Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dreamy Cotton Voile Blouse - "Sew Perfect, Sew Sweet!"

Some things never go out of style.  They may disappear for a season or two, but you know what they say - if you keep something around long enough, it will come back in style. The classic button up blouse is one of those garments. The styling details may vary from year to year, but a blouse always has a place in your wardrobe.

What is great about a blouse is that there are so many fabric possibilities. Cottons, linens, silks and even synthetic fabrics can be used - it just depends on what you plan to wear with it. I wanted an easy blouse to go with skirts, slacks and jeans. But more than that, I wanted to use this dreamy little voile crepe print.  It is soft and somewhat sheer - the perfect blend for a Spring blouse. (Did I say Spring? Can you believe I'm already dreaming of that?!)

Come to think about it, Ruth our ace sales associate and owner/designer at Kiki Ramone, loved this fabric as well - she also made a blouse using République Du Chiffon's Margot Chemise pattern ...
The website and pattern are in French. Oh, la la!
I chose a classic pattern from NewLook - #6407 - it features three-quarter length sleeves and a fitted bodice. The hemline is curved upwards at the sides similar to a man's shirt.

Everyone has an optimal length in tops, one that flatters their figure. I like my tops to be at least 15" from the armhole, so I asked Laurel, my dressmaking muse and fellow blogger over at Laurel's Quill, to cut it a little longer.

Blouse patterns, especially those with collars, cuffs and front facings have a lot of pieces. It is tempting to lay the pieces out haphazardly on the fabric to conserve yardage. However, paying close attention to the direction of woven fabrics is important. As this photo from Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kiisel shows, fabric hangs differently in a garment, depending on how it is laid out on the fabric grain.

So when a small piece, such as my blouse collar, asks for using the lengthwise of the fabric, there must be a good reason for it. I'm thinking that too many times collars don't always lay down properly and this careful grain placement might have something to do with it.

There's always something new to learn with each garment. Keep in mind that the pattern instructions may tell you to do one thing and after you do it, you're not sure it's quite right.  For instance, this blouse pattern required a tailored finish, i.e. topstitching around the collar and cuffs and up the center front.  But as we started working with this fine voile print, the top stitching was too "harsh" for my delicate fabric.

Topstitching...NOT!!! We ripped this topstitching out because it was not right for the delicate fabric.
Laurel always brings garments back for a fitting before the final sewing stages. It's important to try things on as you go, as ripping out is not fun (epecially if you've already serged the seams!) I also love that she isn't afraid to show me her mistakes - after sewing the cuff on the sleeve, she realized that she applied it incorrectly...and that's why we fit garments first.

"Never too proud to rip!!!"

During the fitting, we spent some time at the button wall, looking for just the right buttons for my blouse - I love how everyone jumps in with their choices whenever anyone even gets near the famous button wall at Stonemountain & Daughter! I wanted the buttons to add to the delicateness of the blouse, but not overwhelm it. We all settled on a pale irridescent pinkish-lavender button which pulled out the subtle color in the print.

"Sew Perfect, Sew Sweet!" It's a great addition to my Spring wardrobe.

I hope you have a chance to stop by and see many of the garments I have been blogging about. Visiting Stonemountain & Daughter in Berkeley is a gift to yourself. There is nothing like walking the aisles and feeling the fabric...sitting at the pattern table and seeing what inspires you…or taking a sewing class with us...

Creatively yours,

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for showing the shirt with a small floral print. I love prints like that, but thought the garments would end up looking too old fashioned. Not so with your shirt ! You've inspired me to go ahead and try a floral print blouse for the spring !