Simple design shows off statement sleeves
A review of Anna Allen Anthea Blouse and Dress
The design of this blouse is gorgeous; a simple loosely fitted bodice provides a perfect foil for statement sleeves. The high neckline is finished with bias binding. There is a single back piece and two front sections, with a self-placket and button fastening. The large pouffy sleeves are gathered at the sleeve head and finish just below the elbow, where they are gathered into bias binding. The hem is curved front and back. I made mine in linen, which worked really well. Ideally you need a fabric that has some drape but also enough structure to show off the sleeve shape.
The pattern isn’t one with significant options but you can make a dress version, which is a simple extension of the blouse, with a self-tie belt and sleeves finishing just above the elbow.
The instructions are clear and easy to follow. I made the size 8, although my measurements would have put me at a 10. The finished garment measurements show that the pattern has generous amounts of ease. I have quite broad shoulders and was a bit concerned that sizing down might mean the shoulders were too narrow, but in fact the smaller size was ideal.
I rated the pattern as 4 stars, because although I love the design and am very pleased with the outcome, I felt there was a small downside to the construction. The seam allowance is 4/8” in most places rather than the standard 5/8”. For the bias binding sections the seam allowance is 3/8”. In practice this means that the sleeve head has to be gathered within 4/8” while the bottom of the sleeve is gathered within 3/8”, which didn’t really make much sense. Also the 4/8” seam allowance doesn’t leave much scope for a French seam, which would a nice finish for example when using sheer fabric. I also thought that the instruction to do a double fold hem at the end after constructing the front plackets wouldn’t produce a neat finish, so I followed the more usual method of seaming the bottom of the plackets before topstitching them, to get sharp corners at the front edges.
Overall though this is a lovely design, justifiably popular, and I will certainly make more.