The best laid plans go awry: Vogue 9299

This blouse is from Vogue 9299. It’s part of my wardrobe sewing plan but in this case the plan didn’t survive contact with the reality of fabric and the pattern. I wanted a slightly fancy black blouse to wear with my flared jeans and pleated culottes; not massively frilly but definitely feminine. The huge puffed sleeves and sash on view D seemed to fit the bill nicely. It’s the striped one the model is wearing on the pattern envelope.

Vogue 9299 envelope art,

I was planning to make it in solid black and ordered 3m of wide cotton poplin. I’m now fairly sure I received the wrong fabric: it’s a lawn rather than a poplin and is much narrower than the one I was expecting. Unfortunately I didn’t spot it right away. Three metres of black shirting fabric arrived, I washed it, put it away, and only noticed the width when I pulled it out again to make up the blouse. It was far too late to do anything about it by then. I ended up shortening the pattern 20cm in order to fit it onto the fabric. The very lightweight lawn worked well for the sleeve gathering though, and I’m not convinced the longer length would have been easy to wear, so nothing was lost.

What didn’t work out is the fit. I am lucky enough to fit into Vogue’s standard sizing without needing a tonne of adjustments, but there’s no denying that the shoulders on this are far too narrow for me. Admittedly I adjusted the pattern to include a hidden button placket, but the collar still fits into the neckline so I am sure my adjustments aren’t the cause of the problem.

There is another annoyance with the pattern which is that there are no notches make sure you get the cuffs the right way around. Or if there are, I completely missed them. The slit in the sleeve which allows the cuff to open is just the open end of the underarm seam. I was honestly a bit puzzled as to which side the buttonhole went on and which the button. There were no RTW examples to be found in the house to check. I followed the very tiny technical drawings on the envelope to try to get things the right way round, but now I’m wearing the blouse I’m not even convinced the drawing way is the right way. No one’s going to notice if it is wrong, it’s just an annoyance.

Here is the back view. Apart from the shoulders there is plenty of room. I haven’t got a picture of it without the sash, but it’s voluminous.

I was hoping to be able to wear it tucked in as well as loose, but looking at the picture below I’m not entirely sure it works, at least not with my flared jeans.

When I finished this I was a bit disappointed with the results. I’ve worn it once since then, with wide legged trousers, and really enjoyed the big sleeves and the feeling of being slightly fancy. So I’m on the fence right now. Honest opinions welcome!

43 thoughts on “The best laid plans go awry: Vogue 9299

  1. The armhole on you doesn’t look quite right to me, not the shoulder width. It looks as though a diamond sewn in under the arm, in the side seam and arm seam in the armpit might relieve the pulling it appears to have. I could be wrong , Clare

    1. The diagonal tugging ripples at the second button from the top confirms what Clare is saying. It might not need much to tweak, just move the top two buttons slightly closer to the edge and let out the armhole sleeve seams from 15 cm to 10 cm and see if it doesn’t help. Otherwise, very much you!

  2. IMO it looks great on you. When looking at the pattern envelope, I thought it was a bit volumenous but you’ve carried it off well. Looks good tucked in too!

  3. I like it shorter, like you have done. It doesn’t work tucked in at all. Something is off in the upper torso and arms. It looks pretty uncomfortable with the pulling. I’m wondering if a softer fabric with some stretch would work? Something with more drape, but still with body? For what it is worth it looks 10x better on you than the model. She’s drowning in all that fabric. You have the frame and bearing to carry it off.

  4. The entire outfit looks great. I love the volume in the sleeves and it does look “fancy”. I don’t think that it works tucked in- the flare of the blouse with the sash is very becoming on you since you are long and tall. The fit in the shoulders is a question but isn’t that always the case with a woven shirt or blouse? Putting our arms into long tubes of woven fabric is the issue, I think.

  5. It’s OK but here’s my ten penn’orth: I’m not convinced by big sleeves where the fulness is at the bottom like these- it can add bulk to the middle, I like it at the top, which makes for a more tapered silhouette. A drapier fabric was the first thing that came to mind, as Suzanne says…maybe a lightweight satin or a crepe silk?
    I actually quite like it tucked in BUT I notice that almost all the pics have you standing with your arms away from your body, which reinforces my first opinion of the sleeve shape.
    I think the softer fabric, plus a fix on the shoulders would make this work well, but can you be bothered?

    1. Yeah I know exactly what you mean about the sleeves! And I do like a strong shoulder line. I’ve got a Burda blouse in the sewing queue that has similar sleeve to this one, but you’ve got me wondering if I should look for something else. Easier to set the wretched things in when they’re puffed at the top too 🙂

    2. I actually quite like sleeves with the volume at the bottom. I have very square shoulders and I do have to be careful with any puffiness at the top – I sort of end up looking like Henry VIII!

