Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Simplicity 4047, 1950s Blouse plus Another Tweed Ride Hat

Simplicity 4047 Thumbnail

I first made this pattern in 2007 and always planned to return to it.  It's a gorgeous style, and unusual.

The neckline with little cut-on collar is remarkably similar to this insanely beautiful L'Wren Scott (a more brightly-lit runway shot shows two rows of decorative buttons down the front--for which I do not care--and princess seams).  One thing I really like about the Simplicity neckline is that the centers have an inward curve.  Very graceful.

When I pulled out the pattern pieces, I was first struck cut this out along the smallest size line.  When my mom taught me to sew, she made me cut out the pattern along the largest size line, pin it to the tissue at the desired size, and then cut underneath the tissue at the desired size.  I truly HATED this.  Cutting is hard enough, but cutting underneath the tissue at the precisely the right spot was just horrible.  So when I started buying my own patterns, I just cut them out at the right size.

Well, then came the day when I realized I likely wouldn't be the same size forever, and that perhaps it might make sense to preserve the larger sizes.  Don't you hate it when your mom is right?  Anyway, I just added random increments of width at the waist and hip.

The other thing was that about 1 1/2 inches of length had been folded out of the upper bodice front and back.  It seemed odd, as I usually don't have to shorten above the waist due to my long torso (yes, my legs really are that short; you should see me running), but I figured I must have had a reason.  1 1/2 inches seemed way too much so I reduced it to 1 inch and went on my merry way.

Why, self of 2007?  Why did you screw me like that?  If anything, this could stand to have 1/2 inch of *additional* length.  So I got this put together and the upper bodice was ridiculously short.  The waist line is supposed to hit approximately at natural waist, and this was practically an Empire line.  Why, I ask again, why?

Ugh.  I found a piece of scrap large enough to cut out a waist insert 2 1/2 inches wide (including seam allowances).  In the end, the waist insert is a nice design feature, but it was way more trouble than it ought to have been.

Trim at Front Neckline

The key to the neckline is clipping all the way to the stitching at the corner, and trimming the seam allowance at the center.  I am pretty happy with the sharpness.  The corners are good and fairly sharp.  The only issue is there is still a tiny bit of wrinkling underneath the corners.


One thing I did remember from making this the first time is that I desperately needed a broad back adjustment.  The first version of this was from a shreddy dupioni, and the fabric disintegrated at the darts the first time I wore it because I didn't have enough movement across the back.  I did not know what I needed then, but luckily through the magic of the internet I now know how to fix the problem.  I now have plenty of movement at the expense of a fairly unsightly back view where the excess ease sits when I lower my arms; I consider this a worthwhile trade.

Lined Upper Bodice

Another thing I remembered was that the facings were horrible.  This really must be lined.  I lined only the upper bodice, and stitched the lining to the seam allowance at the waistline by hand.

Interface Edges of LIning

To make sure that the neckline would be crisp, I used the facing pieces to interface the edges of lining.  I should not have interfaced the sleeve edge, as it is a little too stiff and the various seam allowances show through a bit.  However, it worked well for the neckline.  I stitched the edges of the interfacing down, so that if the glue unadheres the interfacing won't flap around inside.

Extend Lining at Sleeve Edge

Turn of Cloth at Sleeve Edge

To get a nice turn of cloth at the armscye, I pinned the lining 1/8" beyond the fashion fabric when I was sewing them.  When the lining was turned to the inside, that pulled the fashion fabric in so there is no chance of the lining showing.

This blouse falls toward the back at the shoulders, which is not a common problem for me.  I have to shrug it up toward the front to get the shoulder seam to run along the shoulder ridge before I can move my arms.  Is this a function of the dolman sleeve?  If I were to consider fixing this in the pattern, would I just move some fabric to the front from the back, or would I affirmatively add more to the front?  Wisdom and suggestions appreciated.  I think I would like to draft this into a regular armscye so I could make a sleeved top or dress from the pattern.


