Maternity Wear #3 - the Carme Blouse | A finish {Dressmaking}

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Here is the dedicated post to the Carme blouse by Pauline Alice and the maternity wear modifications. I made a (very small) mock version of the modifications which I hope will help those who would like to adapt the pattern. I also made minor changes to the pattern. But let me start by saying that I would not have been able to complete the pattern without the sew-along - well I would, but it would have taken even more time than it already did. Also it is quite reassuring knowing that you are doing the right thing. I did not follow all the steps of the sew-along, just a couple (the maternity modification, the pin tucks and the sleeves vents).

The fabric is 'plumetis' (or swiss dot fabric, thanks Sonja for the translation) - a fine lightweight dress fabric of cotton that is woven with raised dots  on a plain background producing an embroidered effect. I tend to use lightweight fabric for maternity wear tops because there is so much bulk you can away with. I had mine in my stash - I found it at Ma Petite Mercerie (a French shop), I got the taupe colour, but there is a wide range of colour. 

I had 5 matching buttons in my stash - bought in a charity shop a bit of time ago - that I really wanted to use. I had to adjust the placket accordingly - 3 buttons for the placket and 2 to be able to roll up the sleeves. I also changed the collar - making it smaller so it is flush with the placket. I like Mao style collar but I thought the original collar sat a bit too high - I suppose my version is more casual. 

So here are the maternity wear modifications. The sew-along modifications suggest a gathering alterations (as I did with Tova) but I wanted to try another modifications - using a pleat. Although I like the finish, it is a bit tricky to match the end of the placket with the middle of the pleat. 

Here are a few pictures on how to make the pleat.

1. Mark the excess fabric (the sew along modification makes this easy) and the centre

2. Match the marks and pin

 3. Draw a line for about 5'

4. Baste (I am a great believer in basting but I know it adds steps). I only use one knot so it is easy to remove. 

5. Iron down the pleat in the middle

6. Match the centre of the top and bottom fabrics

7. Pin and sew according to pattern seam allowance

8. Et voila!  

It is quite a neat way to do it. I think it can really work for both maternity wear and just adding a feature to a top. I am hoping it means that I will also get some wear out of the Carme post-pregnancy. 

I love the sleeves details - it makes the shirt much a more professional finish compared to other tops I have made. 

As you can see it is totally wearable for any occasion, even on a bouncy castle with a toddler (I am not event looking too pregnant in this picture). 

I wished I had left a bit of fabric at the bottom. I am now nearly 7 months pregnant and it is fine, but it is probably not going to last me that long - although the maternity jeans is/will be helpful. 

I made a size 42/44 (following the measurements) but I should have really stuck to my normal size (40/42) - it would have been a bit more hugging, and less pregnancy-like. But give me a month, and I might be happy to have that excess fabric on the sides! 

I do love that shirt, it works for casual look as well as work wear. I like how the plumetis adds interest to the fabric in a subtle way. You can read Michelle's review here

This is of course not my first time sewing a Pauline Alice patterns, and in addition to the sew along videos the illustrations are really good and make the process very enjoyable. You can see my Cami dress and Malvarosa dress here and here - all made when I was not pregnant, those were easy times to sew garments! 


  1. This is so pretty, and what a great adaptation for maternity wear! In English we usually refer to that fabric as dotted Swiss, although that can also mean fabric with the dots just printed on instead of woven tufts.

  2. I really love the way this came together! I agree that the pleat will make this a blouse you can wear even when you're not pregnant. It's a fun detail. My version of this blouse is growing on me in ways I did not expect when I initially made it. And, I am really happy for a neutral to add to my closet for layering!

  3. It is such a beautiful top Nat. And the fit is perfect. Looks lovely on you. I specially like the rolled up sleeves. The fabric is beautiful it looks like it has a very nice drape for garments.

  4. Great job - well done and fantastic colour choice with the fabric.

  5. The shirt looks so cute on you! I love the color! :)

  6. the top is lovely and you are looking great. Imagine the wonder of the net that you can have sew a long dressmaking!

  7. Such a pretty top with clean lines! Love the collar style, too! It goes so prettily with the pintucks.

  8. Oh my gosh, congratulations! I have been out of the loop for a very long time. Lovely top, perfect for this weather.

  9. It is simply are lovely. Congratulations on the new little package to come :)

  10. Looks really great and suits you well! Good job!