Monday, January 23, 2017

Back at the Sewing Machine - blue tie-dye blouse

I was actually super productive at the end of 2016 in the sewing realm, but I haven't documented any of it!  I made a plan, where I was only allowed to sew any of six pre-selected projects, which were left over from my fall sewing plans.  I made my way through three of them, and added in some fancy pants to wear for my birthday.  In no particular order, I decided I need to actually get them down in the archives, and I started with this shirt because I wore it the other day. :)  I've decided I have a hole in my wardrobe when it comes to shirts I can wear to work and dress up a bit, so this was intended for that category.  It was still a simple piece, with no closures and just a straightforward blouse, but I wanted it that way to really let the fabric shine.

One thing I have been keeping up with, which is super helpful, is taking notes while I'm sewing and then entering everything into a little sewing journal I've started.  It's fun to have a physical notebook to flip through and see all my creations, and in the past I've not taken notes while sewing, so I'm always having to try to remember what I did the last time, if I make a pattern again.  Anyway, here is my completed page for this shirt:

If you can decipher my hand-writing, you can figure out my thoughts, but I'll add a few for posterity here.  I used the Megan Nielsen Dove blouse as my base, using the version without the flared sleeves, and I did a jewel neckline instead of the v-neck in the pattern.  I just wanted a basic blouse to start with, and I really like the fit of this pattern.  I actually prefer a v-neck, but this blouse was a part of my fall sewing plans, where I intended to make things that actually go together, and another piece is a wool jumper, which you will see shortly, and I made the necklines to match.  

The fabric was a beautiful silk from Emma One Sock, which is no longer available because I waited months to actually sew it!  Since it was a bit squirrely to work with, I broke out one of the tricks I've picked up along the way, which is to pre-wash it (even if the label says hand-wash, I tend to live dangerously and wash on the gentle cycle), dry it, and then spray it with Sullivan's Stabilizer Spray.  After the spray dries, it stiffens up the fabric just enough that it doesn't slide around when cutting it out or sewing.  The spray is expensive stuff, but it's worth it to me when dealing with pricier fabric which has such a dramatic pattern, which I don't want to mess up.

I spent a lot of time laying out the pattern pieces, as I could have had some accidental headlights quite easily with this fabric.  I'm pretty proud of how the central column lays perfectly on both the front and the back.  I also used the selvage edges as hems for both the body and the sleeves, since I didn't want to deal with hemming it.  It's a bit lazy I know, but I like the way it looks.  Because of this, I just did a straight-across hem instead of the curved version in the Dove blouse.  But if you notice, I'm wearing it tucked in in the front, because it just looks better a little shorter in front.  I may eventually get around to hemming it, but I do like it with the front-tuck for now.

The fit was spot on without any adjustments, but one thing that could just be due to my inattention to detail is that the sleeve caps are a little poofy for my taste.  I rarely mark notches (the horror!), and unfortunately, I think that I could have used it in this case.  I have another version cut out, and I'll see how it looks if I'm more careful.

Because I changed the neckline, I re-drafted the facing, and used a really cool technique, from What Katie Sews, which basically is to sew the facings into the armsyce seam, and it keeps it from flipping.  She has a detailed tutorial up on her blog, so it was really easy to follow along.  I will definitely be using that one again!   

There you have it folks - I've added a super wearable blouse in a needed category that I made myself!  I'm so proud of myself. :)  Stay tuned for my ideas about mixing and matching it with my wardrobe.

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