Mandarin Shirt Sew-a-long: Day 2


Alrighty, are you ready for Day Two?! At this point, you’ve purchased your pattern and fabric (intro post) and printed/pieced your pattern together (Day 1). Now we are ready to take a few more measurements and do some adjustments to the pattern before cutting it out!

Jodi has outlined directions for this process in her PDF instructions. I’m a very visual learner, so I thought I would try and document it more in-depth for other visual people out there.

For this process you will need:

  • Top Front and Top Back pattern pieces
  • The bra you plan to wear under your Mandarin Shirt
    • Wear this while taking your measurements!
  • Flexible tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
    • I love using a clear quilting ruler for making pattern adjustments! So easy to see if you’re lining everything up.
  • Scissors and/or paper trimming tool
  • Extra paper
    • Only needed if you need to increase your pattern size. I like to use wrapping paper. You could use printer paper, junk mail, just about anything!
  • Scotch tape, glue stick, or similar

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Mandarin Shirt Sew-a-Long: Day 1



Today, we are going to walk through the printing and assembly of your PDF pattern. You can, of course, get this pattern printed on a continuous roll of paper at a print shop if you’d prefer to skip this step. But printing and assembling at home isn’t as difficult as it sounds! It takes a bit of time and concentration, but it’s not difficult. And I must say, Jodi from Jailyn Apparel has done a phenomenal job with this pattern. It is easy to assemble and the PDF instructions are incredibly detailed and helpful!

Step One: Prepping for printing

When you download your file, make sure you open it in Adobe Acrobat Reader — NOT your web browser! Some browsers like to open PDF files directly in the browser, but this can sometimes cause issues with the printing size. If you don’t have Adobe Reader on your computer, you can download it here for free.

The next thing you’ll want to do is utilize the amazing “Layers” function in this pattern! If you haven’t already, measure yourself (bust, waist, and hip) and choose which size you will be making from the detailed size chart in the instruction PDF. I currently measure 39″ bust, 32″ waist, and 42″ hip. I decided to go with the regular size 10, as the finished garment measurements seemed like they would be comfortable to me. [Read more…]

Mandarin Shirt Sew-a-Long

Hello readers! I know, it’s been a while since you last heard from me. But I am SO excited about what I’ve got in the works!

Do any of you remember reading Darlene’s posts about a lovely velvet tank top from Jailyn Apparel a few years ago (here and here)? Do you remember the exciting news she shared last May about Jailyn Apparel making a comeback as a pattern company?!

Jailyn’s current PDF pattern offering is the Mandarin top. It is fantastic:


Click through to go to the Jailyn Apparel Flickr group, for more photos!

“The Mandarin shirt is a closely-tailored style with an under-bust seem that highlights your waist while allowing easy fitting of the bust area. The spread Mandarin collar drops into a V neckline. Closely spaced buttons down the center front work with the fuller bust sizing to prevent gaping across your bust line.

The sleeves sport overlapped, fold-back cuffs with sleeve length options in 3/4-length or above the elbow.

It’s a flattering casual shirt that easily transitions to the office.”

As a sewist, this pattern is so exciting to me! I love the challenge of sewing garments with a good fit. I love it even more when it comes with a pattern that’s already great to start with. I really want to share my love of sewing and PDF patterns and fitting with you – so Hourglassy will be hosting a sew-a-long blog series with the Mandarin top!

Every week, I’ll be publishing a step-by-step tutorial outlining a part of the process of making this blouse. Everything from printing/assembling your PDF pattern, making pattern adjustments and a fitting muslin, all the way down to hemming and affixing the buttons on your final garment! I’ll break it up into manageable weekly portions with photos and tips to help along the way. Jodi’s pattern instructions are phenomenal and you don’t really *need* me over here holding your hand. But making a tailored blouse can be intimidating, and it is always more fun to try new things with a friend!

If you want to join in the fun*, get your supplies ready and check back next week for pattern printing and assembly tips!

Supplies needed: [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Alterations Project: Shrinking a Dress Ribcage While Maintaining Bust Volume and Waist

Last month I did a roundup of all the Trashy Diva dresses I’ve tried, with scores for how boob-friendly they were. One of the dresses I featured was the Sci-Fi Rockets print “Rockette” dress, a halter with a big contrasting red collar and pockets.

I somewhat guessed on the boob score for that one, though, because the size 10 I have is really a size up from my usual 8. But the 10’s waist apparently ran smaller in this model, because it fit in that spot while being way too big around the ribcage. Yet it had the perfect amount of volume for my breasts. Since it’s made of a pretty sturdy stretch cotton, I felt comfortable altering it myself. Here’s what I did to shrink the ribs while maintaining volume in the chest.

Essentially, I added vertical darts where they weren’t any before, in the space between the waist and my breast apex. Secondly, I tightened the ribs at the existing side seams.

(In these photos, I’m wearing a Freya Deco Strapless in 30FF, and I measure 37”-29”-41”.)

Here’s the dress pre-alterations. You can see it bagging around my underbust area.

Here’s the dress pre-alterations. You can see it bagging around my underbust area.

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