A team of pattern testers have been busy making a new pattern from Pattern Union – the Cora Blouse!
This is a really versatile pattern. It can be made in a knit for a casual look, in a fine fabric for evening wear, and anything in between!
As is usual with Pattern Union, the patterns are layered by size, so you only need to print the sizes you require. It comes in cup sizes A-G and the drafting is impeccable.
There are a variety of styling methods and Sarah has made YouTube videos to walk you through most of the techniques. There is always some little tip to learn. She was a professional pattern drafter and commercial maker so is full of techniques to impart.
The pattern is designed for a soft, drapey fabric such as rayon, but of course I didn’t use any of that! My first one was this lovely fine cotton which was a donation to my stash by my lovely friend Leonie. It was her mother’s and I suspect was bought in the 1980s.
I made Style B, which has entredeux stitch. Entredeux is French for “between two”, and in heirloom sewing is a narrow strip of fine cotton with tiny square holes down the centre. It is usually hand drawn and hand stitched. Very few home sewists would go to this much trouble, so enter the winged or hemstitch needle!
I was having a fiddle with my machine and notice that I have settings for all the different sorts of needles. Good to know, and what a surprise – I really should read the manual!
I was surprised to see that the double winged needle is included and I have one of these so gave it a go. I was marginally disappointed with the results so went back to the single winged needle and chose an heirloom stitch which I did in contrasting thread.
The back is simple with a slit in the neck, a rouleau loop and a button.
I’ve worn this top quite a bit since I made it – it’s perfect for our current autumn weather.
Then I had a go at Style C. I was a bit intrigued by the collar and Sarah has a fabulous silk version. I was thinking wearable toile so found some minty green cotton, again from the 1980s, and again donated by Leonie. It is quite fine cotton but has very little drape.
I didn’t like it much in this fabric at first, but I have to say that the stand up collar has grown on me. I didn’t know how I’d feel about that pale green and have to admit that it wasn’t a top I reached for. Bring out the ice dye!
I didn’t want to smother the green, just hide it a little, so I used blue and yellow and didn’t leave it to sit for long after the ice had melted. It’s a little more washed out than I had anticipated, but I do like it!
I was posing with the bear we have sitting on our front verandah. My mum made this bear when Tom was born and she made the clothes too. She clearly thought the bear was going to grow into those trousers!!
There are some nice details in the back. My Insta friend, @janyeraven has pointed out that there’s a tiny fox in the middle of the back. She’s right – great observation skills!
Given the stiffness of the collar in the green one, I thought I’d try a simple cotton knit from Knitwit here in Perth. This knit has very little stretch but quite a bit of drape.
For this one I made the sleeves full length and did a bit of a slash and spread from the elbow to the bottom to give a bit of volume.
I went to considerable trouble to ensure that those circles didn’t turn into bullseyes, but they clearly had other ideas!!
I really like the collar effect at the back, but I feel as though it could do with a press. I didn’t press it as the pattern calls for it to be soft and rolling.
My next one is from yet another piece of cotton lawn donated to my stash. This was a tiny piece of fabric and I had to cut the sleeves on the cross grain.
This is Style A, but instead of using traditional tassels I thought I’d make them with buttons. I found two of several different coloured buttons and sewed them on. I’m a bit taken with this.
I did the hemstitch/entredeux round the cuffs and hem. I matched the thread for a more heirloom appearance. It’s very subtle but quite effective.
Once we’d finished the pattern testing I still wanted to make one like a jumper. I found some cotton/silk knit in my stash. This came from Knitwit and is really luscious. I think I bought it in every colour way!
Instead of having a split collar at the back I sewed it up like a tube. This was Sarah’s suggestion and it’s perfect for this sort of fabric. The top slips over my head easily so buttons were unnecessary.
I used the slashed sleeve pattern and here it is before I sewed in the elastic.
The wider sleeves are a bit of a statement and I quite like them.
This top was made with the Sew Together for Summer challenge in mind. The challenge is currently running on Instagram with the theme “leisurewear”, and I thought this would be a perfect contender. It only took a couple of hours to make from cutting out to photographing. The wonders of knits! All seams are overlocked, the hem is coverstitched and because I’d made a few already, I didn’t have to worry about any pesky fitting. This one was truly a piece of cake and it will be perfect with leggings and black jeans, although I’m wearing it here with my Ralph Pink trousers which I made in 2017.
The pattern has just been released and I’ve already made five of them, with a few more planned eventually. I really like this pattern. Because it’s designed for wovens, it has darts and a slightly boxier shape, but it’s perfect for knits too. I kept the darts and I didn’t change the sizing. Neither of my knits are particularly stretchy, but it is nice to use fabric with a bit of give. This is also the perfect trans-seasonal pattern. Sleeveless or short sleeves for summer, with longer sleeves for spring and autumn. For those of us who have mild winters, a heavier fabric will provide a jumper. I can’t recommend this pattern enough and it’s currently on sale, so it’s a real bargain.