Status Update on Sisters of Edwardia, and A Weird-As Sizing Inquiry

But first-  a former student of mine and reader brought to my attention last week some errata on the Blank Canvas Tee.  Thank you, D!  The issue is that for sizes 30, 35, and 40, the shoulder looks something like this:

Terrible.  I do apologize.  This is the simple omission of a single line on a single page and I assume that the thirteen hundred or so (!!How did that happen?!!) sewists who downloaded the pattern shrugged and corrected it, but if you encountered this and wanted to set your hair on fire in frustration, I do apologize.  It was me, not you.  I also corrected a missing size number on the CB foldline.  The size 40 shares a back foldline with the 30 and 35, the same as the front. The corrected pdf is uploaded to both Craftsy and the Blank Canvas Tee page.

While we’re on the subject of my shortcomings as a patternmaker- The Kimono Wrap Top was my first “real” pattern and it shows in the digitizing.  I have since drafted a large size of the pattern and as soon as I nail down the Sisters of Edwardia, I plan to re-issue that one as a multi-size with cleaner and prettier digital work.  I haven’t pulled the buggy one, but I did reduce the price and label it as a “draft.”  It’s useable, not a complete mess, but it’s also obvious I was learning by doing.  If you bought the original one and you have an issue, please email me and we’ll set it right.

This is the gingham version of the Sisters of Edwardia blouse I made for myself to riff on the blouses Lady Edith and Lady Sybill pass around on the Edwardian-period drama Downton Abbey.  It’s a bit quirky, but comfortable and suitable for a wide range of lightweight summer fabrics.  It features a “Sabrina” style neckline, elbow-length bias kimono sleeves, underarm gusset (with excessive instructions!) contrast bands and a semi-fitted midriff section.  It’s just the kind of simple-but-a-bit-odd, easily embellished, versatile pattern I like.

Here’s the silk twill version, with slightly longer sleeves.  I’ve been playing around with this pattern for the better part of a month.  It took me a couple of days to make a version for myself and sew it, but making a good pattern for others to use is much more involved.  I don’t like to issue corrections and re-do work I’ve already done.  I’d rather get it right from the beginning.  Or close to right.

I’m close, I’m so close with this one.  This is the second or so draft of the fronts on my kitchen counter drafting table.  Now, I’ve been going back and forth with myself about how to publish the pattern- as a multi-size, or in single sizes, or in two groups?   Most ladies who requested a notification are 35-40 sizes.  I am completely confident that the ratios are correct for these sizes, and I’m tempted to release 30-35-40 while the other sizes are in testing.

I guess I’m a numbers nerd, because rather than work with regular grading (which often leaves both petites and plus sizes frustrated) I work with ratios.  I’ll post my thoughts on that tomorrow, because this post is already getting long!

And that’s just it- I’m making this up as I go along and I need some help.  I want to refine some of my ratios to double-check my drafts, especially the larger sizes.  My ratio tables are only as good as my data, and the more numbers I have, the better my final drafts.

This work isn’t just for this blouse, but for the other two loooovely modern-Edwardia blouses I have in the making.  Once I crack this one, the others will come more easily.  Your help will improve and inform my patternmaking as I work on other designs.  Consider this a stepping stone to patterns like Megan’s Vendetta and all the other crazy stuff going on in my head.

The base sizes for this pattern are the same as the BCT- logical, straightforward, full bust measurements.  (And as Tanit-Isis noted, you go down a size for a close fit, and up a size for a relaxed fit.)  I’m also sticking to the 5″ intervals because even though Sisters of Edwardia is a woven, it’s a blousey fit which gives us some wiggle room.  For the waistband piece, I again decided to be logical.  You choose the waistband piece based on your actual waist measurement- 25″-46″.

Here’s what I need to double check, and even if you aren’t interested in this particular blouse I do hope you’ll crack out your measuring tape and help me (please, please, please, pretty please!):

Full bust. No denting, but still firm.

Distance between the Bra Straps

From the base of the neck (between the clavicle bones) to the "point of no return," that is, the top of the cleavage. This top has a higher neckline than that, but it informs my ratios to work with the "point of no return" measurement.

Bicep- fullest part of the arm. Because nothing sucks more than a pretty top with tight biceps.

I take Metric or Imperial, either way.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  I’ll wait a few days to compile the numbers, then refine the drafts, digitize and test them.  In the meantime, I’m working on this month’s hack- the 40’s Charm top! 

Also, if you haven’t seen it already, check out Casey’s gorgeous Edwardian dress.  Swoon!


  1. I love the faces you pulled for the pictures! Clearly there were 1300 or so very polite and intelligent people who quickly solved their problem – that’s a good thing :) Meanwhile – I’m liking that pink gingham (surprise surprise)!

    • Yes–it’s a head-scratcher. But fixed now.

