Is your Seamwork account full of credits, but you just don’t know what to make? I recently found out that you can re-join for a month and swap around any patterns you never downloaded for different patterns. I’ve had a fun month poring over my choices. I don’t wear many dresses, but I like those separates. Some of the newer patterns are now in my stash, and I returned some which didn’t appeal.
I needed some tops to freshen my spring wardrobe, and the Natalie seemed like a perfect transitional piece.
Pattern name: Seamwork Natalie
What size did you make?
Pattern description from the Seamwork website: When it comes to versatility, few garments can compare to the chic simplicity of the button-up. The Natalie button-up blouse features a flattering relaxed fit and a notch collar.
The Natalie comes in sizes 0 to 26. Bust 33” to 54” (84 cm to 137 cm.) Hips 35” to 58” (89 cm to 147 cm.)
I compared the pattern pieces with the pieces from a shirt which fits me. I could see that I would need to narrow the shoulders. Although my measurements put me in a size 16, I’m busty with narrow shoulders. I knew a 14 with a full bust adjustment would be a better fit. I graded out to a 16 at the hips, but I didn’t really need to. There’s plenty of ease.
- Bust 45”, 38G bra
- Waist 40”
- Hips: 47”
My shape is hourglass from the front, apple from the side.
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
I did a 1” FBA on the front piece for a total of two inches in the bust. I also lowered the bust dart slightly, although it needs to be lowered another inch. I did a half inch narrow shoulder adjustment and cropped 1.5” off the length. These are all pretty standard for me, and I get faster with practice. I still have to look at tutorials every time. It probably took me half an hour or less.
I also decided to use 6 buttons on the front. I prefer more closely spaced buttons because it prevents that dreaded gaping. This isn’t a snug fit, so gaping isn’t likely to be a problem. I’m still cautious after all those years of safety pinning ready-to-wear button packets!
What fabric did you use?
I used a lightweight linen-rayon blend from Joann Fabrics.
What was the construction process like?
The construction was smooth. Instead of a placket, this shirt uses facings which become the notched collar at the top and act as the buttonband. There is no collar stand or yoke. If you’ve never made a button down shirt, this might be a good first one. There are only 6 pattern pieces. It all comes together quickly. The sleeves fit with minimal easing.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
This is a boxy, loose top, so it feels a little unfair to say the fit is boxy. It is really boxy. There is no side seam shaping at all. It is designed as a straight line from the bust dart to the hip. I don’t love the lack of shaping, but I still like my shirt. It’s so easy and comfortable to wear that I reach for it when I want something relaxed and casual.
Will you make the pattern again? If so what fit or design changes will you make?
What drew me to this pattern was the notched collar and simple pattern. I want to make it again in a fabric with drape. I would give the next version a bit more side seam shaping. I added a tiny bit of shaping, but I would like a bit more. You can see that it angles away from my body below the bust. There is a lot of extra volume at the waist and hips. I could take out a little of that ease to get a better fit. I don’t want to over fit it, just reduce the ease.
I also need to lower the bust dart by a inch. I held the paper pattern piece up to my body and marked my apex. Apparently I’m not very accurate. Lesson learned. I’m also getting pointy darts. I know that curving the sewing line of the dart can help eliminate this so I will curve it more next time.
I think this kind of simple pattern lends itself to lots of variation. Can you imagine it in a sheer white linen or soft rayon? Wouldn’t this be perfect as a pajama shirt in a smooth cotton lawn? Piping would be a fun detail to add. Pair this with a simple pair of elastic waist pajama shorts for summer pj set.
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up?
This is a easy shirt to make and wear. If the style appeals to you, go for it. If you’re like me, you have a bunch of Seamwork credits to use. There is a dress-length variation available to Seamwork members.
When considering your fabric choices, have a look at this Seamwork article showcasing the Natalie in different fabrics.
Overall Pattern Rating
Size Range (1-5): 5 – The size range is very inclusive.
Instructions (1-5): 4 The instructions are clear with helpful diagrams.
Construction Process (1-5): 5 – The notches line up and the drafting is good.
Final Fit (1-5): 4 – I’m still tweaking the fit, but it is basically good.
Overall Rating + Explanation: 4.5 – An average of all the scores. This is a good pattern with a relaxed fit.