Today I’ve got Grasser 775 balloon sleeve blouse to show you and I want to talk about my experience of using Grasser patterns for the first time.
I started to get interested in Russian pattern companies a while back and so far I’ve tried out Vikisews Patterns (see my first make here) I find the Russian designs modern and interesting and from what I can tell, they seem to be quite well drafted too.
There is an English site for Grasser, though my blouse design only seems to be available on the Russian website at the moment, however, if you switch on Google Translate it’s pretty easy to find your way around.
EDIT: The blouse is now available on the English website here
The patterns are all only about £3 at the most and you can pay with Paypal. I think I had to pay 10% extra for an international payment from the Russian website but that still only made my pattern about £2!
Grasser Patterns Sizing
So let’s talk sizing…I studied the size charts and I think the designs may be drafted for more of an hourglass figure. I’m quite big in the waist compared to my hips and bust so I went with my closest bust size and the height range that I fitted into (yes you get a height option which I think is a great idea). To navigate the size charts I actually looked at them on the English language website first which really helped and now I know what size range I fit into to it should be a breeze to order again. For reference, I ordered a size 42 in the height range 164-170cm.
The PDF’s come in an A4 tiled option only and have seam allowances of 1cm included. The names of each piece are written in English as well as Russian and things like ‘centre’ and ‘place on fold’ are also in English.
I made a couple of small adjustments to my pattern before cutting. First I reduced the armhole depth by 1” which was just through choice (you may prefer to leave it as is) and secondly I removed 1” from the length of the body (I think this is because I only just fit into the height range of 164-170)… everything else I left as.
What are the instructions like? Well, I’m glad you asked 🙂 Yes, they are in Russian but each step has an accompanying photo, which is great and you can copy and paste some of the instructions into Google Translate if you wish and this really helps too. I managed to navigate them without a hitch.
Let’s talk about my fabric, which you may recognise? I first mentioned it here. It started out life as a scarf that I bought when I went on a lovely day out with hubby to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary last year. We went to a beautiful National Trust property called Whitwick Manor, an old Tudor House near Wolverhampton and the scarf was a find from the gift shop there. It’s hand-painted and represents the post-harvest fields and hedgerows. It’s a polyester gauze and is really lightweight and sheer.
The scarf measured 1.86 m by 1 m wide and was only juuuuust about enough… I literally had scraps leftover but I love it when that happens because I hate wastage.
Sewing Grasser 775 Balloon Sleeved Blouse
The first step of the blouse was to create the front V neck. I reinforced this area using strips of very lightweight interfacing as recommended in the instructions and then stitched on the facing. Next up…the main seams…
So, I decided that French seams would be the best way to go with this sheer fabric but I didn’t account for the self-destructing nature of the bloomin’ stuff! It literally started to disintegrate down the edges so after I’d done the first row of stitching. To prevent all of the little straggly ends of fabric poking through my seams I did an extra row of zig-zag stitch before the second stitching line. It was worth the extra effort because everything looks nice and neat now.
It was then on to the ruffled collar…
I had a feeling that if I used the sewing machine for sewing a tricky area like the collar in this evil fraying fabric then no good was to come of it (I swear the fabric was thinking “ just you wait…when you least expect it I’m disappearing down that feed dog into the abyss of your machine and then you’ll be sorry” !)…
Well, not on my watch…I did very minimal machining and instead, I hand sewed a lot of it. I found I had fabulous control of everything and thoroughly enjoyed the process too, I even sat and did some sewing in the garden and enjoyed the warm sunshine earlier this week.
I finished the whole thing off with a handstitched hem and by using the elastics from a disposable face mask for the sleeve hems. Overall, I really enjoyed this project and I see more Grasser patterns in my future too.
Have you sewn a Grasser pattern yet? Or a Vikisews one? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you soon.
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