Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Although I type very fast and writing comes easily to me, I still sew much faster than I blog! And then by the time I get around to writing about a project, I've forgotten half of what I did and the excitement has faded. Alas. If only I could type and sew at the same time.
This project is a victim of that fading remoteness of memory--I made it sometime in January--though I still love it. As part of my perpetual quest for winter work tops I was perusing back issues of BWOF and came across #115. It has several great details. The first thing I was drawn to was the shirred collar; I've seen a bit of this in ready-to-wear and liked it. Then I noticed the released pleats, which I think are a little more interesting than darts. They also make the blouse more of a 40s peplum-ish style, to be worn longer and with a belt. I love the 40s and favor longer blouses as I just don't have the hang of tucking.
I got the fabric at G Street right after I was gifted with the Carol Collection because I wanted more shirtings to go with all the wools in the collection. This is the first piece I've sewn from that set, so that justifies that whole purchase LOL. The fabric has a lot of stretch, which is great. The texture is a little weird. The maroon stripes are metallic and trap all kinds of lint. Before wearing it I have to examine to make sure there aren't any snarly bits of raveled fabric attached anywhere.
I wanted to have a little fun with the collar. At first I thought of doing the little collar side bands in vertical stripes with the collar in horizontal stripes but then I started going through my fabric thinking of contrasts and came up on one of my Fabric Mart tie silks. An a-ha moment! Adding a quintessential men's fabric to a a blouse is what BWOF would call a "witty detail," and I was so on board. To tie it all in (get it?), I cut the outer cuff along the fold line (with seam allowance) and then cut a longer inner cuff out of the tie fabric so that about half an inch sticks down below the fashion fabric cuff.
I got to use some of my favorite buttons from my first Fabric Mart 4 pound bag (it was still the best one, too, which makes it a little disappointing every time I order another one!). For one of the versions of the blouse BWOF had recommended double snaps. I am scared of set-in snaps because I've never had them all go in right but I liked the double button idea and went with it.
My one issue with the design is the release of the pleats at the upper back. I was skeptical of it to begin with, and when I made it as drafted my worst fears were confirmed. That is awful! I do have a rounded upper back, but I feel that even someone with ramrod straight posture would have this kind of hunchback billowing. It was an easy fix, though; I just closed the pleat up as a dart at the top. You can see that the back is unremarkable now (in a good way).
On the other hand, I hadn't narrowed the front pleat on the pattern as I would narrow a dart because a tissue fit looked good. I feared it would look awful and baggy on my bust, but actually the fit is quite nice so ladies with larger busts will definitely need a full bust adjustment.
This is a chic little blouse. It looks good both with and without a belt. Y'all are influencing me, though. The fit wasn't great when I first made it, as it was a little too big. I made my normal BWOF size, although now that I think about it I usually have to tweak the fit a little so maybe I don't really know my BWOF size. But I'd rather be a little too big and alter down than too small. I think the issue here was the unusually stretchy fabric. It looks much better skimming the body than standing away from it. I figured I'd just wear it with a belt all the time, who cares. Anyway, I was taking the pictures and went to look at the first set of photos and was like, "Ugh, that fit is terrible. I can't show this to the internet." Mind you, I had already worn it to work on the day of a big farewell party for a higher up. I don't care if all my colleagues see me in a blouse that doesn't quite fit. But I couldn't stand the thought of you all seeing it like that, so I sucked it up and took it back to the sewing machine for half an hour or so and tightened up the back pleats and the side seams to get a perfect fit.
I had a bit of buyer's remorse after making this and *then* noticing 03-2008-108, which I like because the collar is rounded and toned down without a collar stand and I'm not sure my wardrobe can use two ruched collar blouses, but I got over it.
All the photos are here and the review is here.
Here's my parting shot, what I stepped into yesterday morning on the way to work. The snow was dry and fluffy and beautiful. Today the sidewalks will be an impassable sheet of ice (ours is perhaps the only street in our corner of DC on which all the residents shovel). By the weekend it will be all melted.