Fitting a blouse - oh the antici......pation!

Friday, May 16, 2014

I shouldn't have strayed into the craft/haberdashery department when I went to John Lewis last week. The beautiful fabric drew my in though, particularly the special edition 150th anniversary fabrics. They only have a few for sale online and I didn't take pictures unfortunately, but they were so many bright colours and amazing retro prints. And of course I saw one that I 'just had to have', though at £18 per metre, I have to admit it was a little (a lot!) out of my budget :( After a momentary sulk, I decided on a compromise between the fabric and my purse and bought a small amount, enough to make a pretty jazzy collar. 

I came home with 0.3metres of fab pink/purple wiggly line 100% cotton. After the success of my first Simplicity 2154, I thought this would be perfect for a collar on the second attempt. Then came the DILEMA: what colour do I make the blouse?! I went to B&M Fabrics based in Leeds Kirkgate Market (if you live anywhere near Leeds GO!) and ended up buying two colours: a perfect pinky/purple match, and a majorly contrasting minty green.

After some nail biting decision making, I decided to go all out and make it in the contrast green. I had a vision of it looking all lovely and retro, maybe a bit fifties, but when I started cutting and stitching the pieces together, I had a moment of 'oh no'... I was going to look like I was putting my scrubs on to go into theatre. Hello Dr Frank-N-Furter, unexpected and accidental sewing inspiration - just let me grab my pearls and a pair of pink Marigolds...

I  made a serious effort to tack everything first this time, and the overall finish was much neater. The fit is probably a bit off though, hence the doctor's scrubs comparisons. I can't believe it's took me so long to realise that a little bit of pattern can subtly disguise all manner of sewing sins and fit issues! The fabric I used for the last version was a bit thinner so the blouse sits better, especially when tucked in, and the pattern of it diverts attention from any dodgy bits. But in when made in a block colour (minus the collar), I'm really noticing the excess fabric around the waist.

Trying to get the fit spot on was actually a really good challenge, and it means that both my Simplicity 2154 blouses will have a different look to them - it's not my uniform you know!

I did the alterations the way I thought best, which involved lots of trying the blouse on inside out and pinching and pinning at the darts. It was mainly the front two that I was concerned about - they needed taking in a bit under the bust in order for the fabric to skim over the bust/waist area better. I measured and tacked both first to make sure everything was even and I'd not completely distorted the shape of the blouse.

Once I'd done that I thought why stop there with the adjustments?! The improved fit on the body actually made the shoulders look a bit out of balance, so I unpicked the arm facing (the bit that you press towards the inside for a neat finish) and restitched it an extra centimetre in - much better. They also got a top stitch after the photo below, so it sits nicely in place. I attached the collar, and taaa-daaa, I no longer look like an I'm heading to the theatre (or the lab)!

I never thought I'd get into ironing, but the sewing thing really forces you to! It's quite satisfying to press all those darts into shape and get rid of all the creases from squashing it through the sewing machine. And I did a proper hem this time - no bias binding cheats - so a blast a steam was pretty much essential to turning it up.

And it's done! I think I finally got it to fit my retro vision. I left the bow out for now as I wanted it to look a little different from my last version, and I quite like it as it is, nice and simple.

There's even a subtle nod to Dr Frank-N-Furter at the back fastening with a couple of pearly buttons - I managed to get this bit to sit spot on this time hooray!

It's already had quite a bit of wear in the sun. Now what should I make next..?

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