I desperately wanted an Adrienne Blouse by Friday Pattern Co. but I was running short on time. I didn’t want to print and tape a pattern together, and trace it (1.5 hrs). Then I would need to make some pattern adjustments for height and possibly adjust the bust (possibly another hour, depending on my indecisiveness). The neckline is much wider than I wanted, so I’d need to raise it (More time involved. I’d also need to true a bunch of edges). After all that I’d probably cut and sew it and find out it didn’t have the correct fit.
What I really wanted was, using one of my TNT (tried and true) patterns, take the design inspiration from the Adrienne and draft a new sleeve and neckline. But I didn’t know how to do it! The conundrum ended up being much easier to solve after I found a similar design in a childrens’ pattern.
The Eloise Pattern had everything I wanted. I loved sewing this blouse for my daughter (you can read my full write up on Minerva.com) and as I constructed it, I realized this design is very simple. I could definitely draft a gathered bishop sleeve top myself!
Hacking the Visby Henley
I hacked the Visby Henley by Itch to Stitch Patterns to make my top. Kennis has flawless drafting that is consistent and her pattern block fits my body quite well. I put on the long sleeved Visby (I made it during pattern testing) and used pins to mark where I wanted to lower the neckline. Then, I took my Visby Henley off and compared the ‘new neckline’ to my Visby pattern. I made sure to mark where the new neckline edge was and add a 3/8″ neck binding on the front and back pattern pieces.
Drafting the Sleeve
The sleeve is a little trickier. First, I redrew the front armscye and marked where I wanted the neckline to start. Then I widened the sleeve by about twice the width at the shoulder (or the length of the neckline at the shoulder). A bishop sleeve is super easy to draft because the sides of the sleeve are perpendicular to the straight edge.
After drafting my new bishop sleeve and where the neckline would sit, I needed to add length beyond the neckline to account for the casing I would make. I added 3/4″, so I could fold that length over and form a casing for 3/8″ elastic.
I made sure to check my work and ‘true’ up my new neckline edges. The neckbinding length was 90% of the neckline length. I constructed the front and the back and added the neckbinding. I made the casing for the shoulder elastic. The shoulder elastic length I came up with was about 1/2″ longer than the casing length, plus seam allowances.
I made my gathered sleeve top using some delicious bamboo from The Fabric Fairy. I absolutely love Megan’s bamboo, and this red is weighty enough to have good body, which is fun with these big sleeves. Bamboo feels cooler than cotton and it holds more moisture. It also looks dressier than bamboo, which is a plus.
After I constructed the blouse, I created a casing for the edge of my 3/4 length sleeve. The elastic fits comfortably over my forearm.
I’m really happy with my hacked Visby, inspired by the Adrienne top. It was faster than starting with a new pattern and a much more enjoyable process since I knew this top would fit. I do think I will remove an inch of length in the torso next go-around.
This top works quite well for our cooler summer days, and will transition into fall nicely.
I have worn a couple of red dresses in the last 10 years, but this is the first top I have made/worn in that period of time. Red used to be one of my favorite colors to wear. I had a long period of time when I dealt with recurring depression and other health problems. Red was too energetic, vibrant and strong, and kind of hurt to think about wearing. (I did make an exception with Christmas dresses, of course.) I’ve been told, “This red is your color!” So I’m excited to incorporate more red into my wardrobe.