Sunday, July 21, 2019

Pattern review: The Puff Shirt by The Assembly Line

Many sewists find themselves on the hunt for a simple-but-stylish top pattern for woven fabrics. One you could potentially repeat in a number of different fabrics, maybe use as a basis for long and short sleeved versions; a go-to, pull-on woven top.  I have a couple of these in my repertoire: the Roberts Collection top by Marilla Walker and the Breezeway Top by Frankie and Ray; excellent everyday tops. The Roberts Top now offers a free downloadable sleeve option and the Breezeway can use the sleeve from the Frankie and Ray Friday Shirt so they both have year-round potential.

But how about something a little more tailored and dressy? The Assembly Line Puff Shirt has been a popular pattern and has a charming mix of simplicity, elegance and a little bit of fun with those dramatic gathered bell sleeves. I was particularly inspired after seeing versions made by our delightful customer and blogger Pips (she's made quite a few of the Assembly Line patterns and has a fabulous personal style, well worth a look - on Instagram and blog.)

Having had success with the Assembly Line Hoodie Dress pattern (in fact I made a second one because I wanted to wear the first all the time and they've become my winter 2019 uniform), I felt fairly confident diving straight in to a Size M in the Puff Shirt.

I used a Japanese yarn-dyed brushed cotton, for a bit of winter cosiness.

The Puff Shirt is quite a simple pattern to sew and I found all the notches lined up perfectly, the sleeves had just the right amount of ease and it was an enjoyable project. I feel like a bit of an expert on the elastic cuff now (that's what's tucked inside those sleeve ends, and used to great effect on the Hoodie Dress). When I tried on the finished shirt I was very pleased with the fit through the body, the length and the proportions. 

And that sleeve - just enough drama to feel a bit special but not ridiculous. It's possibly a little long on me but surprisingly doesn't get in the way of anything. The instructions ask you to fold the cuff to the inside of the 'puff' and stitch down to keep them tucked in, but I haven't stitched them down. They stay put on their own and this way the cuff can be turned out fully to help the shirt dry after washing.

Sleeve drama!

As with the Hoodie Dress, the lovely angled French darts provide enough shaping without need for a Full Bust Adjustment. Hurrah.

The envelope neckline gives a lovely boat-neck shape. On me it tends to pull a little at the front shoulders, so it doesn't sit completely flat. In fact in the photographs above I have a small safety pin under the overlap on my left shoulder, which is keeping things in place quite well. I wonder if the pulling is because of my sloping shoulders. Or possibly I do actually need a small FBA. Or to narrow a little through the back shoulders? Hmm. If it bothers me I could potentially put buttons and buttonholes at the join, which might look nice, or perhaps a pair of hidden press-studs to hold the overlap in place. There is surely a small fitting adjustment I could make to help with this. Here's a quick snap of the offending part after wearing the top for a while without the safety pin, and after that, a photo of the back of the shirt. If anyone has any fitting suggestions I'd be grateful!

There is a centre back seam so I could possibly attempt some shaping through there.

It's very comfortable to wear and I am really pleased to find a simple woven top that fits me through the bust without being too wide in the shoulders. With the elastic cuffs, the puff sleeves are easy to push up out of the way, for example, when washing hands. I also quite like the idea of trying this without the puff; it would be simple to trim the sleeve to a narrow tapered shape that would be easier to wear under jackets and cardigans. I think this top could be a useful 'base' for variations.


PATTERN The Puff Shirt by The Assembly Line

FABRIC Brushed cotton - yarn dyed, made in Japan 1.9m (amounts are only given for 150cm wide fabric so I laid the pattern out)

SIZE M (my measurements approx. bust 39" waist 32" hip 42", height 5ft 3/163cm)

ADJUSTMENTS None, but would investigate for a second version to help with pulling at front overlap

COMMENTS Another lovely wardrobe-builder from The Assembly Line. I like it with jeans/pants and it will also layer well with my pinafores and overalls. It works in a fabric with light body like this brushed cotton, but the sleeves would have more 'swish' in something drapier like a washed linen, Tencel, Cupro etc.

- Jane x

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