Last week, even though had just finished up a quilt for my dad, a neck warmer for my mom, an apron for my mother-in-law, and some fabric buckets for my sister, I decided that I hadn’t quite been crazed enough this holiday season. It had been a whole two months since I’d made anything with the Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel, and I’d recently seen a pattern using it in the IndieSew winter lookbook: the Josephine blouse by Rae Hoekstra. A dressy blouse! MADE OF FLANNEL! I knew I had to cram one more stitchy project into the year, hopefully in time to wear the blouse for Christmas.
My skill level as a garment sewist is what I’d call intermediate; I can basically follow any directions and I’ve made enough to know the basic steps to most garments, but I’m not skilled enough (yet!) to make significant modifications. If the neckline is gaping or the sleeves are too puffy, my default response is a lot of swearing and even more desperate Googling. That said, the more I sew with Rae’s patterns, the more I just really appreciate how well they’re drafted. The way she encourages solid construction and creates flattering shapes make me really happy every time. It might just be that she’s a great designer for my body shape, but something tells me she’s also just really stinking talented. (Plus, she’s a fellow Michigan girl — woot woot!)
The Josephine blouse pattern features a pleated front, a variety of lengths and sleeve styles, and an elastic casing in the back waist to create a shape without detracting from the pretty front. Rae’s pleating instructions are easy as pie, and her pattern includes the finer details (bias neck facing, sleeve cuffs, darts, etc.) to make the blouse look really polished. Rae’s sizing includes XS-XXL, for a wide range of body types, plus A/B and C/D cup sizes. For those of us who do not fit traditional cup sizing, this adjustment option is a GODSEND.
I really liked how the flannel draped, too; it was warm and soft, but not too stiff. And it made the blouse casual, but not shabby. I did feel that the sleeves were a bit too wide for my taste, so I narrowed them and added elastic at the wrists. Otherwise, everything in the pattern was perfect. I followed the directions as closely as I could, and I ended up with a really pretty blouse for a family Christmas. And then I took a nap.
I also highly recommend the experience of working with IndieSew. A lot of us really want to support indie designers, but don’t have the time to go through a bunch of search pages trying to find them. It’s great how this site has taken on the (challenging!) work of seeking out and curating independent modern patterns, and I hope they continue to add more and more to their collection. IndieSew + Made by Rae = major win! If you’re in the market for some new duds in the new year, definitely be sure to check both of them out.
Have you sewn the Josephine blouse or used IndieSew to find a new pattern yet? Share your experience below!