Pattern hacks

Chiffon Norma Blouse (Fibre Mood). #normahack challenge. Subtle ruffles & extra darts.

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A few months ago, Fiber Mood had a social sew along and the Norma Blouse was free on their site. I got the pattern in that opportunity. Then the pattern was priced normally at 7.50 pounds. Now in October, they have launched the #normahack challenge and have made the pattern available for free again, through October. Read all about the challenge HERE.

I read the work “hack” and my eyes water up instantly! with joy he he. Hacking is my favorite part of sewing. I joined for fun. This is a judged challenge, and that is offputting because the judging will always be very subjective and usually winning projects have mega ruffles involved! Not my thing… wearability comes first for me and it means less is more, most of the time.

The Norma Blouse could be FREE through October with the code #normahack. *You need to create an account. The pattern files will be on the link of the Normal blouse on the side in red letters, once the order is processed and is not instant. Otherwise, without the code, its 7.50 pounds. I am not an affiliate.

The Norma Blouse is designed for woven fabric and features:

  • A deep V neckline with a button down front
  • Facings inside
  • Cropped length
  • Statement sleeves gathered on the cap and gathered into a small cuff
  • Sleeves are 3/4 length
  • No shaping, boxy nature

The pattern instructions mention that ant woven fabric will do, but they recommend structured wovens to highlight the volume of these statement sleeves. You can see a list above with structured wovens that would achieve this goal.

BUT, this goal is the furthest from my aesthetics as can be! I will only sew voluminous sleeves in light flowing fabric like the ones listed above. I have chosen Chiffon for mine. Scared of Chiffon? no need, I have all the tipc and tricks for you on my channel.

To see a helpful video on how to cut and sew silky difficult fabrics, check out my video on my channel.

Both US and European sizes are included, but the PDF file has the European sizing. I have chosen size 14US equivalent to 46 European. You can opt to have seam allowance on the layers function, or not.

The length is intended to be cropped, and the style described as perfect for high-waisted bottoms…. not my style at all. But length is so easy to adjust.

For my Norma Blouse, I decided that adding some bust darts would help me avoid diagonal drag lines from the bust to the hips and the dreaded shorter center front. This is not a full bust adjustment, though I am adding a dart and adding length… I am not adding width. This will work if the size chosen fits your shoulders well and you have enough ease for the bust circumference.

The armscye is lower than the standard, and it’s what is appropriate for the large gathered sleeve. I had to draft a slanted dart that originates just below the armhole and point to my bust height. I back the dart to be 2″ away from my apex.

The dart intake is slightly less than 1.5″ and I add this same amount to the front piece all the way across. This will give me a level hem, compared to the back and the side seams will match.

Also, I not that the V neckline is too deep for me. I raised it by 2″. I also made a round neckline on the pattern and this one is 3″ higher than the original V neckline.

The last change I made, and its not in the diagrams was to draw a line across below the waist notches and add 3″ to the length, both front and back. I add this length after drawing the dart and adjusting the front pattern length.

Above you can see my general idea. I did the fitting adjustments first , of course.

  • I want to have the front on the fold. I drew a line across the button holes and folded that center are to the back. Then you can put the front on the fol and the button feature is gone.
  • I opted for a round neckline, like the diagram above.
  • I drew a line on the back at the height of my waist and added 3/8″ for seam allowance. I cut the bottom piece 50% longer to have subtle gathers and to avoid bulk.

While I was sewing, I tried on my Norma Blouse, I liked the look of the sleeve without the cuff. So I left it wide and hemmed it. I totally relate this with the floatiness of my fabric choice. I do like the gathered cuff….. but, less is more with this fabric.

  • Seam allowance is 3/8″
  • I used a microtex needle 70
  • I used a straight stitch with 2.5 length
  • Polyester thread
  • I serged the edges of the seams
  • Hems: folded up by 1/4″ twice, basted by hand first and then top stitched.
  • Bias bound neckline finish

To see the entire video review, look book and practicalities of making my vision come true, see the video about the Norma Blouse in my sewing channel. No need to fear this technique! you will see how easy this is.

To hear the video in PODCAST audio format on the go, visit my New Podcast. You can hear in different platforms shown below, or directly here.

Or listen right here!

I am thrilled with my take on the Norma blouse! I did it for fun and really enjoyed this free style of sewing. It’s the best. Having added the length to the blouse was a very good call. The original would have been short on me.

I would not have made the ruffle go all the way around the blouse. I like the smooth clean front and having the detail only on the back.

I have a second version cut out from navy blue crepe with a V neckline cut on the fold. I will finish this neckline with a V bias binding finish that is a tad fiddly but beautiful when sewn carefully. I am excited about sewing this pattern again.

DISCLAIMER:   I purchased fabrics for these projects.  I produce sewing content independently from pattern brands and share my unique way of sewing with you.  I don’t necessarily follow instructions rigidly. My opinions are honest, especially around fit and sewing techniques.


I spend a lot of my time sewing, filming/editing videos, writing and taking photos for both my Youtube channel and blog and if you love what I do and consider my work valuable for your own sewing, you can support me financially in a non-committal manner by purchasing me a ”coffee” through Ko-Fi here.  $5 gets me one cup of “coffee”, or how I call it: a zipper!

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