Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetle....

Oops, careful not to say it 3 times! Did you ever see that movie? It was one of my favourites when I was younger. It bordered on scary for me (I am the biggest fraidy cat ever - and I was only about 10 when I first saw it), but it was funny so I was able to look past the scary elements. It was my first introduction to Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin, and Geena Davis, who all quickly became favourites of mine. Plus it also contained the musical stylings of Harry Belafonte. What's not to love?  I already loved Michael Keaton from his Mr. Mom fame - another one of my favourite movies, I'll have to track that one down and watch it again. They just don't make movies like that anymore. I'm discovering that the 80s is quickly becoming my favourite movie decade. Who'd of thought? Anyway, I digress, here is my Beetle blouse:


This is probably one of my favourite makes so far, and guess what? It's self-drafted! Self-drafted you say? Yup, I created this pattern. Okay not totally from scratch, I had a bit of help. A while back I stumbled upon this post by Karen of Blinky Sews. She talked about this cool pattern-making set/template called Bonfit Patterners. It sounded really interesting to me, as I am always up for learning more about sewing, so I googled it. Turns out Bonfit Canada is based out of Calgary!! It was meant to be. I called the lovely lady up (the president of the company: Midge Travis), and she told me I could stop by and pick up a kit. She turned out to be this extremely sweet older lady ("I'm 88 you know!") and she even wrote books to accompany the patterers.  The style suggestions are very 80s (I'm seeing a theme here), but I pretty much love all the silhouettes they suggest, and you can use the base template you create to make just about any style. Anyway, I still have a lot to learn, and this blouse is definitely not perfect, but I think it's pretty awesome for my first attempt at pattern drafting.



This was my first attempt at a sway back alteration (the tutorial I used is here - very helpful), and I thought it turned out okay, but from the look of this picture, I may still need to take a little more out of the back.



The other issue that I should have addressed but didn't was arm-hole gape. Because I went sleeveless, I should have re-adjusted the arm hole and probably added a bust dart, and maybe made the shoulder seam a bit shorter. That all seemed extremely complicated to me, so I thought I would leave it for this go around. I have been actually pretty OCD about perfecting the fit of this blouse since I made it, so my next version which is coming soon, should be better. Pattern drafting is really hard, yo! (And it requires a whole lot of muslins.) I have so much respect and admiration for all those amazing pattern designers/makers out there.


I learned a ton making this blouse, I have never made a button-down, collared shirt (this collar was pretty easy as it has no stand and is meant to lie open) before so it was a complete learning experience. Not to toot my own horn, but I feel so incredibly proud and accomplished now that it's done. I really took my time and put love into this top, which is probably why I love it so much. Plus when I showed the final product to my husband he said "I love it!", which is rare, so that made me feel even more amazing.

The fabric is a Michael Miller quilting cotton from Fabricland and the buttons are just plain black plastic buttons from Fabricland too. Here's a detail of the beetleness:


The cool thing about making your own pattern is that it is based solely on your own measurements. How awesome is that? The books by Midge that accompany this patterner are awesome. She talks a lot about fit issues and how to identify them, and suggestions on how to make patterns work for your shape. I've only read the Bodice book so far, but I learned a ton. I'm not sure if I will continue to draft all my own patterns because if I did they would probably look all the same - I just don't know enough, but it's fun to play with this system and I'm learning lots about my shape and what works for me, so that's good too. I am hoping that I might be able to create a template to help me fit other patterns to my body - I think that's called a sloper? I have a pretty huge stack of patterns on my sewing shelf waiting for me, so I'm not sure what to make next but we'll see if this experience helps.

Hope you all are having a lovely week!