Tag Archives: blouse

Alma Blouse

Well, I’m back! What with school and all, I’ve hardly had time to sew, and it doesn’t help that both of my sewing machines are broken! I did make a Secret Santa present using the sewing machines in the costume shop, but other than that I haven’t been able to sew since I don’t know when. Now we’re in the middle of winter break, though, and I’ve been out in the country using my mom’s fancy Juki to make her an Alma blouse!

Alma and car

When Mother first bought this lawn, she described a fitted, vaguely medieval, possibly button-back blouse with 3/4-length sleeves. We decided that the Alma blouse had the right fit, and the sleeves were easily modified. It is also such a nice, versatile, modifiable pattern, and falls within both of our sizing ranges. I can’t wait to sew myself a version in white geometric-patterned cotton with a forest green yoke, or a little floaty summer blouse in lawn or voile with cap sleeves…

I cut a size 16, going by Mother’s upper bust measurement, and did a full bust adjustment. At first I added a total of three inches to the bust, but after the first muslin, I had to reduce the bust by an inch (interestingly, this happened with the last FBA I did as well–I’m really not sure why). I also did a forward shoulder adjustment of probably 1 1/4″.

Alma and car

I had a lot of trouble fitting the sleeves, and as you can see, they’re still not quite right. I narrowed the shoulders by about 5/8″, and put that fabric into the sleeve cap instead. I also did a full arm adjustment, and cut the sleeves on the bias. They fit a lot better in the lawn than they did in the poly-cotton sheet I was using for the muslin, and Mother can move her arms pretty freely, but I’m still not entirely satisfied. Sleeves are hard!

sleeve detail

In addition to changing the sleeve length, I gave the sleeves a little notch that matched the neckline. I trimmed both sleeves and the neckline with some homemade burgundy bias tape.

blouse and earring

Alma neckline

I attempted to do a swayback adjustment because of the wrinkles in back. I don’t think I did it right, but there are fewer wrinkles than there were…

Alma back

Alma zip

I used a regular zipper instead of an invisible one, for no particular reason. It is still pretty discreet. The belt shown here is the leftover burgundy bias tape.

Alma and car

I also made the skirt that Mother is wearing, which was last year’s Christmas present. It is something like a quarter circle, made out of something woven but stretchy from Fabric Depot. It matches the blouse perfectly!

I’m going home tomorrow with a borrowed sewing machine, to sew like mad until I leave for Ireland in a week! I’m hoping to make a shirtdress, two circle skirts, and to finish the Macaron I was sewing when my machine broke. And if I can accomplish all that, there’s a million other things I’d like to sew…but I’m trying to keep my to-do list short!

Apple Violet Blouse

This is what I wore today:

violet

It was sewn entirely by me! Excepting shoes (brown oxfords, not shown) and tights, which don’t count. The skirt you’ve seen before–it’s my green corduroy one I made last summer, though it has been taken in since. But the blouse is new!

It is a Colette Violet, made up in the cutest fabric you ever did see. It has been sitting in the closet awaiting buttons for at least two weeks, and I finally got around to them last night at a sewing party.

buttons

You can’t tell from this photo, but I couldn’t find enough matching orange buttons, so they are slightly different. It’s barely noticeable, though, and if anyone did notice, I think the print can pass it off as “whimsy.” There are also nine buttons, instead of the six or seven that the pattern called for, and I regretted it long before I had finished hand-sewing each buttonhole. When I had pinned it together, it pulled at the bust, and my nine buttons were meant to prevent gaping, but in fact there is room and to spare in the finished product. I later learned that I can pull it over my head, and the buttonholes are utterly unnecessary.

violet collar detail

Collar detail. I love the collar, and there’s enough of this fabric left over for a few details on some sweet cream-colored dress.

I made no alteration to this pattern, just traced it off in a size 0 and made it up, with only the minimum possible tissue fitting (that is, “is this going to fit over my bust? yeah, looks like it, let’s go”). I thought about making a muslin, but for such a simple pattern I didn’t really think that it could fit me that terribly. I don’t exactly regret making a muslin, but there are definitely some alterations I will make for next time; this version is a bit too voluminous in places.

violet back

The back.

violet untucked

And untucked. It really looks best tucked in, it is just a little too big and a little too boxy to be really flattering, though it might be cute with jeans or a straight skirt.

