Sunday, February 6, 2011

Goodbye, Hello!

So, for the last week or two I’ve been in a bad sewing rut. See, I was working on this shell blouse in a vintage synthetic fabric, and at first I was excited about it. It’s a staple garment, and I thought I needed staple garments. I do need staple garments but not hideous, shapeless ones. Holy cannoli is that thing UGLY. I think under normal circumstances, I would have just pitched it in the bottom of my stash closet, in the “finish later (never)” pile and not worried about it much. That is what happened with my wrap blouse that was incorrectly graded. But the wrap blouse didn’t have five bound buttonholes. I really toiled on those suckers, and I am not ready to admit defeat just yet, despite the fact that the blouse truly is hideous. I also don’t want to spend any more time on a fugly sewing project. So, I took a break- I did yoga at night instead, and that was good. I also did some pattern work- tracing and cutting, listing and selling via eBay and Etsy. That was good too. But I love to sew. I missed it, and so I jumped back in with a quickie project that I hoped would be as easy as the shell was supposed to be.

Which view? Of course the one with the cute bow detail!
I did a truly lazy pattern alteration- mine was a size 12 (who has a 30 inch bust?) so when I placed it on the fabric for cutting, I spaced it ¼ inch from the fold to add ½ inch at center front. I did the same on the back, and I used a sewing curve tool to add 5/8 inch at either side for an overall addition of 3 inches to the waistline. It is fitted somewhat snugly, but  I am making all of my blouses and dresses to the smaller side, because I am still nursing baby A and still losing baby weight, and I want the clothes I sew to fit me when this chapter of mommyhood is over. 

 I sewed it up quick and dirty in a blue twill I found thrifting (I love this fabric- it is of a nice weight and drape- must find more!) I pinked seams, and my pinkers are old, and it looks like a possum gnawed the inside of the blouse. I used some vintage thrifted hem tape, as well as one of my 6 navy vintage metal zips (I had 6 hoarded away!). That was the part I was most pleased with- I again used the hand picked zipper method from Threads, and they are right, it really is worth the effort. The sides don’t gape open, and the stitches are barely visible. There are no puckers. I’m hooked and probably won’t be machine sewing too many zippers anymore. 

I did veer away from the pattern instructions in a few ways. For one, I thought it would be kind of weird to have a bias bound neckline but have facings at the armholes. So, I made bias tape using a nifty little method shared at Creative Little Daisy, and used it on the neck and armholes. I cheated and left the shoulder opening off of my blouse- the only opening is at the right bottom side seam. I cut the neck hole just a wee bit bigger, but this might not be necessary for anyone who doesn't have a huge head. Then, because my ric rac was too big, I decided to outline the neck and bow with embroidery floss. Here is how it all came together. 
Close up of the neckline and bow detail. 

Sorry about the photos, and the rest of my outfit.
But, as you may  know, I live on a farm and have a ten month old.
Still, sorry about the photos and the rest of my outfit.
What is up with this weird, warpy iPhone pic?
The pictures are crummy- but I took them with my iPhone, and we were headed off to Asheville for the day. Anyway, I really like this blouse. I think it is cute, and reasonably flattering, and I will probably sew several more variations in the upcoming months. I might work on grading it a little better though. The darts seem really high....and they are kinda way off to the side. But, I looked at the pattern illustration, and they are kinda placed that way there too.

Is this an intentional design with the darts, or am I just trying to justify my cheeseball  pattern work?

Anyway, I'M BACK Y'ALL! I'm feeling better and ready to get sewing my dresses for my sister's wedding and shower this year, and a whole bunch of other stuff just for the fun of it. I'm feeling good. I got my hair cut today (goodbye tired mommy-tail) and bought myself some new underwear. I also filled a trash bag with old, ill fitting clothes and brought it to the thrift for donation. It was so much easier to get dressed without all of that crap-o-la cluttering up my closet. Well, enough rambling for one night. I am exhausted and off to bed so I can get some mad work done tomorrow. It is so hard to fit all that I want to do in a day, month, year, and lifetime!  


  1. I think you worry about how you look too much. Most of us totally understand, and the top is very well as the rest of it!

  2. Hey AJA, welcome back lovely!
    When you added the width at the centre front, did you move the darts back to compensate? If not this may account for them being pushed out to the sides a bit?
    That said, this is a wardrobe staple that I've been wanting to add to my collection too and I think it looks great on you. I love your embroidery work!! I think it probably looks better than the rik rak would have done! What I call a happy accident.
    I'm going to try the hand picked zipper for my Swing Dress. I hate sewing zippers on the machine and find hand sewing really relaxing and rewarding. So I think me and the hand picked zipper may become firm friends!
    Well done on a lovely top!

  3. Thanks a lot guys!
    Sew Ducky, I appreciate the compliment- and I am joking too. I just know some of you sewing ladies are very put together, and I, as a general rule, am not! I am working on it though! :)
    Miss P, I didn't extend the darts in, but it was only a 1/2 inch at center front, and they seem to be out very far. When I regraded the pattern today, I had your suggestion in mind, and I lowered the darts and extended them in that 1/2 inch. I also left the shoulders as is and altered the waist out, so we'll see how the next one fits! And you will love the zipper method- they look better each time.
    Thank you both for reading my sleepy ramblings!
    Thanks for reading my


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