 different versions, dress and blouse and 2 sleeve lengths. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I love Anna Allen’s patterns, they are just beautiful. They are easy styles that always have different views and are easy to hack and adapt. Also, her Instagram always has such lovely inspirational pictures it’s hard not to want to make them straight away. You can read the previous blog post here featuring the Pomona pants, which I also helped test.
My sewing has generally improved so much due to testing patterns, by reading the instructions carefully and following along step by step. Being pushed into different techniques and styles I might not necessarily pick for myself.
I’m currently 6 months pregnant, so when I was asked to test, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to. But this pattern is quite free sized at the waist and hips so wasn’t a problem.
Anthea Blouse Process
As I’m pregnant and the waist and hips are free sized, I decided to just go based on bust size. My usual bust measurement in about 34 inches but pregnancy has increased that to 37 inches. That would put me at a size US10 based on my measurements. But I always like to look at the finished garment sizes. This has 7 inches ease around the bust and as I didn’t want it too oversized, I went for a US6.
After viewing all of Anna Allen’s versions on her Instagram I decided to go with a 100% Linen that I bought from my local fabric shop. Also, who is enjoying going to actual real life fabric shops!! I have found a similar linen available online here. I don’t often sew with linen and this checked version didn’t seem very like me, but I fell in love with it.
The Anthea blouse came with quite a few techniques that I usually avoid, bias binding, button holes and set in sleeves. I decided to follow the pattern step by step, to help with testing. But also, to make these techniques less of a chore.
Firstly, you stay stitch the neckline and fold over the centre fronts to create the button stand. You are supposed to add interfacing, but I don’t often do this as I’m a bit of a lazy seamstress. Then the sides and shoulder seams are sewn and finished. The neckline is then finished with a bias binding strip. The pattern instructions tell you to just use the strip and press it as you go, and although I followed this technique, I think next time I will pre-press it. It’s a little less fiddly this way. After this the sleeves are gathered on the upper and lower edges, with two lines of basting stitches. Before pulling the gathers in you finish the sleeve seams, this is where I messed up and overlocked my basting tails into my seams. Some unpicking later I was able to gather and attach my sleeves and cuffs.
These are the most dramatic sleeves I have made before and I was dubious if they would suit me, But I absolutely love them!
Anthea Blouse Adjustments
I didn’t need to make any fitting adjustments to the Anthea Blouse. I have made quite a few Anna Allen patterns before so know the sizing pretty well. The only adjustment I made was to add 7 inches to the hem, so it was more of a tunic, rather than a blouse. This works really well for me over my maternity leggings.
Would I make it again?
When I started making it, I wasn’t sure if the pattern was for me, or if I would just end up with one for the test. But not only did I end up with a garment I loved I really enjoyed the process. I enjoyed being careful and slow with my binding and sewing my buttonholes. I especially love the statement sleeves. I’ve been styling it in different ways, layered over maternity leggings and dresses as well as tied.
The pattern is available now, you can purchase it on Anna Allen’s Website
I’d love to hear if any of you make the Anthea Blouse or Dress – send me links in the comments
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