  6. First, let me say how much I love everything you do. Your style is just crazy good. Impeccable good taste. I absolutely love seeing everything that comes off your machine. Ok. So. Now for the niggly bits. There are two things that trouble me about this project.
    First, the fit. There’s something off about the upper front and back bodice. In front, at the bust area, it looks a tiny bit too big. Or, it looks like the fit isn’t quite right. How does it feel in that area? Perhaps small bust darts may be needed? I’ll bet you could probably go down a size and it would fit better overall. Also, again, adding bust darts would help with the fit. Also in back, upper back area looks too big. Same with the upper area of the sleeves. They look like they could be sewn about 1/4 or 1/8 inch (6.35mm or 3.175mm) in from the seams.

    Let me ask….do you have sloping shoulders? That area looks as if either the slant of the shoulder seam needs changing, or maybe adding thin shoulder pads would help. Likely though, it may be that your shoulder angle isn’t matching up with the patterns’ angle.

    The bottom or belled part of the sleeves are absolutely beautiful. No problems there!

    Same with the waist and hip area of the shirt. Looks really good!

    Now for the second thing that looks off.

    The styling.

    I think that the pants and shoes you’ve chosen to pair with the shirt are…..not a good match. Sorry. The shirt is dramatic and dressy. I think you need a slim pant (maybe a slim cut leather, or dark wash denim?). Note how the model is styled on the envelope picture? There’s a lot of volume on top, and skinny leggings on bottom that don’t “fight” or detract all the “bigness” on top. And a different shoe. A pointy-toed ankle boot? A strappy sandal?

    Well, again, I love everything you do. You are one of the best sewists in the sewing blogosphere, in my opinion! Hope the observations help, and are taken with the spirit in which they are given.

    All the best.


    1. Aww thanks! And thanks for taking the time for such detailed feedback. The fit’s definitely not right; I think it’s meant to be baggy in the chest but with the tight shoulder that just looks bad. I see what you’re saying about the styling. I wish I still had my leather pencil skirt to try with it, but most of my skirts and trousers have lots of volume. I do still have gold skinny jeans though, I’m going to give that a go!

      1. Hey Again Cate! (Catherine’s my favorite name, btw 🙂 )
        I’m not too sure about the blouse being loose-fitting in front. Take a look at the picture of the model on the envelope. It looks as if there has been a bit of redrafting of the pattern to allow for a kind of darted front. See the angles of the side fronts? They don’t match up with the vertical stripes, and there isn’t a similar look on any of the line drawings that I can see (took a look at the pattern on the website). That means that someone redrafted the front pattern pieces. You may or may not want to do that, but it does make for a more fitted bodice front.

        Just an observation.

        Oh yes! A slim skirt would look fab!


  7. I wonder if adding a (more or less shoulder pad shaped) wedge of black leather… smooth, or suede, real, or fake, up at the shoulders to relieve the width issue would help. Then, for continuity, wear with a black belt of a similar texture… just a thought.

  8. I agree with others’ opinions that the shoulder seam is right place. I wonder if it’s sleeve cap too high and narrow? I’m no fit expert though! Or maybe higher and narrower than you are used to wearing? I find wovens to be rather constricting after wearing so many knits. And yes, this is much better belted than tucked, and I think poplin would have been too stiff. I love the lines of this on you, you certainly don’t need to worry about adding unwanted bulk to the middle!

  9. Taking a look at my trusty 70s Simplicity book, it seems to think that the fit across the shoulders isn’t wide enough. Poplin, even black, photographs so well. If I look at the model in stripy shirt, there is definitely some of her shoulder beyond the armscye, so I don’t think it massively fits her well either. Seems odd that normally the Vogue dimensions fit you well. Also, oddly to me, the fit looks fine at the back, voluminous, but isn’t that how it should be? Perhaps Vogue should have shown the back view on the envelope too. Oh the mysteries of getting a good fit!

    Must say I much prefer this style in plain black – looks dramatic without being overpowering. Also, the shorter length helps too – a good call on your part, although sort of by necessity.

    1. Thanks! Yeah the more I look at the model photo the less I am convinced by it. Interestingly I don’t find it’s restrictive to wear, but those drag lines!

  10. If you look at the pattern photo, the model has some drag lines from the tip of her shoulder as well and it looks like the armscye seam sits rather high on the shoulder.

    I would compare the armhole to another blouse whose sleeve and shoulder,area fit you better and see what is up there.

    It probably feels more annoying than anything else. The style is great on you.

  11. Love the style belted on you. The voluminous sleeves are quite fancy, too, without being over-the-top. But perhaps a slimmer silhouette on the bottom half would complement the sleeves more than the flared trousers do. Imho, of course. You have the greatest sense of style.