In my next version, I will probably take out about an inch of length in the high bust, and maybe a quarter to half an inch in the shoulders. I might also take out an inch of length along the lengthen/shorten line, because looking at other people’s Violets, they do seem to be a bit shorter than mine, and I will probably end up hemming mine a little more–I am, after all, quite petite. I am also considering taking the next one in at the side seams. A lot of this depends on how I feel as I wear this one, but I already have plans for another in white lawn with purple accents–it’s a very cute and easy pattern, and it seems a shame to let a small sizing problem get in the way. Of course, if I keep making Violets I’ll have to keep making high-waisted skirts! I really only have a couple skirts that I feel I can wear blouses with, especially blouses this blousy.

Overall, though, I’d call it a success! The cut and colors are very summery and light, but the print is a bit more autumnal, so it’ll be relevant all year round!

Almost a Violet, or, The Tale of the Unremarkable Sundress

Well, this weekend was the last one with my beloved sewing machine until September! I’m off to go work on a lavender farm for a month, and then I’m rushing about thither and yon and though I will have a few days at home at some point, I’d better be packing, not sewing. Anyway, I’m out of fabric! I will update occasionally with outfits, probably, and I’m going to be making a Stripe Study Shawl, which will hopefully be finished by the time it’s cold enough to wear a shawl and academic enough to study (i.e., finals). Can I finish a shawl before December? We’ll see.

Anyway, my last sewing weekend this summer. I spent most of it making a blouse, which is almost but not exactly a Colette Violet. By which I mean that I had the pattern booklet, kindly loaned me by my mother/Shannon, and, actually the pattern pieces as well, but I didn’t really feel like ironing the paper and tracing them out onto paper bags and then having to fold the paper back up, so I made up my own.

blouse

The booklet kindly advised me to “Measure twice, cut once” and Mother is always telling me to do a paper fitting, so I tried, I really did. But it’s no easy feat to fit patterns to your own back, especially when they’re made out of paper bags instead of tissue, so after a while I just gave up and decided to fit the fabric instead of the paper. I’m afraid I forgot to take into account what bust darts would do to the grain of the fabric, so it wrinkles in sort of a weird way under the bust.

blouse

Also, the collar is asymmetrical, despite my careful pinning. Oops. I’m still not sure how upset I am about that. I do like the sleeves though–I’d never made up my own sleeves before and it was surprisingly easy! And I did all seven buttonholes by hand–I’ve done all my buttonholes by hand and I really dislike it but somehow I keep making things with buttons. My shipment of 62 vintage zippers arrived though, so maybe I’ll avoid buttonholes for a while.

blouse back

Here is a picture of the back of the blouse. The fabric is cute, but it photographs absolutely terribly because it’s so busy. It hides darts pretty well though, which is nice. The collar was all wavy, probably because I didn’t use staystitch like the booklet said to do, so I darted it in a couple of places to make it lie flat.

It’s definitely not a perfect blouse. I learned an important thing making it: the people who make and sell patterns have years of experience, which is why they can make a living selling patterns, and I could learn a thing or two by actually following the instructions. I could probably make another of these blouses without a pattern now, but it would have turned out better if I had used one here, especially since I actually had one to hand. Oh well.

Next up–a high-waisted skirt in a mint green or pink to match this blouse that I have created.

Oh, but wait. I wouldn’t take two days to only sew one thing, would I? How silly! And I still had a piece of fabric!

Which is where the unremarkable sundress comes in.

sundress

There’s not that much to say about it. It’s been really hot the last few days, and I have a tendency to melt in weather above 75 degrees, so I wanted another low-effort sundress. I patterned it off of a green one that I frequently wear to ceilis, thinking hey, I could use another ceili dress too. Of course the green dress is made from drapey rayon and this dress is made from quilting cotton, so all the boringness of the pattern came through. It’s pretty much what I expected so I’m not all that disappointed. I think it’ll soften up with a few washes, and the fabric is pretty. I doubt I’ll be wearing it ceili-ing any time soon, as its stiffness sort of accentuates how short the hemline is (also what a terrible job I did hemming it straight…ugh), but it is actually pleasantly crisp in hot weather.

I am leaving on the train in a few hours and should go finish packing. I hope to see some spectacular outfits on the train that I can photograph, but I’m not counting on it.