I’ve tried making Sandra Betzina patterns in the past. Heaven knows she is an icon of home sewing, and her sidekick Ron Collins on their online video series is one of my favourite sewing teachers, EVER.

BUT. You knew there was a BUT coming, right?

Lord love her, but her patterns are not suitable for me and my life.

The pattern envelope photo and sketch look really promising.

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Aside from the obvious fact that the model is a size 6, not a 16 like me, there’s a lot of good stuff going on here.

In practice though, it was a disappointment. For starters, there are ways to do sleeve bands well and then there’s this. Why would I sew two pieces of fabric together, putting a bulky seam at the bottom of my band, when I could just fold one piece in two? This is not an unusual technique.

The way this fits a larger woman is a bit boxy.

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You don’t actually SEE the square neckline under the draping, so why bother with the finicky technique? There’s something about the way the darks and shaping in this come together that just makes my bust look uni-boob and awkward.

The other thing about this pattern is that despite adding 1″ to the tissue before cutting, it still ends up sitting a little too short on the hips. This puts a horizontal line across the hips at the widest point, and we know what that does to a lady. Between that and the way the drape across the bust makes those horizontal floating folds, this just isn’t a good look for someone who has broad shoulders or a full chest. I have probably compounded this by using a fabric with a print that has vertical and horizontal design lines.

I tried to make a few adjustments, nipping in the waist for example, but it really didn’t make a difference. You can see from the photo on the pattern envelope that this shirt falls directly down from the armhole.

Will I wear this? Yeah, a few times. There’s a skirt I’m planning to make and I really want to put the two together, but all in all, I’m disappointed.