all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

Simple Sew Chelsea Blouse – shirring

IMG_0551As a free pattern with Love Sewing magazine, this pattern is good value, but I would not want to pay £10 for it. I’m afraid that yet again I was not impressed by Simple Sew, and would not recommend them for a beginner because they are so badly produced.

Just in case you love the result and want to rush out to buy your fabric before you have finished reading the blog – DON’T. The fabric requirement stated is far too much….. So much that I managed to make this out of the left overs, and will blog separately.


For both 115cm and 150cm wide fabric the recommendation is 2.4m. My fabric is 140cm wide and at its shortest I had 1m left. So I got it out of 1.4m. So pleased that I didn’t buy super expensive material. The fabric is cotton poplin from Guthrie Ghani

What else did I find wrong with the pattern? I made a list…………

  1. The back facing notch marking is wrong. It is one notch and it should be two. It is also slightly in the wrong place. I adjusted the fit by over 1cm when setting in the sleeve.
  2. There is no instruction to finish the bottom of the facing. It should be step 4.
  3. I found it quite tricky to line up the facing, bodice and collar. The back section with the loop took me 3 goes to get a satisfactory result. Some dots to serve as guides would have been useful.
  4. I understitched the neck facing, despite no instruction to do so. I also top stitched the back neck hole to re-inforce the stitching. With care it could have been understitched.
  5. And of course, it recommends far too much fabric.

So if I really don’t like Simple Sew patterns, why did I make this?

I made it because I wanted to practice shirring. I don’t recall ever having used shirring elastic before, even in the billowy, floaty ’70s. Actually, it was easy. I had a brief discussion about it with the girls in Guthrie Ghani, as you do, and then ‘just did it’. I wound the bobbin by hand, and slotted it easily into my top loading bobbins case. I’m told its easier with a top loading bobbin. Then I tested, and was really pleased. So then I tested a parallel line, and it was quite straight forward and looked great.

The hardest part was marking the fabric on the right side ready to stitch. I used pink chalk, and it was quite hard to see the lines. The second line was somewhat easier, in as much as you can use the first stitch line as a guide. I wasn’t absolutely sure how to anchor the stitching, concluding the stitching backwards was probably not a good solution. I stitched 3 times over when I did the sleeve seams, and then tied the thread and elastic with knots at the ends. Hopefully that will be sufficient to keep the shirring elastic in place.

IMG_0546The back is finished with a rouleaux loop, and a self covered button. I love self covered buttons, and this blog is littered with pictures of my creations – so here is  another!

IMG_0547You may have guessed that I probably wont make the skirt and trousers from the pattern, but I don’t have all that many ‘bottoms’ to wear with this fabric. A liking for patterned fabric can limit ‘match-ability’. My beige skirt and black skirts will have to do the job.


2 comments on “Simple Sew Chelsea Blouse – shirring

  1. Trisha
    August 7, 2016

    I have just blogged about this very blouse, totally agree about the fabric requirements!

    • ann hebden
      August 25, 2016

      Yes, I think I saw your blog post. We both said pretty much the same things about the pattern. Ann

Leave a Reply to Trisha Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on August 7, 2016 by in Blouses, Chelsea collection, Fashion, Handmade, Love Sewing, Sewing, Simple Sew, Tops and tagged , , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: