Thursday, October 20, 2022

Tauko Magazine Ramona Blouse

I told you I was down a gathering rabbit hole with my latest projects. First the Aims blouse, now bringing the volume and gathers and ruffle drama today with this project!

Tauko Magazine reached out to me and offered me one of the patterns from their latest issue, issue #5. They provided me a digital copy of the Ramona Noon Dress pattern, designed by Sadie Egan of Spaghetti Western Sewing, for free in exchange for a review.

This was my first time using a Tauko magazine pattern. Tauko Magazine is an independent print publication for home sewists. It features sewing patterns, interviews and articles by international contributors. They also sell some of the sewing patterns from the magazine as digital patterns on their website.

The Ramona pattern has a ruffled, gathered neckline and a raglan bodice gathered into a circular yoke.  It includes dress and blouse options as well as sleeve options (¾ sleeve gathered by elastic at the wrist or short puff sleeve). It provides instructions to add an additional ruffle between the yoke and the skirt and/or to the bottom of the skirt. The Ramona is a very voluminous, dramatic, swooshy style. 

The Ramona is described as "a fanciful lounge garment meant to be thrown on at noon, when you roll out of bed and start a leisurely day of puttering about your home or neighborhood haunts." 

While this, unfortunately, does not describe my lifestyle in the slightest, I have been wanting to experiment with blouses and tops that have a bit more going on from the bust up, for purposes of video meetings (the opposite of fanciful over here). I spend an inordinate amount of my time on these types of calls these days, and find that the necklines of my garments need a little oompf.

I made the blouse version of the Ramona pattern with the longer sleeves. I didn't add any additional ruffles- the neck and sleeves were plenty for me!

I found that the instructions are thorough, although there are not a ton of illustrations to supplement the wordy instructions- I imagine it's because of space limitations in the magazine.

I used the PDF pattern, which was not the most user friendly. While both A4 and A0 patterns were provided, it didn't seem to have layers to turn off the unneeded sizes, and there was no print list to indicate which pages to print for the A4 version, so I ended up printing out many pages I didn't need since I was planning to make the blouse version and not the dress.

For fabric, I chose a linen rayon blend (I think!) from my stash with navy and white threads. It's super drapey, which is what I wanted for all of the gathers on the Ramona pattern. It worked out well! 

I'm glad I chose a fabric that looks good on both sides since I find the wrong side of the fabric shows at the neck ruffle.

The Ramona pattern, like all Tauko patterns, goes up to a 57.5 inch bust and 60.6 inch hip. I chose a size 6 (of 9 sizes) according to my bust measurement and according to the instructions, which suggest 16 inches of ease at the bust. 

I think this size was the right choice- it's voluminous as intended! The sleeves are closer to full length on me, not the 3/4 length as described in the pattern.

I struggled mightily with the instructions for the neck ruffle/elastic casing. I couldn't understand the unusual construction method (pre-folding seam allowances and overlapping the pieces) at all, so I decided to use my own method. 

My method: I sewed the neck ruffle and yoke together, wrong sides facing, with a 3/4 inch seam allowance. I finished the seam allowance together and pressed it towards the yoke. Then I topstitched the seam allowance down to the yoke to form the casing through which I fed the 1/2 inch elastic. 

I changed up the order of operations for sewing the raglan seams, side seams and yoke, too, just based on my personal preference. 

I wasn't totally sure about the style for me, but I think I am into it. In this fabric, it's giving clown with seasonal depression. Or maybe stylish member of modest cult-adjacent religious organization. In a good way! It's comfy, fun, and dramatic.

The Ramona is cute with jeans, but I need to play around with other pairings. It works well with my corduroy Florence pants, and maybe it could look nice with a pencil skirt, too?

I've worn it a few times since making it and got several compliments from colleagues on the neckline during video calls, so clown with seasonal depression is apparently a good look for me ;-)