Love Notions Ballad Blouse

My sewjo deserted me for a couple of months in early summer but after some time off work I gave myself a kick up the backside to finish some UFOs. One of these is the Ballad Blouse from Love Notions, which I saw a review of by one of my favourite sewists, Karina at Lifting Pins and Needles. The blouse has lots of options so seemed to be good value for money, especially as I got it during the introductory offer period. I started this back in May but had lots of issues (more on that shortly) so I lost interest. I don’t like giving up on a make, and eventually I got it to a point where it’s just about wearable.

The fabric was NOT the cause of any of the issues. It’s from The Rag Shop, it was very reasonably priced and although I don’t have much experience sewing with viscose I found it to be fairly trouble free. I overlocked the raw edges before prewashing it as I find that minimises fraying issues.

Pros: The pattern includes lots of options – different sleeves, shirring or gathered yoke front, sleeveless option). Comprehensive tutorial from Karina, these are always full of helpful hints and tips.

Cons: it was huge, even without the full bust option, which I’m really pleased I decided against based on the finished garment measurements. I picked my size as per the recommendations but, as drafted, there is far too much ease, particularly around the armscye (this blog post mentions it, I really wish I’d seen that before I bought it). It’s also poorly drafted in places – the gathers go all the way across each front yoke which means the placket doesn’t lie flat. Karina mentions this in one of her YouTube videos but I didn’t see that all the way through until it was too late – again, I wish I had as that might have made me think twice about buying the pattern. I’m kicking myself as I sometimes draft my own patterns & wouldn’t have made such a mistake, so I don’t know why I just blindly followed the pattern. But I feel a commercial pattern you’ve paid good money for shouldn’t have such mistakes!

When I’m trying a new pattern I try to make it up the first time pretty much the way it’s drafted except for height alterations (I’m 152cm/5 ft). I made the correct size as per my measurements but ended up using my overlocker to take off loads around the front armscye, I can’t really say how much as I just kept taking more off until it was acceptable to me. Even after that I felt like I was a child wearing my mum’s clothes – in fact, my Mum commented that it looked too big! I finally took another 3cm off each side with my overlocker to make it wearable (making 12cm in total).

Would I make it again? No, not even in a smaller size, as the armscye is just way too big & it’s too much effort to redraft it. Such a disappointment and it’s put me off buying any more Love Notions patterns.