Monday, 22 February 2016

Wearing History Smooth Sailing Blouse Wearable Muslin

For a while now I have been on the lookout for a good button down vintage blouse pattern. The success of my Third Time Lucky Blouse is going to mean M6696 is going to be made a lot more as a blouse, but I had also had my eye on Wearing History's Smooth Sailing Blouse for a while. There are so many great versions online, and I loved the notched collar, and the shape: great for tucking in at the button and blousing on top. Some of my favourite versions: Emileigh's V-J blouse and Welmoed's beautiful white version.

I bought the PDF back in November during the Black Friday sales and it sat on my computer for months, until I printed it off at my Mum's place last week. Before cutting into all the good blouse fabric I have stashed, I decided a test run was in order. I used this lovely floral queen sized doona cover I picked up at an opshop a few years ago. It's an IKEA one, 100% cotton, and it's lovely thin and breathable fabric. I also had a lot of it, so any mistakes didn't mean loss of precious fabric.

I cut a size 36 bust with no alterations and the fit is rather spot on (for reference, I am a 34 bust, but my waist/hip measurements are larger proportionally. I didn't have to grade out the hip area on this, but only just.) The whole pattern went together really well. The collar was nice and easy. I used this tutorial which was really straight forward. My attempt isn't 100% neat, but it's on the under collar, and I was treating this as a wearable muslin. None of the seams on this are internally finished either. The buttons are just small clear ones from the stash.

The sleeves are the only things I changed. I originally used the sleeve from the pattern, with cuff. Had it all finished, popped it on, and it looked bad. The shoulder gathers, the large collar, and the puffed sleeves were not doing my shoulders any favours, and my husband thought it all looked really off in the shoulder area. I took out the sleeves, and replaced them with the cap sleeve from M6696. And issue all fixed. These are now my go to sleeve pattern. I just sewed the in using a 1/2inch seam allowance per blouse pattern.

I am so happy with this, it is incredibly comfortable, and very wearable. I was going to get photographs of me wearing it, but it would take a while to get that organized (no good photo backdrops at home) and I wanted to share this sooner rather than later).

And this counts as vintage pledge item 2! I wonder how many I will end up making?

Thursday, 18 February 2016

First Vintage Pledge: Simplicity 1587

 I have finished my first vintage pledge make for the year: reproduction pattern Simplicty 1587. I was inspired by Esther's beautiful versions, and when I decided to spend my birthday/Christmas money on patterns I knew this one was making the list.

The construction is quite straight forward, and I quite like how the dress is still a "fit and flare" but with a bit of a different silhouette. I had to grade out the waist and hip area, and that managed to get the fit pretty spot on. The only real change I made to the pattern was to leave off the elastic sleeve ruching.



I bought this stunning floral cotton in Marrickville about six months ago. It is wonderful to have three super cheap Asian fabric shops within walking distance. Makes zipper and thread buying easy, and then also enables fabric buying!  I had found this fabric one day when out with Mum, and a couple of days later I couldn't get it out of my mind, so back to the shop I went. I love the colours, and feel I am moving towards dark based florals (though one of my current projects is big pink roses).


This was a fun venture into 1940's fashion, and I like all the gathered and pleated details; there are no darts in this design. I especially love the neckline. There are blouse plans afoot for this pattern. I will also most likely make it again as a dress, but think I may change out the skirt. I like the gathered point detail, but it also doesn't sit quite flat. Mum quite liked it though, and she is very honest with my about these things. Big thank you to Mum also for the photos. Isn't her garden gorgeous? It's like walking into a lush, green, secret garden.

Decided I am going to start summarising patterns at the end of posts again:

Pattern: Simplicity 1587; 1940's reproduction
Size: Bodice: 12 graded to 14 in the hips; skirt 14
Fabric: Floral cotton from Marrickville; $6/m
Notions: Hand picked side zipper, mother of pearl button on back (may get swapped out)
Wear with: This would look great with pearls (need to find new ones) but it's also a perfect plefor my locket. Could potentially transition this dress to autumn/winter with the correct coloured coat
Make again: Certainly!

Next vintage pledge items are underway. I think most of this years sewing will be vintage patterns.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Third Time Lucky Blouse

 This blouse has been  very long time in the Last year, I found a Liberty 1960's shirtdress in the opshop. Of course I bought it, knowing I could turn it into something wearable.

Attempt one: I detached the bodice and skirt, added some darts to the bodice, as it was a few sizes too big, then I sewed it all back together. I wore it like this for a while, until one day y husband admitted it looked a bit frumpy. I'd been thinking the same, the whole thing didn't fit well, so back to the sewing pile.

 Attempt two: M6696, straight skirt version. The whole thing was a jigsaw of pattern pieces, but I got it made up until the point where you handsew down the button plackets. But I had forgotten to account for hips. My hips are quite large, and I had stupidly cut a 12 all over, where I should have graded the skirt out. There was no way that skirt was fitting down there. So I had to unpick all that work. Luckily I caught it before the handsewing had happened.

Third time lucky: using the skirt fabric, I cut an extension, and attached it to the bottom of the blouse section. Finally, wearable.

M6696 makes a great blouse pattern, and I'm hoping to make it again. I went with a mandarin collar partially because of fabric shortage, and partially for something different. I realise now mandarin collars really only work when the placket is curved to open the shirt at the neck. But I found a little gold brooch and wore the shirt completely buttoned up. It was comfortable, and looked good.

The buttons are from the original shirt dress. I am so happy this is finally finished and wearable. Whilst I would have loved it as a shirt dress, it's going to be a great blouse.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Results of #ufosewjanuary

SO, now January is over, it's time to reflect on how I went in reducing the UFO pile. I am calling it a success, even though I didn't get through as much as I had wanted. I got through most of the refashioning/mending pile. The pieces that are left are mostly half done projects, which I have motivation to finish anyway. the month was a good time to force myself to do some small sewing jobs that usually get lost in the excitement of new fabric. I was also a bit slow as I did a number of paid sewing jobs over the month. Nothing too exciting; work pants hemming, sewing in labels for small businesses etc. The best thing is now I have more room in my small sewing space, and my mind is running fast with new projects.

So here are my finished projects:

This BHL Anna blouse fits so well, but with a side zip is hard to get on. I did a quick fix so the side zip is now open at the bottom. It's still tight to get on, but I shouldn't now be busting stitches and pulling muscles whilst getting dressed
 My brown velvet skirt. Fixed the hem, and stitched down the top facing to stop the lining flipping out.
 I hand stitched down the facing to stop it flipping out. this is such a good hot weather dress
 No "after" picture, but all I did was take off about six inches from the length to make it easier to wear.
 Halter dress to skirt for my sister.
 Replacing a busted zipper. Once I get proper photos I will do a blog post on this.
 Finally finished my bridesmaid fabric shirt dress. I am getting so much wear out of this
The 'third time lucky' blouse. This gorgeous piece deserves its own blog post

I decided it was time for a few pieces to go, and also did some button salvaging. One or two pieces also went into "use fabric for other purposes" box.

So there you go! I'm hoping to finish off my other projects this month, as I also start new pieces. I was reunited last week with my cutting table, which I had missed so much this past year. It slots into the corner of our apartment, an I can roll it out when I am sewing. everything is now stored much neater, and I have cutting space. I am in the middle of sewing up a Mimi blouse in Liberty carline, so hope to share that soon.