      Hehehe faces… I love Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and she does some truly hideous faces in her photos… She makes me laugh..

  2. I am looking at it now and not seeing what was the problem…. I actually put this one together after we last communicated and had no problem – is there something wrong with me?!

    Re the other – I look forward to the reissueing with various sizes – I’ve put the Liberty put it on hold till then :)…. Now I want want want the sisters of Edwardia. Please issue the 35 and 40 once they’re ready!

    • Oh, I don’t know. the world of pdfs is a little shaky at times.. It was showing up on my patterns, and since my own printer is the only one I have direct access to, that’s the copy I worry about fixing. :)

      I think I will issue 35 and 40 (I made final copies of them today), then follow up with the other sizes once I know they’re right.

  3. I’m still determined to make the BCT work. I think maybe I need to break out the overlocker along with the new version of the pattern, see if different stitching makes things easier..

      • Just to see if I could allleviate the armpit puddles entirely and work out from there, I made an excessively tight one – not suitable for wearing out of the house – and still, massive folds. I’m beginning to wonder if I need to change the height of the body-to-arm-curve (sorry, I’m having a very bad day with words) but can’t figure out if up or down would work better. So I’ve thrown out the old pattern adn aim to start again with the new one and see if it works better.. and the overlocker just seems to go in a straight line better than my machine at the moment.

  4. Hooray for knit patterns that allow us to fudge things and still get great results—and your BCT seems to be particularly good in this respect.

    Thoughts on the Sisters of Edwardia blouse (I submitted my measurements but you probably won’t recognize them because they’ve changed… again… >_<):
    1) this reminds me (except for the sleeves) of the 50s Butterick sundress pattern I found at the thrift store last week. Minus the pigeon-front. So I guess it's really just the band/yoke and the blousy bottom.

    2) I really want to see a knit (maybe even a sweater!) version of this. Or maybe a woven with knit/elastic/rib bands. Hmm. Yup, I can see playing with this almost as much as the BCT. And I don't generally *do* blousy (I'm not convinced I could pull it off personally, mind you. I am just seeing styling possibilities! :D)

    • Yes, four seams allow a heck of a lot of fudging and improvisation…

      I can’t recognize measurements… I really can’t. I had a head injury in my early 20’s, I always wondered if it affected my short term memory abilities somehow.. Things like numbers slide right out of my brain as soon as I look away from them… Hence the need to write everything down!

      Oooooh ribbing… Oooh. I like it. I have thought of doing a knit-woven hybrid version but the right fabric has yet to present itself to me. But yes, I think it would work beautifully…

  5. it’s so fun to be involved (well, in the laziest way possible) in this process. thanks for sharing it, and inviting participation!

  6. I confess to making up the 35 by stretching the front shoulders to fit the back. It worked on my drapey merino knit. Having printed the page to fix the shoulders, I now have an extra 3.5cm down the centre front. I can’t get the size 35 front to match the centre front lin labelled size 30, 35 and 40, now that I’ve extended the shoulders. Are the centre front lines miss-labelled?


    • Oh. My. Well- I’m glad it worked for you! :)

      I can’t picture what you’re talking about, would you mind taking a snap and sending it to me? I’m sure it worked out when I printed a test. Sigh.

  7. Stop!!!!!! I have so little time to sew and yet you keep putting together the most adorable and wearable items and then wafting them under my nose in a temptress like fashion. I LOVE this silk twill blouse. Super feminine and super wearable.
    Seriously, though, don’t stop. I’ll catch up soon! ;-)

  8. Thank you ever so much for the Edwardian dress shout-out!!!! :D Off to grab my tape measure to help out with your quest for data. ;)

  9. I can hardly wait for this pattern. In fact, I have some fabric sitting out, patiently waiting to be made up. I think I need to get a solid, toned down contrast fabric, though, as this floral (what was I thinking?!) is pretty vibrant. My “point of no return” is pretty high. The original Blank Canvas scoop was pretty much perfect. Will this neckline be similar?

    • I couldn’t say for sure because I archived the old BCTs (shoved them in a box in a hard to reach place…) but this *should* have a slightly-lower-than-bateau-but-wide-ish neckline. Sabrina style.

  10. Hehe, ‘nothing sucks more than a pretty top with tight biceps’. THAT might be my fitting nemesis–my biceps are like six sizes above the rest of me. Which is why I love kimono sleeves. I still have yet to try your t-shirt and really want to, but I love this blouse, too. (This is going to be the summer of tops for me.) I’ll send you my measurements because I just did all these last night for a draft.

    Steph, those photos of you in the Downton blouse are GORGEOUS. Love the colors and especially the first one of you on your Sew Weekly post. Beautiful.

  11. Pingback: De-Grading Sizes- My Thoughts in Longform « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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