Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Finished project: Blenders blouse

I finally got photos of my first sewing project of 2011. It was a project I started last year. In fact, it was the last sewing project I touched last year. I am now not 100% sure why I tossed it to the side, but I know one reason was due to a beginner's error of not remembering that if you don't clip corners of an angle before trying to turn it, it's going to be lumpy and weird looking and you're going to think you did something wrong.

I hope I can gain confidence with every new project this year. This was a good start. The fact that I returned to it several months after shoving it in the closet was amazing in its own right. The fact that I then finished it—well, the world may have tilted on its axis just a wee bit.

It was an Advance pattern. I can't remember the number as I'm not home, but I just barely showed a picture of it in my post when I was explaining about pin basting the sleeves.

It's a button-down blouse with a one-piece collar. (And oh, how I loved working on that collar compared to my current project.) It's supposed to have a little self-fabric tie for a scarf around your neck, but really, I'm not in Girl Scouts. Not happening.

I'm pleased with the final result (though I was wrong when I said it buttons high enough to cover my tattoos at work, it really doesn't but a higher button next time would work). It fits a bit like a camp shirt since there weren't any darts or tucks on the body except bust darts, but it's the type of blouse I'd usually wear tucked in anyway.

You can't really tell from the photos, but the sleeve cuffs are turned back. That's about the only thing I'd change in the future. I like the turned back look but the amount of extra sleeve fabric the pattern called for was ridiculous. I'm not sure why I didn't chop off several inches, but I didn't, so the cuff is a little bit stiff from the extra fabric. Depending on how it washes, I may go back and re-do that part, but I'm leaving it for now.

And this is the perfect type of blouse for me. The type of thing I wear 90% of the time.

I've been thinking about the post and resulting comments on Susannah's Fashion on the Ration Part I post. In the new year, so many of us seem to be re-assessing our wardrobe. What do we actually like to wear? What do we like to knit or sew? What holes can we fill in, bought or made? I know I need to do more  self-reflecting in this department. Last year I spent most of my time knitting sweaters that I never, ever wear, with few exceptions. Styles that I was drawn to knit because they were fun, not because they would have any place in my wardrobe whatsoever. I will not be doing that this year. I'm trying to fill in gaps. I could use a few matched sets of mittens or gloves and hats. I could use a few more short-sleeved sweaters for Spring or Fall. I could use a few more basic handknit cardigans. Even if I knit less this year, I want each piece to have a proper place in my wardrobe.

Because I'm only just starting to sew for my wardrobe, I can't look at it the same way as I can my knitting. I'm not going to fill in gaps per se, but sew what I actually like to wear. I'm already pushing it by doing the Swing Dress Sew Along, but I do really want to tackle sewing dresses, even if I know I rarely wear them. Like Susannah, I want to focus on everyday appropriate sewing. Things I will reach for time and time again when I open the closet. I know in practice this will mean mostly blouses (until I feel confident enough to try pants, but I feel that's a long way off). So far in my experience, finding patterns for vintage blouses that don't look exactly the same can be a bit of a challenge, but it's a challenge I'll willingly accept.

I'm going to ruminate a little more about this topic. In the meantime, I know that I started off 2011 by finishing a 'wardrobe' blouse a week and a half ago.  I've worn it three times since then. I think I'd call that a success!


  1. Oh my Goodness, that blouse is fantastic!

    And your story of finishing a shoved-in-closet project gives me hope. My two latest projects are still hanging on my bedroom wall, so as to taunt me daily into finishing them. Maybe I should put them away for a few weeks instead like you did?

    Awesome job on the shirt. Once again, you inspire me!

  2. @Moe Aww thanks! It's a fine line to walk. Do I tough it out and work through my problem, or abandon temporarily (sometimes permanently in my case)? If they are really bugging you, maybe go back to #1 and have a go with that one again while you wait for inspiration for #2? Or at least give it enough time to sit in the naughty chair.

  3. I just recently discovered your blog and I LOVE it! I love your style and as a beginning knitter, I am jealous of your handknit wardrobe. If you're looking for an easy pants to start off with, try evadress.com's 1940's overall/trousers. Since they have a low crotch and a wide leg, they really only need to fit the waist. So far, they have fit everybody I've seen try them.

  4. Fabulous blouse, you look great in it, well done!!

  5. @Andrea Thanks so much for the compliment on my blog and knitting! I looked up the evadress.com pattern and it's exactly my style (both in trouser and overall form). I am still too gunshy to try, but that might very well be the trouser pattern I cut my teeth on. I appreciate the tip!

    @Straight Talking Mama! Thank you too!! :)

  6. Ooh, that is a nice, nice blouse and would definitely fit my criteria for everyday wear (with cardigan for weatherproofing, of course!). And the decor in your place... wow.

  7. @Susannah Yay, I'm glad it meets everyday wear criteria. Most definitely it will see a lot of wear with a cardigan. And thank you on our decor. ♥

  8. The blouse looks great! Love the blender fabric :)

  9. That blender fabric is wonderful!! So glad it didn't end up languishing in the UFO pile. It looks absolutely perfect too, I think you are a natural at this sewing stuff ;)

    Thank you so much for the pin basting tutorial for set in sleeves. I haven't had a sleeve yet that didn't pucker, so I can't wait to give this method a try.

  10. Awwww I see things are hopping over here! Yay! Loving the fabric you used for that blouse... I have a secret love affair with novelty prints!


  11. @Moxie Tonic I am totally not a natural, but thank you anyway. LOL I hope the pin basting works out for you, let me know!

    @Welcome to DeluxeVille Yay right back atcha Mary and a big thank you! ♥ And I do love the novelty prints too, man oh man. A leeeettle obsessed, I must say!

  12. Fantastic job on the blouse. Might be time to stop ignoring the the half constructed blouse I have draped over my dress form...You've done an awesome job with it. And your knitting has given me a few ideas. Because I enjoy the process of knitting so much, I too have knitted things I don't wear often - how dumb is that? Loving your blog.

  13. Just finished setting in the best looking sleeve of my life!!! I only have one done, and it took me most of the morning, lol, but I am officially a pin basting convert.
    I think I owe you dinner the next time I'm in Chicago :) I've been struggling with this for years, so nice to realize it wasn't me, it was the technique.

  14. Oh that is awesome! I'm so glad to hear it worked for you!!

  15. It looks amazing! Having made blouses like you have you'll be surprised how much easier a dress is. Even 3-D challenged me can make dresses :)

  16. Just working my way backwards through your blog! I love this! And your whole style ;)


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