Monday 4 May 2020

Gathered Traffic Blouse

It's Me Made May once again, so with lots of sewists around the world I'm aiming to wear me-made clothes every day this month. Hopefully it will also prompt me to post my unblogged makes here as I wear them. Like this blouse started late last year and finished last month.

The pattern is the Gather Blouse from Japanese pattern book She Has A Mannish Style (English-language version now called She Wears The Pants). The oversized shape gives it a more masculine line which is softened by the gathered back, curved hem and close-fitted round collar. The fabric is a Liberty tana lawn from The Fabric Store. The print is Hunter Truck C which The Fabric Store don't seem to have in tana lawn anymore but the corduroy is still on their website. I thought the more stereotypically masculine car print in feminine pinks made it a perfect match for the pattern.

The piece of fabric was not quite large enough to fit all the pieces on it. So I had a look through my stash to see what else I had that would work with the print and match the weight of tana lawn. I'm not sure when or where I bought this basic black cotton, but it was exactly the right fabric to complement the cars. I decided to cut the front yoke, placket, sleeve cuffs and collar stand out of the black fabric so that it would be enough contrast but not become the focus. I think using the black for contrast helps the blouse not be so overwhelming with its print and also highlights the design lines of the pattern.

I made most of this blouse last year, except for the collar, buttonholes and buttons. I really wanted to make this blouse look as polished as I could, and collars and buttonholes have tripped me up a bit before so I put them off initially. The collar includes a collar stand, not just a basic top and undercollar piece, and my copy of the pattern book is entirely in Japanese with just illustrations to guide me, so I was a bit daunted. I did it very slowly over a number of days, doing one step or part step at a time, then taking a step back to look at it and check it looked right. Sewing the front and back collar stand down evenly was difficult and I had to redo it because my first attempt was uneven and didn't catch both layers. The curved edge at the front doesn't look fantastic, but it's not really visible so I'm happy enough with it.

I then still needed to do the buttons and buttonholes. At first I delayed because I hadn't decided what buttons to use, then had to go and buy some black buttons to match the placket. But I'm really not a fan of doing buttonholes, and had just finished making a skirt (not blogged yet) with a button front that my machine had some real issues with, so I wasn't in the mood to do another set of buttonholes. In the end when I pulled this back out last month the buttonholes were very quick and easy. The placket is interfaced and the black fabric has a slight stiffness to it which meant it was stable and smooth through my machine, so the buttonholes were all done in about half an hour. It took at least twice as long to sew the buttons on!

I used a twin needle to do black topstitching along the around the pockets, on the front and back yokes and along the hem. Because the pattern is quite busy the topstitching is not particularly visible - with the possible exception of around the pockets - but it gives a much neater and more professional finish, especially in keeping the seams flat along the yoke.

It took a long time but I'm incredibly happy with how this blouse turned out. I think the fabric and pattern complement each other perfectly. The style is also good for the current social distancing work from home situation - it's not a formal workwear blouse, but it is dressed and a few steps above pyjamas. It's a relaxed style but with professional touches, and I'm sure it will get lots of wear for many years.

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