Spoiler Alert – I might just have sewn something I really like; the Rhapsody Blouse (& Dress) by Love Notions; having sewn one I can tell you I’ll be sewing this again. And then again!
Whilst the Rhapsody is an easy-wear pattern, it has some lovely design details that elevate it from your everyday ‘peasant’ blouse (for want of a better expression). It has shoulder gathers which drape nicely over the bust; a yoke, centre back pleat, curved hem, optional neckline ties and lots of sleeve options – from sleeveless through cap, short, flutter, 3/4″ length, flared cuff, bishop or trumpet AND it comes with two front bodice pieces – one for a standard bust (A-C) and one for full (D to E/F).
Whilst there are loads of this style of pattern out there; once I’d really looked at the Rhapsody, it then became the benchmark I judged the others by – an inbuilt FBA is always a winner but 9 sleeve options sealed the deal. So how did it sew up?
Classed as an intermediate, I’d say it’s a great sew for more experienced sewers and relative beginners – those design details keep it interesting for confident stitchers and the instructions make it doable for the less experienced; they’re clear and comprehensive without being long-winded – and there’s a sew-a-long available if you need it. If a relative beginner picked up this pattern being a little unsure of, say, sewing gathers or a yoke using the burrito method, making bias binding or sewing a V neck; I’ll wager you’d finish the sewing of this blouse a lot more confident than you started. It’s available in PDF format only in size range XS-5X (31″ – 55″ high bust / 33″ – 57.5″ full bust).
For my version, I looked at the high bust and finished garment measurements to gauge what size to sew. I used the Full Cup front bodice piece but opted to size down overall – I wanted it less blousy as I’m easily swamped by fabric. I also knew sizing down would be a safe option because I was using this Lady McElroy ‘Loretta’ Mulberry Woven Stretch Viscose – whilst a woven, its spandex content gives approximately 15% of very forgiving widthwise stretch. (I purchased it ages ago but it’s still available HERE)
I opted for the neckties and the bishop sleeves – and cut out my fabric on the single layer. I then proceeded to make 72″ of 3/4″ bias binding out of the remaining fabric scraps.
As for construction, the neckline is finished with the bias binding which also forms the ties; the yoke is fully enclosed (using the burrito method), the sides and sleeves are French seamed and then sleeve / armscye is finished in the regular way.
I don’t think I deviated from the instructions very much, apart from staystitching the neckline as soon as the yoke was in so as to prevent it stretching out through handling. I basted the sleeves into place so as to be able to manipulate the sleeve head gathers as much as possible before finally stitching them in. I also basted the hem; I find I get a much better result with a curved hem if I run a line of long machine basting stitches along the hem line (breaking the stitching at the side seams leaving long threads); this allows me to pull the threads ever-so-slightly to encourage the hem of the fabric to curve into place. I then press the hem up along that stitching line (using my beloved mini iron) before finally stitching it in place with a regular topstitching length of 3.5 mm. It makes for a really neat job.
All in all, this was a really enjoyable sew – apart from when I went to serge my first armhole and my overlocker threw a wobbly which meant unpicking the entire round of stitching! So, no, that bit wasn’t fun, lol!
And now I want to immediately sew one more but I’m torn as there’s another pattern currently on my sewing table yelling to be made!
Oh and I’ve got two waistcoats / vests to blog – I’ve put some pics on my Instagram feed though if you’d like an initial look!
Until next time, happy sewing!
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