Upcoming and Planned Projects

Friday, 21 October 2016

Leopard Bow Blouse

And another blouse.

The pattern is from the Japanese pattern book Les Couleurs Francaises. I'd post a link, but can't find anything other than a handful of blog posts. Which is unfortunate, because it's quite a nice pattern book. It's mother-daughter patterns, with lots of matching or similar styles. They're all fairly safely classic and feminine, so they're unlikely to become too obviously dated. It's worth picking up if you ever see it.

Now about the fabric. I do like my kitsch animal fabrics. I'm not particularly excited by standard animal print fabrics, but fabrics with animals on them? Those are great, and I've made clothes from quite a few animal fabrics. So how could I not buy this leopard fabric?

The fabric is a poly with a nice drape. I bought it on a trip to Cabramatta with the Sydney Spoolettes. I think it cost $5 for a metre, which is actually mid-price range for Cabra. The number of fabric stores there make it well worth a visit. The quality of fabrics is variable, but given you can get things as cheap as $2 a metre that isn't surprising. And most of the fabric is pretty good quality.

 As I said the pattern is from the Japanese sewing book Les Couleurs Francaises. It's pattern W, a tunic style pussy bow blouse with elbow length sleeves and front and back yokes. It's one of the patterns that made me buy the book about five years ago, but this is the first time I've made it. In the book they've made it with a broderie-edged cotton, and I'd always thought I'd do something similar. But a fabric printed with a member of the feline family is obviously the perfect choice for a pussy bow blouse.

Being poly the fabric is easy to care for and doesn't seem to crease. However it can fray, so as usual I did French seams to give it a cleaner finish. I also stitched down the yoke seams, both to keep it neat and flat and to highlight the yoke. I didn't have much of the off-white thread I used as topstitching left so all the inside stitching was done in white At first I worried that the topstitching thread might still be a bit too white, but in the end it doesn't stand out much, just enough to accentuate the seam but not so much that you look at the line.

 The pattern was a very straightforward make. Although it has both yokes and ties, it doesn't have anything that's difficult to do. It's loose fitting, so there's no buttons or zippers to worry about. Setting sleeves always requires patience, and a bit of attention is required to get both the keyhole neckline neat - both having the yoke pieces just overlap and stitching the tie to the neckline - but it isn't hard to do. It's probably a good pattern for someone who knows all the basics and either wants to try out Japanese patterns for the first time or just wants to slightly challenge their skills.

 In the pattern book this top is worn untucked, but in most of the photos I've worn it tucked. I think it works better for this fabric, and as a blouse to wear at work I think tucked in is neater too. Although it possibly could stand to be an inch longer, or I could wear it with higher waisted trousers or skirt. But overall, I'm really happy with this blouse and think it will get lots of wear.

Friday, 14 October 2016

70s/80s blouses for the 21st Century

A couple of new blouses today, although one of them was actually made six months ago. But being a short-sleeved blouse it hasn't been warm enough to photograph. Both patterns qualify as vintage, although I'm slightly loath to call the sleeveless one 'vintage' given it's from the 1980s and actually a year younger than me.

First up is my newest finished make, a loose-fitting sleeveless blouse.  The pattern is Butterick 6583, a loose fitting girls' blouse pattern from 1984. Apparently children's size blouses work pretty well for me. It has options of dropped sleeves or sleeveless, I decided to go for the latter. It also has no darts, but instead has dropped shoulder seams with the bodice slightly gathered at the seam.

When I posted it on Instagram when I'd just finished it I wasn't 100% on it because it was looser than I expected.But that was a week ago, just before we were due to have our first hot day of the season on Monday (34°C). One comment on my Instagram pic suggested I'd be very happy with it in the heat on Monday, and Mel, you were right.

The fabric is surprisingly cool to wear. It's a fabric I got earlier in the year when the Sydney Spoolettes held a fabric swap, so I'm not sure of its origins. But it's a polyester yet has a nice drape, good softness, and more breathability than many polyesters do. So I was pleasantly surprised by that. The only thing that I needed to do at all different was to do French seams because the fabric gets that matted fraying that polyester tends to do very easily. But I do a lot of French seams anyway, so that wasn't a problem.

This second blouse is one a made way back on the Easter long weekend. The pattern is the same as my Perfect Blouse Pattern, but made with a basic short sleeve. It's made in a cotton from The Fabric Store, and is offwhite with a peach/mauve floral paisley print. The print is quite pale, but can been seen in the close up in the last picture.

I think part of the reason I hadn't posted this blouse before is because it's not exactly exciting. It's a nice pattern, and the back darts give a good shaping, but it is still just a straighforward work appropriate blouse. And honestly it's a little hard to think of anything else to say about it given I've already reviewed the pattern when I used it previously.

Anyway, so those are my two blouses to wear as the weather warms.  And hopefully I can get this blog back on to a more regular schedule too!