Sunday, June 10, 2012

PR Contest-McCalls 5138 Blouse Review

This is my entry for the PR "One Pattern, 
Many Looks" contest.  I needed some 
summer blouses & this contest 
was just the incentive I needed.  
The rule was to use 1 pattern and
make at least 2 variations of the same
item.  I used this pattern and made
3 short sleeve blouses.

Description:Misses fitted blouse with front & back horizontal darts; sleeve length options, convertible collar, and shaped hem.

Sizing:I made size 14 at shoulders going out to sz 16 at hips. Note that this is a close fitting blouse. So for the 2nd & 3rd versions, I added a little to the side seams to get a little looser fit.

Fabric Used: For my 1st version, I used a cotton blend from WalMart that I paid $1.50 a yard. It’s actually nice and such a pretty watercolor print. It doesn’t wrinkle much, but does ravel quite a bit. For my 2nd version, I used a light weight cotton that I got at a local fabric store. It has a textured design on it. For the 3rd version, I used a cotton from Joann Fabrics. I believe it’s a “quilting” cotton, but it’s heavier than most and comes out of the dryer hardly wrinkled and has a very nice feel to it. And I LOVE the print.

Pattern alterations and design changes :I took 1" off the shoulder - this is a standard alteration for me. Changes for View 2 and 3: added to side seam; omitted the front vertical darts; increased bust dart a little; made a sway back adjustment; added 2 inches to the length.

Sleeves: version 1 has a narrow band; version 2 is plain; version 3 has cuffs in contrasting fabric.

I changed how the back neck is faced. The pattern has you to clip the undercollar, fold under and stitch to cover the seam. I did this on my 1st blouse, but I don’t really like this method. So, for the 2nd & 3rd versions, I used a bias strip as a “mini facing”. I think this is much better; it’s neater and actually easier to do.

Love this & will do all my collars this way from now on.
I made the collar using this method.  collar

Conclusion: Now that I’ve got the fit right, I love this pattern. It’s a basic blouse that’s quick and easy to make. Only 4 pattern pieces: front, back, collar and sleeve. Plus the sleeve band or cuff, if you like. And it’s well drafted; everything fits together very well. The only issue I have is that there’s a little too much ease in the sleeve cap. I would definitely recommend this pattern.

First blouse

I didn't make a sway back adjustment on the 1st one, 
but did on the 2nd & 3rd,  and the fit is so much better.

3rd blouse

with sway back adjustment


  1. Great tops Beverly! They are all lovely but particularly love the paisley with the white collars and cuffs - AND your beautiful surroundings.

  2. blue and yellow floral one is my favorite