When I first saw the Fibre Mood Norma pattern amongst the issue 9 spring/summer offerings, this was my favourite. Turns out it was also everyone else’s favourite! And it was all over Instagram for awhile. That put me off a bit, because, uniqueness and all that … but who are we kidding, patterns are usually popular for a reason 🙂
The pattern was part of the sewalong series and I was surprised to be delighted with version 1, so decided on v2. And v3 was due to a technical error so I had to refilm the making, but I was still happy to make it and give to a friend.
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Balloon sleeve V neck button-down blouse, loose fit with no bust darts.
Or the official description: Sleeves that stand out are in! And Norma knows that being big can be better. The lavish three-quarter length balloon sleeves are full at the shoulders, have puffed wrists and gathered seams. This original short V-neck blouse effortlessly steals the show when paired with a high waisted skirt, jeans or trousers.
Attaching a facing, gathering (lots of it), buttonholes. You can watch my top tips on gathering on my IG story highlights here.
What you need to know before you make it
- The blouse is a very low cut V by design. It is also loose-fitting so best to stand upright to prevent unwanted exposure.
- The hem is quite short. If you prefer to tuck it in, you will need to lengthen. An extra 7cm worked quite well for me (version 2)
- I chose fabrics with medium to stiff hand (little to no drape). A drapey fabric would also work, but you may lose a little of the big sleeve effect.
- Seam allowance: typically 1cm, but you always need to check the instructions. This is because they will differ for the hems and neck. If you use the paper pull out sheets in the magazine, you need to add them in yourself.
- Tutorial: I did a whole sewalong for the Norma blouse. See the Fibre Mood IGTV page, here are the links to part 1 and part 2.
Fibre Mood Norma version 1 – pattern as drafted
- Pattern modifications: almost nothing except that the cuffs are cut on the bias for a nice stripe effect.
- Size: 36
- Fabric: mini stripe organic cotton poplin
- Needle: universal 70/9
- Buttons: mother of pearl, 10mm. I used 5 buttons.
- Notes: the poplin is stiff enough that it holds its shape well. It goes under a jacket or coat well enough (just don’t try shoving those sleeves in a blazer or you’ll risk discomfort as well as a wrinkle party)
Fibre Mood Norma version 2
Blue version is my absolute favourite. Before I had a 48hrs away without kids for work, I suddenly decided I was having a blouse emergency. The idea of a Liberty lawn Norma popped into my head, and I had a little leftover fabric from a summer dress. So I got to work.
- Pattern modifications: lengthened by 7cm, because I like to be able to tuck my blouses in. The V neck I made shallower by 1cm. It made all the difference to me and is at the perfect point now.
- Size: 36
- Fabric: Liberty tana cotton lawn. I print matched at the front, it took quite a lot of effort at 11pm …
- Needle: microtex 60/9
- Buttons: mother of pearl, 12mm. Because of the larger than recommended size, I spaced them further apart and used 4 buttons. You can eyeball whatever works best for you.
Fibre Mood Norma version 3
Would you believe, because the original Instagram live sewalong video did not save (thank you for the technical issue IG), I ended up having to make a third version. The friend I made it for is the same size as me and she actually virtual sewed with me during the sewalong, but wanted some changes. So I made it again!
- Pattern modifications as requested: lengthened by 7cm. V made shallower by 5cm
- Size: 36
- Fabric: cotton broderie anglaise. Less stiff than the poplin, not as soft as the lawn.
- Needle: universal 70/9
- Buttons: plastic heart buttons that were a free gift from a fabric shop once upon a time when I bought something. I’ve hoarded it forever thinking maybe I’d use them for a bag or something one day … but nope, here we are!
I must admit this version makes me feel all Disney princess, especially with the bright pink skirt which is Fibre Mood Betsy in raspberry linen that matches perfectly with the buttons. I do like it though, the cotton is midweight so it’s pretty opaque though the facings look a tiny bit thick for my liking, after the interfacing was applied. But, being cotton it all behaved very well under the machine.
So that’s it for this pattern. Fibre Mood Norma really hits the mark for me! I don’t normally wax lyrical about a pattern, or make it three times for this matter but I was really pleased with this each time.
Possibly because I love a good floral cotton lawn (i.e. Liberty or Storrs) and I find it hard to find a good match with a pattern. It feels like a waste to have something with a lot of style lines (e.g. in a classic button-up shirt) which just gets lost in a print. Or, I feel the need to break it up a bit with some flat piping (which I did here) and a classic shirt doesn’t lend itself to that. And I have plenty of woven tops already so…
If you have a big stash of cotton lawns (especially Liberty!) or cotton poplin you bought as a beginner sewist and you don’t know what to do with it, then I reckon Norma is a good one to try. And I don’t think the big sleeve trend will go away anytime soon… they’ve been trending for a long time right?
PS – in the past few months, I’ve been doing a ton of sewing, a lot of it work related. You can see the 23 items here.
Till next time