The skirt I'm wearing it with had a really dated handkerchief hem.  This was during the PR Refashion contest and the fabric is a really lovely silk (purchased at H&M if you can believe, about 7 or 8 years ago).  I was thinking of making it into a tank.  It was going to be tricky because the skirt is bias cut.  But then I realized it would be much easier (and likely more successful) to just change the ugly hemline.  Ta da!  New skirt.

I bought this blush silk crepe many years ago, I don't remember exactly from where (FFC?) and how much I paid.  I let it lie fallow for many years because I thought I couldn't wear this color--too close to my skin tone.  However, I suddenly decided that it was the perfect color for me and I had to make the blouse immediately.  I don't know why.  I do like the color; it works a lot better for me than I thought it would.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


Teal Front

This was my costume change for the Tweed Ride.  I also wore my Nana's fur collar coat, which I'd never worn.  Even though I had nothing to do with the fur, I just can't bring myself to wear it.  It is a beautiful coat, though, and it fits me so well!

Teal Back

Teal Side

The main point of the costume change was to wear the other hat I made!  This one I blocked from a length of wool felt.  As sewists, we know how awesome it is to go from a flat piece of fabric to a 3D garment.  It was very cool to do this in a new way.

I gleaned most of my information from this video, and then just sort of made up the rest.  I cut off three of the square edges and used the fourth one to fold into a kind of origami back piece, accented with a faux bow.

Teal Mid-Blocking

Here it is after I spent a lot of time stretching the felt around the head form to give it a conical shape, and then the initial blocking.  I was just making up the shape as I went along.Wire Edge

I hand stitched the wire in place to help it keep its shape (felt stiffener is really what ensures it stays in shape).

Because I don't have a hat form suitable for blocking, I just had to use my head form.  The edge is pretty ugly--not at all smooth--because I couldn't stretch the wool underneath a block.  I didn't have any matching ribbon to wrap around the edge and cover the ugliness.

But I really don't care--I am over the moon about this hat!

Russian Netting

I've wanted a hat with netting my whole life , for some reason, and this one was well-suited to it.  I don't know how you're actually supposed to attach netting, but I did it with tiny hand stitches anchoring it in place, as demonstrated in the photo.  You can see completed stitches here.

Millinery photos are here, along with some closeups of the houndstooth hat.


Trumbelina said...

I am in love with your peplum top. How did I not notice this pattern?? As for your shoulder seams creeping to the back, some sort of forward shoulder adjustment?? I'll be watching to see what others say.
Your had is also wonderful. That blue is so perfect for you. I have hat envy.

LinB said...

I made this top the first month the pattern came out -- apparently in a size too small, plus the long torso adjustment I made was not long enough. It's sat in a corner in the closet, waiting the day that I drop 20 pounds to wear it, lol. I should probably thrift the current top, and make another that fits. It really is a lovely neckline, and the "peplum" is not so peplumish that it screams P E P L U M.

Great hats! Sounds as if you've taken up another avocation. You get such great results for such little effort with hats. You wear them well.

Karin said...

The neckline of this blouse makes it stand out from the parade of peplums we've been seeing for the last couple of years. It's very flattering too!
For me, your hat is the standout, I can't believe you made it! Very impressive.

Adelaide B said...

I love both the top and the hat. Both of them are really nicely done.

I am also bad about just cutting my size out of the pattern pieces, although, if I spend more than $5 on the pattern, i trace it.

Clio said...

The top is so very lovely - I hope you do eventually knock off the L'wren Scott dress with it.

I'm so impressed with your hat skills. There's something very glamorous about netting, isn't there?

Uta said...

You look so chic all over! I actually noticed the waist band first and thought what a nice design feature... The color is also very pretty; I love that pale pink! I had an H&M-bought silk ensemble once which is why I don't quite understand all the H&M-bashing out there (regarding the quality; I do understand that their production methods etc. leave a lot to be desired). I hope you had fun at the tweed ride!

velosewer said...

