This blouse is absolutely everything I hoped it would be.
I don’t say that often about the things I make.
And it’s funny: it was based on half an idea; with a fabric that is lovely but only half what I had in mind; and from a pattern that was only really half what I wanted it to be. But I suppose there are a lot of halves there so that it makes some kind of extended whole …!? (Fractions were never my strong point.)
It’s very easy to wear, goes with everything and makes a statement without being annoying.
As is always the case, I saw and gawked at an impeccably dressed woman and wanted her entire outfit immediately. She was in my local frozen yoghurt place sometime last autumn. She was wearing a black floral peasant blouse in a georgette or similar, with super high waisted, straight leg, stone wash jeans and some fabulous clogs and she just looked so achingly and effortlessly cool.
I can’t really pull off the dark top / pale jeans thing, I can’t get my head round it; I don’t like wearing georgette etc, the texture makes me shiver; and I have clogs but unless they’re open toed I can’t wear them. Clogs aren’t designed for wide size US 11 flippers for feet and there is no way they are bending to my will. Or bending at all in fact.
So the look was a starting point and this is where I ended up and I love that kind of project evolution. The vision ending up somewhere that is more you than you realised you were aiming for.
I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’m not a huge Liberty fan. I find the prints too whimsical and girly for me. I know there is quality and heritage and … yawn … involved, but for me the fabric is very overpriced (and I know this is a Liberty thing and not a fabric store (or The Fabric Store) thing). Happy to be disproved on this!
That all said, this is exactly the kind of fabric I was looking for and I kind of stumbled upon it on their site when looking under one of the edits sections. It has an unusual print for Liberty and the black background toughens it up a bit.
Grudgingly, I admit it is a really gorgeous fabric to work with. It presses so beautifully and all the corners of the cuffs and plackets turn out so neatly.
Maybe I need to rethink my criticisms.
There is a little structure to the fabric which means it isn’t as peasanty as the inspiration piece, but that is all right by me. I like the way the modicum of crispness makes the sleeves sit. They stay nice and puffy.
It’s a really nice pattern - not that you’d ever know from the pattern cover. The imagery is dire, blinded as one is by dubious fabric choices and styling and the inane pose of the model.
And I’d happily reserve a particular place somewhere dark and fiery for the cover drawings that are so often used instead of photos. They do so little to demonstrate how the different views can look and often put me off buying a pattern.
As such I always go straight to the line art to understand exactly how the pattern will look, they are so much more instructive than the pictures. I also find these useful for determining how I can adapt the pattern to achieve what I want.
Cover art aside, it was very easy to make.
Well, I’ll caveat that by adding if you are good at / love gathering it’s a doddle.
Gathering is my very least favourite sewing activity, closely followed by applying interfacing.
I can NEVER get an even spread of gathers. I had to redo both the collar and one of the sleeves a couple of times to return bunched up gathers to a more even distribution. The collar was particularly annoying as I had already slipstitched the inside when I realised there was an unsightly gather convention occurring just above my boob.
I can’t remember what size I made, but I know I sized down as there is obviously a lot of ease in this. I did make a small broad shoulder adjustment so that the drop sleeve would actually be a drop sleeve and not just sit on my shoulder. And I kept the full length of the longer sleeve - rather than using the shorter one that is designed to go with the cuff - so that it would be really blousy as well as account for my monkey arms.
I’d like to make another of these in a gauzy linen for the summer, perhaps even turn it into a dress. Although that may just be a little too boho for me. We shall see.
So if you’re a fan of gathers and puff - and even if you’re not - give it a try. It may turn out to be your favourite blouse too.
See you soon x