This sleeveless Rhapsody Blouse from Love Notions is the last pattern I made before moving out of my sewing studio!
It was basically still summer in Los Angeles up until this past weekend (when it was 84°F or 29°C). So when it was time to make a cute blouse for my niece’s birthday party (that was being held in The Valley) a sleeveless crinkle rayon blouse is exactly what the weather ordered.
(For the uninitiated, the San Fernando Valley is scorching hot. I was in this blouse and Lander shorts.)
This was one of the two patterns for September’s Sew My Style challenge. I made a pink silk Phoenix blouse that month and had printed this one too completely expecting to make both back then. Well, then life happened and now here we are.
*Housekeeping: there are affiliate links in this post, and I received this pattern for free as a member of the #sewmystyle2019 leadership team. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.*
Pattern Description & Cost
Pattern: Rhapsody Blouse
The Love Notions Rhapsody Blouse is a surprising versatile top. It comes with 8 different sleeve options, all for $10. That’s basically $1.25 per option, which is a great value.
From the website:
The Rhapsody Blouse is the perfect top for your summer wardrobe. This blouse is meant for lightweight and drapey wovens. It features eight sleeve options, a flattering curved hem, gathering at the yoke and french seams so the inside looks as nice as the outside! The v-neck line is bound with self-made bias tape and can include ties to give it a beachy feel.
Contrary to this description, you do not have to use French seams to construct this if you don’t want to. I did, since my crinkly rayon frayed like the devil. Your finishing techniques are up to you, though.
Love Notions is beginning to update their sizing to go up to 5x (approximately a 57.5″ bust). This pattern, however, hasn’t received its update yet.
One thing their patterns do have is built in full-bust adjustments! I was skeptical of this at first, but it really works!
For the Rhapsody, you’ll choose your size based on your high bust measurement. I’m 43.5″ but with the amount of ease built in, I figured XXL would be fine. I used the corresponding full bust piece (which is wisely listed on a print page so you don’t waste ink!), and NO FBA was necessary. So happy!
The recommended fabrics, as noted in the quote above, are lightweight and drapey woven fabrics. This includes silk, challis, crepe, voile, lawn, peachskin, gauze, rayon, and chiffon. Think things that are very fluid, and maybe slippery.
(It can also be made in a knit, apparently, but they recommend sizing down.)
My rayon crinkle fabric was perfect. However this fabric tends to grow and stretch out of place, so it has to be handled very carefully. Oh and did I mention it frays like a bitch? Because it does. Fray. Like a bitch.
Here is how the PDF stacks up:
- Layered sizes: yes
- Colored lines by size: yes
- No trim pattern: yes
- Prints to edge of paper: yes
- Print layout included: yes, page 3 of the instructions
- A0 available: yes
- Number of pattern pieces: depends on sleeve choice, only 3 for a sleeveless Rhapsody blouse
Pattern Construction, Instructions, & Tips
I like this pattern. It was my first Love Notions pattern and I was pleasantly surprised with with it! The Rhapsody has those feminine details I like in my blouses.
But I do have a few minor issues with the pattern.
Construction & Instructions
There is a distinct lack of notches. None on the side seams, and only one set of notches on the sleeves (there are no back notches). Thankfully, all the seams lined up on the XXL size (though you do have to ease in the included FBA).
The grain lines are very short. On long body pieces, I like a relatively long grain line so I can ensure the entire piece is on grain. I ended up drawing these in.
The instructions include both illustrations (which I prefer) AND photos. I dislike photos. They’re typically shot under harsh lighting, or use a busy print on a distracting background. I believe photos are best left for online sew alongs—which this pattern does have! I didn’t use it, but I’m always impressed when pattern companies include this with the price of the pattern. It’s a great added value.
One thing I was really happy to see on this pattern was a higher armhole for the sleeveless version. All too often patterns DON’T have this—the Big 4 patterns included! I was thrilled about this.
The seam allowance isn’t consistent at all seams. This is not actually uncommon with some pattern companies. In fact it’s how industrial sewing is done! But it can be confusing for the home sewist.
In this pattern, only the side seams are 1/2″ (1.3 cm) because of those suggested French seams. The rest of the pattern is constructed with 3/8″ (1 cm) seams.
With certain very fray-prone fabrics, 1/4″ seams can be dangerous (that’s what the first pass of a French seam would be: 1/4″ or .7 cm). So choose your fabrics carefully or add your own additional margins on the seams.
My best tip: staystich every neckline, shoulder, and armhole as soon as they are cut! Don’t wait until you start constructing to do this.
For a sleeveless Rhapsody blouse and most of the other versions, the only notion required is bias binding. For the bishop sleeve, you’ll also need 3/8″ (1 cm) elastic.
The instructions also recommend spray starch to stiffen your drapey (and potentially silky) fabrics. This is a really good idea! I did this with my crinkle fabric. It was absolutely necessary for making bias binding out of it!
Thanks to the included FBA, I didn’t have to do a full bust adjustment. Yay! I DID however have to do the rest of my standard adjustments and then a few more:
- waist moved up 3″ (7.5 cm)
- 5/8″ high round back adjustment (1.5 cm)
- 2″ swayback adjustment (5 cm)
- 1/4″ broad back adjustment (.7 cm)
- 1/2″ narrow shoulder adjustment (1.3 cm)
Because there is an inverted box pleat at center back, I didn’t want to add a seam up the middle after doing the swayback adjustment. It’s possible to move this to the side seam instead and redraft the hem.
1 Puddle Lane has a great photo tutorial for this method. It’s a little trickier when you’ve done a significant one like I have to, so I might illustrate my own in the future.
Pattern Difficulty Rating
This pattern is rated intermediate by Love Notions. I agree, putting it around a 3 on a 5-point scale.
It has a yoke, requiring the burrito roll method (which the instructions include a video for!). There’s also bias binding, front ties, and gathering into a yoke. Oh, and French seams too, if you want! None of these techniques are difficult. But they can be time consuming, especially if you make your own bias binding.
There’s also the lack of notches, most importantly on the back sleeve. That can confuse a newbie, especially since the sleeve are set in the round. The shoulder seams are also offset, which isn’t really noted in the instructions. All of this can be a bit difficult for someone new to sleeves.
Added together, this definitely results in an intermediate pattern. 3/5.
Like I stated above, I really like my sleeveless Rhapsody blouse. I’m considering drafting a facing for the front neckline though. I don’t like how my bias finish looks around the entire neckline.
Instead I’d prefer a facing that tucks into the shoulder seams and sewing the back yoke together at the neckline before rolling the burrito. And then if I want front ties, they’re still easy to attach between the facing and the bodice front.
I plan to make a sleeved version in the future. Now that I have the adjustments all worked out, I’m considering a bishop sleeve version for colder weather.
Have you made any Love Notions patterns? Which is your favorite? How about this Rhapsody? Which version did you choose? Let me know in the comments!
Thank you for this very comprehensive review! I have this pattern but have been hesitant to make it. The v in the neck looks tricky. I would be interested to see how you make a facing for the front, as that is what I’m thinking. I’m not sure how to go about it. Your top looks great.