    Regarding the fit: If you were to remove the sleeves and see where the bodice/shoulders sat on you, I think you would find that the shoulders as drafted are not wide enough, either for you or on the pattern model. It seems to me that on both of you, the shoulder joint doesn’t have enough room in the sleeve cap, either, hence the drag lines. I don’t know if there is a way to remedy that, except, perhaps, to add fiddly little pieces at the edge of the armscye to extend it properly to the edge of the shoulder or add width across the sleeve cap. The front is drafted badly, is all I can say. The back, from what I can see from your photos, looks like there is plenty of room in the width. And the sleeve cap on both of you seems to be crying for more room. How disappointing!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I’m used to Vogue patterns just working on me so this was a real surprise. It looks better worn a bit more open which disguises the drag lines, so I’ll get some wear out of it. You can bet I’ll be checking the shoulder width in future though.

  12. Hi Catherine—of course there are many more *actually* helpful comments here already—mine is more of a cheat really! For this version, until you can tackle the shoulder fit, I wonder if a dressy camisole and a couple of buttons undone would ease the shoulder tension? I think having that bit of contrast, even if black, would look good with those amazing sleeves. As usual, this is such an interesting garment. I love the length.

  13. I’ve had a similar shoulder issue with a loose fitting blouse. The shoulder width was actually ok, but the drafted sleeve had a high sleeve head, like you’d find on a fitted bodice, which resulted in pulling in exactly the same area. I redrafted it to be more like a shirt sleeve with a flatter and slightly wider sleeve head. Problem solved. I was wondering if that might be the same issue here. I love the statement sleeves though. Very dramatic.

    1. Thanks! It does have a very high sleeve head which was difficult to set in. I’m enjoying the sleeves though… definitely going to try out a very similar Burda style soon

  14. Catherine,
    Your makes are always so elegant. I love the idea of this blouse on you, but I agree the fit is an issue…
    About the cuff, button and buttonhole placement. If you set your hand and forearm flat on the table the cuff opening should smooth over the top of your wrist and the edge of it should sit just above the table. The overlap is the the side that goes over your wrist when the hand and forearm are in this position. The underlap comes from the underside of the forearm.
    The buttonhole is sewn in the overlap, so the button can come from underneath, on the underlap.
    I hope this helps with future cuffs, buttons and buttonholes.

    1. Thanks! That is very clear. I think it doesn’t help with these that there is so much fabric that the cuff can move about a lot. I have them the right way round anyway!

  15. I like the drama of it, and I prefer the blouse tucked in as it shows of the shape of the sleeves more. Ultimately for me, if I feel an outfit is wearing me rather than me wearing an outfit, then it can be hard to reconcile (certain shirt collars and floral patterns I can never wear). The shoulder looks a bit dragged, and I was wondering if there is too much fabric in the body of the blouse that is causing the shoulders to fall over? what does it look like buttoned to the top? As I dont really wear shirt collars, I was wondering what the blouse would look like with a ‘grandad’ collar and buttoned to the top. The volume in the sleeves is great and I wondered what it would look like with a c1igarette pants? Glad you showed those trousers again – I got that pattern after seeing your post and am to try them in a drapy fabric for slouching round at christmas ……. now to fit in the sewing time

    1. I did try it buttoned right up but sadly it just makes the drag lines worse! Pity because I think the style would look good that way. Good luck with the trousers; I think they’re one of the all time great Burda patterns

  16. Frustrating…must be something in the design, the shoulder is very narrow on the model as well. It’s so pretty that it might be worth redrafting the bicep, chest, armscye, shoulder. And I like the lawn, might have been serendipitous 🙂

  17. One of my findings over the years is that upper and lower should contrast eachother, not be similar. So wide legged pants mean short boxy top, and wide, long, tops need tight under it. A silhouet like these could work with a more/higher tight waist as well, body size should show somewhere. Well,thoughts like that.

    On the shirt itself: mostly the size around the back seems too much? Otherwise glamorous sleeves and waist, great job with the wrong fabric. Wasn’t there a back pleat involved? Looks like you could even stitch one down top to bottom… (from below the back yoke-point.)

  18. I love it on you – I always love your look and styling! I’d release the armscye seam and see what happens – maybe sewing a shallower seam on the sleeve head would do it?

  19. Your makes are normally such a knock out that I can see why you are disappointed with this blouse. I think it’s mostly drafting errors on the pattern maker’s part. It’s like they started with an idea for Victorian style balloon sleeves with a high tight sleeve cap and then attached it to what’s basically a shirt. I would redraft the top section of the sleeve and bring the shoulder line out a cm or so. There’s a good garment in there somewhere trying to get out!

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