Love the top and the hat.
You pick really flattering styles.

liza jane said...

I am just so amazed at your hat making skills. I love the bow at the back. I have done several broad back alterations on woven dresses I've made because I hate having that incredible hulk feeling when I move my arms forward. I always thought I was doing something wrong when I had excess ease at the back arm seam. So is that normal when you do a broad back alteration? If so, I'm going to keep doing them because I find so much more comfort that way. I've also slashed and spread sleeves to give more range of movement but I find sometimes that changes the way the sleeve looks.

Faye Lewis said...

Trena that is the cutest top ever. Love the hat and coat too.

meli88a said...

There is too much to comment on in this post! Cute shirt, despite possibly being too short; adorable hat, I'm in awe; that coat is awesome; nice save on the skirt; yes, you're right the pink looks great on you and brings out a blush in your complexion.

And, go Team Short Legs! I hear that the fastest woman in the world is 5'2" (Shelly Frasier Price). For what it's worth, it's easier to pick up the pace if you are not long in the gams. So I hear... not that I am really using this to my advantage!

Sigrid said...

Cute, cute top. Glad you saved it with the stylish insert. Lovely neckline as well. The hat is wonderful too, ubelievable skills.

Donna said...

Beautiful outfit!

Lynn said...

What a gorgeous neckline on that blouse! I am going to search for the pattern. While I don't wear hats, except for sunhats, I admire your efforts. Given all the time I spend with old photos, I can say that your efforts look quite authentic!

Seraphinalina said...

What a great outfit. The top works really well with that skirt. And I agree with the rest, the hat is lovely.

McVal said...

I love that neckline!!! What a great outfit. All of them!

Crystal said...

This is a wonderful blouse. I've never seen this pattern, and now I NEED what I never knew I needed before!

emadethis said...

What an unusual neckline--and the buildup on the neck reminds me of Milly's Emily lace blouse I pinned ages ago. I couldn't figure out how to build up the neckline with the other details of that top even though I have other patterns that would otherwise work. I might have to Frankenpattern because this would definitely work. It's so pretty and feminine in the peach too.

MushyWear said...

What a beautiful top. I too love this color on you. And that unique neckline was so worth making again. Your hat making skills are amazing!

Linda said...

I love, love, love the top. Really like how you remedied the two short top with waist insert. May have to borrow that idea.

I think I have this pattern, hope so as I think I want to have a top like this. Great job.

prttynpnk said...

I so love this!! So flattering and really works retro or modern- classic!

badmomgoodmom said...

I bought the pattern for the top, too. It looks great; you made a great save with the midriff band. If you are in LA, you can come over and trace your current size.

Mrs. Micawber said...

That colour is perfect on you - and I really like the waistband. I think it actually improves the look.

Thanks for showing us how you made the hat - wool is such amazing stuff, isn't it? The netting is so nice and retro.

gwensews said...

Your blouse is totally cute. That hat is just awesome. I like the color and the style. You wear it well.

jann said...

Haven't read all the comments , but perhaps someone else has mentioned this: when there is not enough room in the upper bust and bust, the top will ride up. This changes from pattern to pattern and is dependent upon the designers intent. Measure across your upper chest about where your arm connects to your chest. Check to see if there is enough ease for you. it could also be that the armseye is too high. Both are easy fixes, but the best way is to purchase one of those basic fitting patterns and make adjustments that way. After two kids, the girls do get larger and fall a tad bit south. Hope this helps.

Cennetta said...

Excellent review. Your ingenuity saved your lovely blouse. I like the design change. The midriff band adds interest to the top. Thanks for the tip on the facing. Adding the lining is a perfect solution.

Your hat is darling and retro looking.

Ripple Dandelion said...

The hat is definitely the crowning jewel of this outfit, as of course it should be. The bow at the back makes it sing.

Wish you could wear your grandma's coat more often, because it is so wonderful.

Great blouse, too--love the color and the fit and the clean, clean finish with the lining.