Vogue 1033 is a Sandra Betzina pattern for a shirt. Her claim is that her patterns are drafted for more ‘realistic’ fit, including larger waist and tummy. I think this is the case, but of course to get best fit, patterns may need to be tweaked. And as I’m short and stout tweaking is often needed! But with this pattern at least I don’t need to add at the waist, which is a time saver and good for my self image.
The envelope photograph shows a garment that is not overly fitted. The shoulder photographed is not very dropped (though the drawn illustration of view B and the line drawings all suggest a slightly dropped shoulder). It has pretty close to straight sides, but has both bust and vertical darts in the front. The line drawing on the back shows that it also has back darts. This gives possibilities for easy shaping closer or looser and was something that attracted me to the pattern.
I also liked the relatively narrow sleeve that the pattern photo shows. When I looked up reviews on Pattern Review I discovered that some sewers found this a problem, and that the sleeve was generally found to be too short. While I didn’t find the sleeve too narrow because I’m a little teapot with skinny arms, I did find it a bit on the close side at the top. I also found it almost too short and that’s a first for me. (I usually have to take about 4cm length off the sleeve regardless of pattern brand). So in the tweaking, I added 1 cm in the sleeve cap region and about 0.5cm at the sleeve seam at the top, thus giving just a little more room at the top of the sleeve and adding fractionally to the overall length.
When I tried the pattern first time, I found another feature to like. The collar is cut as a single piece with a seam at centre back. Because there are folds not seams at the front edges you get a sharp point and a nice flat edge, and have less likelihood of poking your collar turner through the bunched fabric in the point. (Yeah, I’m a little teapot with skinny arms and a tendency to get over enthusiastic with a point turner. But I promise I never try to turn points with my scissors!)
Some people dislike aspects of V1033. It’s not an edgy pattern, and to get close shaping you would want to alter the side seams a bit, it has an unusual collar and the sleeves are narrow. Those features actually endear this pattern to me, and I’ve now tweaked it pretty much to my satisfaction and had fun playing with it in various ways.
Tweaking for best fit, I have slightly reduced the shoulder width, added a little to the length above the bust, extended the back darts by about 5 cm at the top and, as I noted above, lengthened the sleeve in the cap area and added a bit to sleeve width at the underarm. I have also usually shortened the overall length, though I do this on the garment rather than the pattern. The outcome is little different from the pattern as it was designed- it's become slightly less ‘casual shirt’ and slightly more 'semi-fitted blouse'.
Style changes that I have often made are: slightly reducing the width of the collar, making a straight rather than shaped band, making the sleeve somewhat fuller at the cuff and creating barrel cuffs with rounded rather than squared edges.
Here are some things I have done with this pattern, making changes of detail that aren’t too difficult, but add interest.
Here’s my first attempt, basically to pattern in white linen. The only variation from pattern here is that I turned the facing to the outside on the right front.
Another early shirt, in something polyesterish, where I played with a double collar. This was an idea I saw in Threads magazine. I omitted a band and made two collars, both the full length of the neckline and one slightly narrower than the other. I stitched the lower collar (plain purple) to the right side of shirt. I stitched the other collar (in the patterned fabric) to the wrong side of the shirt, flipped it over the collar so the raw edges of the seam were encased, and top stitched it down. I made mock double cuffs, simply stitching a piece of the patterned fabric to the plain cuff.
|fake double cuff|
Next, a version the black and white striped cotton, where the interest is in the contrasting collar and French cuffs. I didn’t use the French cuffs in the pattern, because they are for the ¾ sleeve in view A and I was using the full sleeve from B. I created a pattern (basically just doubling an existing cuff piece). I had fun creating cuff links too. I found four vintage buttons, and joined them in pairs with a thread bar covered in buttonhole stitches.
|Striped cotton shirt V1033|
|detail of cuff|
Another striped version, in fine Italian striped cotton has no darts at all. Ignoring the body darts is easy, but to remove the bust darts I had to trace a front pattern, cut and close the bust darts, (moving the fullness into body) then reshape the side seam. The result has no lines to distract from the stripes. It works because the fabric is flimsy.
|striped shirt, no darts at all V1033|
The latest version is in a lovely wool challis that I found at Mood fabrics when I was visiting LA. The stuff was a bit of a pain to cut, but sewed and pressed like a dream. I made the shirt pretty much straight from the pattern, but added a placket or chesterfield front. To do this, I cut the fronts separately, one from the pattern, the other with the placket pinned to the front pattern matching centre fronts. (I created the placket pattern from an article in Australian Stitches. Claire Shaeffer gives directions for the concealed placket in “High Fashion sewing Secrets’ as does David Page Coffin in ‘Shirtmaking’.) My main reason for using this placket was that my sewing machine can be a bit temperamental about buttonholes. I should have known that since they were not going to be seen, the machine would purr through them nearly perfectly!
So, this pattern is definitely a keeper for me. Plans for it include a white silk blouse with bow tie instead of a collar, another shirt with French cuffs for showing off my cufflinks, and maybe a blouse with a peter pan collar. The pattern is now out of print, so I think I’ll need to make a Vilene copy to preserve it. It’s earned its place in the box of TNT patterns!