Pattern Testing The Josie Blouse

Experimental Space is a fairly new kid on the block when it comes to sewing patterns, it is run by Andrea and this is her third sewing pattern and what a corker it is.

I first became aware of Andrea’s website last year when she put a call out for testers for her second pattern – The Casey Sweater. I applied and was lucky enough to be selected to help out with the testing process. This was the first pattern test I had taken part in and thoroughly enjoyed the process. I was really impressed with the pattern, my version is pictured below, there is also a really nice version over on LikeSewAmazing which was made up in some fabric from Sarah’s store which she appropriately called Casey fabric because it is absolutely perfect for this top.

When a call out for the Josie blouse popped up on my Instagram feed I was quick to apply and really pleased when Andrea contacted me to test again. The artwork on the pattern is super cool and the pattern is available as both pdf and printed copies. The blouse calls for a light weight fabric such as viscose, rayon or crepe – anything with a good drape. I made my tester version in some very lightweight cotton that I had left over in my stash from a previous make – Andrea always emphasises the importance of doing a test version first before cutting into your nice fabric (this was a pattern test after all so issues may possibly arise).

One of the things that make these patterns a little different is the size chart that works on names rather than numbers ‘Be a name, not a number’ is the tagline, measurements are also taken from the high bust rather than the full bust.I went with my body measurements for the bust which worked out as Cara and for both waist and hips I fell between Dee and Eve so graded to the Dee working on the amount of ease in the finished garment measurements. On first reading the instructions I thought I may struggle a little with the pleats on the shoulders because this is a process I have not done before. There was really no need to worry, the instructions are very good and guide you through the process step by step. The marks on the pattern pieces for the pleat points can be a little difficult to read because there are a lot of markings for all the different sizes but Andrea as it covered with a handy diagram in the instructions that tell you the exact measurements between each pleat. The pleats are also mirrored on the tops of the sleeves and then these need to be matched up at the shoulder seams. The instructions advise tacking in place to make sure they align correctly before sewing the sleeve in completely.I like the fact that the side seams are finished off with French Seams to give a really nice finish on the inside. I also added Hong Kong Seams to the back join (I wonder if this is a correct term? I have been watching the new series of The Great British Sewing Bee and Esme who is a judge on the program didn’t seem to think there was any such thing!) This is a fairly simple sew with some nice techniques, I love the pleat details on the shoulder – I wasn’t sure that bishop sleeves would be for me but having tried it on I am now definitely a fan, I also love the fact that the cuff is extended.
I would recommend this pattern if you are looking for something simple but a little different, I am not a fan of what I would describe as fussy blouses (they just aren’t my style) but this is plain enough to work as both casual and smart and contains just enough detail to make it that extra bit special and unusual so that is stands out from the crowd.

I teamed my Josie Blouses with a gorgeous necklace from Sew Dainty, the link is below for anyone who would like to take a look: