For me, fitting shirts are just as tricky as fitting pants. I have an excellent fit for my everyday t-shirts with a modified Union St pattern, but I’ve struggled to get a decent fit in a woven pattern. When the Norma blouse didn’t fit, instead of altering, I ended up drafting a pattern from my measurements. What I am showing with this post is the difference between my self-drafted pattern and the Norma blouse and how to modify the Norma blouse to make it look like my self-drafted pattern.
For the comparison between my self-drafted pattern and the Norma blouse, I will use size 14. That’s the size I would choose if I were going to make the pattern.
Front Pattern Piece
If you follow me on Instagram (handmadephd), you’ll know that I worked through many muslins, and the only way I could remove the gaping at the front armhole is to do this alteration. I cut from the armhole to my bust point but didn’t cut through the bust point. I cut another line vertical from my hem to the bust point, again making sure not to cut through the bust point. I was then able to overlap the amount I needed at the armhole while simultaneously spreading at the hem. I had to redraw my armhole, shown in red.
This alteration raises the armhole to remove the gap and moves the dart to the hemline. I could have moved the dart to the side seam and created an actual bust dart, but I tried to draft a pattern with no darts.
Like my Union St tee, I have a short front armhole and always need to lower the entire front shoulder seam. I also have a forward thrusting shoulder, so the outer shoulder seam is lowered more than the shoulder seam at the neckline.
Surprisingly, those are the only alterations needed for the front pattern piece! Amazing. It looks like there’d be a lot more to do.
Back Pattern Piece
I’m astonished by this difference. I thought initially that the size 14 pattern piece was not the correct size, but after tweaking the pattern piece, I see that size 14 is correct. Going up to a larger size created more issues.
This makes it clear that I need to make broad back alterations to my shirt patterns! To do this alteration, cut from the notch along the armscye down below the seam allowance on the armhole, then shift the back piece to be wider. Redraw the armhole and the side seam.
I had some gaping on the back armhole too. Not as much as the front armhole, but I still needed to do the same alteration by moving the dart from the armhole to the hem.
Similar alterations have to be made to the shoulder seam as was done for the front piece. The entire shoulder seam needs to be lowered, but then the outer shoulder point needs to be moved forward to accommodate my forward-thrusting shoulders. I know this looks odd, but the shoulder seam at the neck is too far forward and needs to be lowered even though the shoulder point at the shoulder needs to be moved forward.
When the dart was moved to the hem, it is possible that the side seam needs to be adjusted.
Besides checking the side seams, the neckline on my self-drafted pattern is slightly lower than the Norma blouse. That’s an easy change.
If the sleeve had been more fitted, I’m sure I would have had to make many changes. I tried the original sleeve pattern and didn’t hate the result, so I didn’t change anything.
I’m rather shocked I was able to draft a pattern for myself, but then I’m even more astonished that I could derive the same result through alterations of the Norma blouse pattern. I love my new shirt, and I’m happy to have a basic pattern to draft more shirts.
Thank you as always for visiting my blog!
Hello! It’s wonderful to see a fellow scientist sewist. Thank you for sharing your creation!
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