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Liz’s Anthea Blouse!

 Hello everybody, my name is Liz and I am also known as @thebakerthatsews over on Instagram and Youtube. 

I am really excited to be back with another blog for Felicity Fabrics and just in time for my favourite season – Autumn. I decided on this make a few months ago when the weather was slightly warmer and less rainy! However I always had autumn in mind and in a bid to fill gaps in my wardrobe I settled on making a blouse for this blog. I knew a blouse would add to what I currently have and go nicely with some of my trousers and dungarees. 

I originally chose the Liberty fabrics Esther blouse pattern to sew up for this blog but had recently sewn the pattern up using a different fabric and sadly did not enjoy the process. The Esther blouse is a tunic style top with different sleeve options and a beautiful v neckline. I found the instructions minimal and at times complicated so started looking in my pattern stash for a blouse that would have similar voluminous sleeves but clearer instructions. I have recently discovered patterns by Anna Allen and settled on the Anthea blouse as I have seen so many beautiful versions on Instagram. I love the shape of the blouse and the sleeves are such a beautiful shape – lots of volume and gathered into a cuff. 

With the pattern decided I was able to then look on the Felicity Fabrics website for some fabric. Fabric shopping is always my favourite part of the process. I love being able to imagine what the fabric will look like sewn up and how the colours will match with the different garments I already own. I knew I wanted a fabric that would showcase the beautiful sleeve detail and settled on a couple of fabrics but knew I needed help deciding on the final fabric. I contacted Fliss and Caroline, explained the original pattern and my love of a giant sleeve and a cotton dobby fabric was one of the suggested fabrics. After seeing the fabric in a beautiful terra colour I knew this would be the perfect fabric for the project so asked for 2 metres of fabric as I knew the sleeve would need a lot of fabric! 

The fabric is so pretty and moves so beautifully. It is described as a lightweight cotton dobby and is perfect for dresses, blouses and pyjamas. It is 130cm wide and 90gr/m2 in weight. Once it arrived I could instantly see it sewn up as the Anthea blouse and was so happy with the colour too. It is such a beautiful, rich and autumnal shade. When you order from Felicity fabrics the fabric is wrapped in tissue paper, packaged carefully in a cardboard box and you always get a swatch card providing details of the fabric and washing instructions too. 

The Anthea blouse is a dart-less blouse and dress pattern with the most beautiful puffed sleeves. All views button up at the front with a fold over placket and a bias faced neckline. View A is the blouse with the puffed sleeves that end just below the elbow with a narrow bias cuff. View B is the dress version that has puffed sleeves too but they are cut 2 inches shorter than the blouse. Both versions have a narrow curved hemline that dips down at the back/front and comes up slightly at the sides. The dress has a separate tie for anyone that prefers to cinch in the waist. The pattern is drafted for somebody who is 5’ 5” and a B/C cup. Both versions can be lengthened or shorted and are both intended to be made in a non-stretch woven fabric. The pattern is aimed at intermediate sewists however the instructions are so clear and really guide you through the making process I would say if you have sewn a few garments and feel confident to tackle something where you will learn a few new skills this blouse could be the pattern for you. 

The pattern comes in sizes 00 – 22 and when working out what size to cut out I like to refer to the finished garment measurements as well as the size chart. My bust is 34 inches, my waist is 27 inches and my hips are 35 inches which meant I sat in the size 4 band for my bust and waist measurement and my hips, as I usually find with most patterns, put me in a smaller size the size 0. After looking at the finished garment measurements I decided to trace off a size 4 and grade down to a size 0 for the hips area. I am glad I did this as I think I would have ended up with too much fabric around my waist and hips had I cut out a straight size 4. The largest size measurements for this pattern is a size 22 which is a 48 inch bust, 41 inch waist and 51 inch hip. 

The seam allowance is included in the pattern pieces and is ½ inch. They recommend you finish the raw edges with an overlocker or ziz-zag stitch. For the blouse you need 7 3/8 inch buttons and for the dress you need 12 3/8 inch buttons. The pattern is a PDF pattern but also has the option for AO printing – which is great if you prefer to get your pattern printed using a copyshop service. Once you have bought the pattern you receive a zip file which needs to be downloaded onto your desktop computer. Fabric recommendations for this pattern include woven medium or lightweight cotton or linen, voile or cotton lawn. You can also use dress-shirting weight fabrics in various fibres such as cotton or silk. 

I really enjoyed sewing up the blouse and found the instructions were written really clearly and provided you with images to follow too. I used some beautiful buttons from Ethel and Joan that matched the terra colour beautifully. I love how they shimmer slightly when the sun catches them. The sleeves are gathered before you insert them which helps when easing them into the garment. The placket is clearly explained, with notches to help when pressing it. Before inserting the cuff you gather the sleeve again at the end so word or warning there’s a little bit of gathering required for this pattern!

Word of warning – the pattern is very fabric hungry even if you are deciding to sew the blouse version. I used all of the 2 metres of fabric when sewing my version. When cutting out this pattern I realised the fabric I had chosen was too narrow to fit the sleeve pattern piece on. To resolve this, I turned the pattern piece and cut it on the cross wise grain and have found the sleeve still sits how it is meant to. It still has the beautiful puff detail and holds the shape too. The cotton dobby fabric was lovely to work with, pressed nicely when creating the button placket and I also found the button holes went in without any drama! 

I can see this blouse getting so much wear and have plans to make more Anthea blouses too! I’m off to browse the hashtag #antheablouse for more inspiration!