I want to share with you a vintage blouse I made back in February this year. The project was started on a dressmaking workshop I attended at John Lewis in Bristol called Dressmaking to fit. It was a Rowan workshop run by Avril Best. As the name suggested the workshop was predominantly all about how to achieve a good fit with your garments, not so much on the actual sewing. There were a few patterns selected as project suggestions. The pattern I chose to do was Simplicity 1692 and view A, the long sleeved blouse. I wanted something that I hadn’t made before and would challenge me, whilst still working on achieving the best fit.
Included in the cost of the workshop was any of the Rowan fabrics in store to make your garment from. Well hello…..! Talk about being in a sweet shop! I love Rowan fabric and could have chosen any of the entire range! Took me ages to decide!
I plumped for one from the Glow collection called Quarter Moon Mist designed by Amy Butler.
Before I go into the nitty gritty here it is…
I have to admit I think it would look really nice tucked into some high waisted trousers or a pencil skirt. However both of those I am lacking so RTW (Ready-to-wear) jeans it is!!
The first part of the workshop was all about measuring ourselves accurately, comparing our measurements to those on the pattern envelopes and taking into account the finished ease of the pattern.
In the afternoon we then traced our pattern pieces, made any small adjustments following a basic tissue fit and cut into our fabric. The aim at the end of the workshop was to have all your pattern pieces cut, with any alterations already made so that then it was up to you to continue to finish the garment at home.
I measured myself to be a bust size 12 and waist size 16. I do however always end up taking garments in at the waist and this blouse in particular looked like it needed to be nipped in at the waist so I opted to cut a size 12 throughout. I usually also lengthen patterns as I hate tops that finish too short at the waist on me. I added approximately 6cm to the length of the top and 3cm to the sleeves. There was no shorten/lengthen line on the front or back pieces so I opted to add it onto the bottom. I did then have to consider the length of the tucks so that it wasn’t too tight at the waist – more on that below.
It wasn’t the easiest sew I have to admit. There are a few fiddly bits and definite attention to detail needed in parts like the back opening and the sleeves. Oh and the invisible zip of course!
There are several features of the blouse that I do really like. Firstly, the tucks that are at the bottom of the front and back pieces. There are 4 on the front and 4 on the back. In order to keep the length of the tucks the same as the pattern, when I lengthened the pattern piece I had to remember to transfer the markings onto the fabric accordingly and shift the tucks down. If I had lengthened the tucks aswell it would have been too tight higher up which would have affected the fit.
Secondly I love the gathering at the neckline. 2 rows of gathering stitches are sewn across the upper edge of the front pieces, a length of neck binding is made from the fabric and the stitches are pulled to fit when the binding is pinned and sewn in place. The inside of the binding is hand stitched to finish.
The back opening is secured by a loop made from the fabric and a button. I LOVE these buttons! They are from John Lewis and I have also used them in orange on a couple of other projects.
This was also the first project I had used my new overlocker on – how excited i was…”Look at this!!!!”….”Wow”….”Check this out”…..”ooooooo”…were all phrases heard to be coming from my direction!! Anyone else relate to this??!! I took a picture of the back facings just because I was so in awe of the finish the overlocker gives. No more fiddly zig-zagging here!
Together with the waist tucks there are darts in the back of the shoulders to add shaping.
The sleeves are eased in to fit the armhole, with the aim of distributing the fullness evenly so that the seam is pucker and tuck free. I mentioned ease stitching in a recent post here.
Then to the cuffs. I found the instructions really clear – there are several steps to follow as there is more gathering around the bottom of the sleeve, interfacing to the cuff pieces, topstitching and buttonholes to do. I am really pleased with the finished cuffs, especially the buttons!!
The pattern suggests you insert shoulder pads but I elected to omit these!!
Overall I am really happy with the blouse and think I achieved a good fit with the adjustments I made prior to cutting the fabric. I don’t think however that it was a great choice of fabric for this project as it is a little on the stiff side. It could do with a softer fabric with more drape. I do wear it but it could do with being a bit more comfy and I don’t think that’s to do with the fit, but more the fabric. I also like Views B (short sleeved blouse) and C (top with short kimono style sleeves) so will add those to the ‘to-do’ list!!
How about you guys.. what’s on your sewing table at the moment?
Until next time