The other day, I published the fabric requirements for the Pendrell Blouse. I wanted to follow up today with a few ways to reduce the amount of fabric required.
You might have looked at the yardages and thought, “Wow! That seems like a lot!” That’s what I thought when I calculated the requirements but it’s true, that’s what you need to make the blouse the way it’s designed. There are a few tricks and tips you could try, to reduce the amount of fabric used, so I thought I’d share them with you!
Here are some suggestions and ways to use less fabric for your Pendrell Blouse:
1. Cut fabric open.
Most cutting layouts are done on the fold. This is because it’s less work to cut out two pieces through a double layer of fabric, rather than cutting two pieces through a single layer of fabric. Also, it ensures that both pieces are cut exactly the same size. However, you can squeeze more pieces on your fabric if you cut it open, as a single layer. Just don’t forget to cut the ‘Cut 2’ pieces twice!
Another cool benefit to cutting your fabric open, is that you can choose where the print is placed on the garment. For example, if you have a very large floral print, you can make sure that you don’t end up with two big flowers centered over the bustline! Or if the print has large sections of different colours, you can choose the part you want closest to your face. It does give you greater control, as well as allow you to fit the pattern pieces more closely together.
2. Use bias tape.
In the blouse pattern, I’ve included pieces for self-fabric bias binding. I like the look of self-fabric binding, and I wanted to make sure you had enough fabric to cut the strips if need be.
However, if you have a gorgeous piece of blouse fabric that’s not quite enough, use bias tape instead, or use a different fabric for the bias strips. Maybe there’s something in your scrap bag that might work? Bias binding uses a TON of fabric and there’s a lot wasted because of the diagonal pieces. I like the look of self-binding best, but it’s not the only way to go!
3. Cut the ruffles on the straight grain.
For View B, I’ve placed the seam ruffle and sleeve ruffle on the bias. Why? So they drape nicely, it’s definitely my favourite look. And if you use a stripe or plaid, the ruffles will have pretty diagonal lines!
But if you’re short on fabric, this is one place you can try cutting the ruffles on the straight grain. Simply line up the fold line along the straight grain, and ignore the marked grainline.
4. Shorten the blouse.
I love the super-long length of the Pendrell blouse. It reaches to approximately hip length, depending on your height, which makes it easy to tuck in (and stay tucked in!) If you are looking to save fabric though, there’s easily room to shorten the blouse. Especially if it’s your second time making the blouse or you’ve made a muslin first. Take a look at your first blouse, and pin up the hem to the new, shortened length. Now measure the amount you’ve pinned up, and shorten each pattern piece by this amount.
Another way to figure out the shortened length is to measure the length of a blouse you like, from your closet. Measure the centre back length, from the base of the neck to the bottom of the hem. Now take a look at the finished Pendrell Blouse length (on the back of the pattern envelope). Subtract the new blouse length from the finished blouse length, and deduct this amount from your pattern pieces before cutting them out.
Remember, cutting layouts are a guideline. There was a great post on the Colette Patterns Blog called ‘The Truth about Cutting Layouts’, explaining why pattern layouts aren’t perfect. She says it so well! There’s a reason why you can often get a better, tighter layout than the diagram in the pattern instructions.
I hope this helps! Please ask away if you have any questions.