[Disclaimer: I wrote this post before the things went totally pear-shaped in the UK post-Brexit and wasn't going to post it as it seems a little trite, but this is a sewing blog and I have had my fill of the vitriol expounded on mainstream and social media so I'm thinking of this as escaping to a calmer, friendlier place.]
Pinterest; presenting street style as if she really does totter around the cobbles of SoHo or indeed Soho in 6 inch spike heels totally unaware of the camera, since 2010.
I have a love / hate relationship with Pinterest. It is so useful when it comes to bookmarking something I find online and want to make a note of for later, and it can be genuinely inspiring, but I loathe the 'street style' phenomena that Pinterest is a huge accomplice to - mainly because street style it ain't. And by 'it' I mean infinitely perfectly coiffed and mani-pedied walking Chanel and Dior and Balenciaga ads. I may just have a touch of the green eyes, but you walk down any street anywhere, that is not what most people, in fact any people, are wearing.
IT IS NOT REAL.
And I hate things that pretend to be real and aren't and instill on your average Josephine a sense of disappointment and or anger that is based on falseness/ lies/ half-truths and generally misleading twaddle (I give you also, the Brexit campaign.)
Next on my list of things that bug me about Pinterest; the 'picked for you' feature. I happened to come across and pin a wedding dress recently, I've been married ten years, I don't really look at wedding dresses anymore, but I thought it was the most beautiful dress and now my feed is chock full of wedding dresses. This I DO NOT NEED.
On the other hand. I pin endless sewing patterns and fabrics and sewing tips, ideas for my kids' bedroom and activities to do with them (that I never look at again) and tutorials for how to DIY crafts I'm never going to have the time to do.
And then I love looking at the shapes and colours and silhouettes the lying street-stylers are uncomfortably sporting and thinking how I could translate it into an everyday wearable little affair. Which is how this get-up came about.
It was inspired by this.
My first thought when I saw the skirt was oooo Pauline Alice Rosarí skirt, my second thought was - I'm going to buy that blouse. Then I realised it was See by Chloe so my third thought was, ooo what pattern could I use to make that blouse.
The Chloe version is jersey with woven sleeves. For my version I used a white cotton piqué for the whole thing, which is light and airy and has a nice amount of structure to show off the sleeves - but does also make my shoulders even wider than they usually are. I made a lot of alterations to the blouse, all but one fit related. I'm starting to get jaded by the amount of fit changes I have to make to even simple patterns.
It kind of feels like a fitting addiction. Once you start having clothes that fit well, you keep tweaking and adding and tweaking and adding until you wonder whether they are all really necessary and perhaps you've gone too far, and then you try the thing on and it feels so good because you've gone so far, that it makes the whole thing worth the pain. But then you know you can't go back to just sewing up the nearest size and hoping for the best.
I made a size small - going by my bust measurement. I fiddled around a lot with the shoulders - because my shoulders are not a size small. The pattern pieces are curved at the shoulder to get the drop shoulder effect. Because my shoulders are so broad this didn't happen. The dropped seam actually hit right on the 'corner' of my shoulder. In hindsight I should have extended the shoulder so it still had the drop shoulder appearance - this would help hugely with the prop forward/ linebacker shoulder situation as the flutter would start lower down my arm, but I didn't, I just straightened the shoulder seam. I then made a half inch forward shoulder adjustment, added half an inch to the chest to drop the armhole and lower the french dart, and then had to move the dart down a further inch and a quarter. Finally I added three and a half inches to the bodice length.
See what I mean - there is no such thing as a quick sew over here.
But then the actual construction took no time at all and I'm pleased as punch with the finish. The fabric is too bulky for french seams so the seam allowances are serged, but my bias neck facing is pretty near perfect - which is a first for me and the points on the back hem are even and er, pointy.
My final adjustment was to alter the sleeve design and construction. You'll notice on the inspiration, the flutter sleeve has a really sweet overlap detail, that I wanted to emulate. I have no idea what I googled to find some guidance on how to do this, but I did find something that gave me the bones of how to create an overlapped sleeve - in the tutorial's case it is called a tulip sleeve - and then I just adapted it from there.
What I love about this pinned picture is that I would never have sewn the Flutter Blouse without this for inspiration, I wouldn't normally wear a flutter sleeve, but this has structure rather than being floaty and whilst I can't get away from my rower's shoulders I still love the shape and style. Score one for Pinterest.
The skirt was a no-brainer. As soon as it was released I knew the Rosarí skirt would be perfect to make up this style of A-line denim skirt that is/ was all over street style blogs and actually is all over the streets too. It probably would have been a bunch cheaper to head to Forever 21 and buy one, but firstly I can't bring myself to enter that store - the name alone gives me hives - and secondly I knew that any bought version would barely cover my bottom, so I would make one long enough. Despite adding an inch to the skirt length, it is still a little on the short side. it's also too tight around the waist and I reduced the number of buttons to more accurately emulate my inspiration - which I prefer the look of and with jeans buttons was necessary - but it pulls terribly just below the waistband. Thank goodness for stretch denim.
Despite looking like a simple sew, this is quite involved with the button placket and flat-felled seams and so on. I haven't sewn with a Pauline Alice pattern before, wow is it well drafted and the instructions soooo good.
Not to ignore my thoughts from my pervious post, I finished making both of these back in April but haven't been able to blog about them until now. I haven't sewn much at all in the last few weeks, I want to but for all the reasons I mentioned before it hasn't been top of my priority list. That said I need to get some balance back as all mothering and no sewing makes Charlie a very antsy lady. And I'm still not getting enough sleep.
I wonder whether those oft-pinned street style mavens have these kind of dilemmas?
- Blouse - Flutter Blouse by Papercut Patterns with cotton pique from Mood Fabrics
- Skirt - Rosari by Pauline Alice view C with B pockets in denim from Workroom Social
- Shoes - gorgeous things from Free People
- Hat - $10 from the Man opposite Key Foods
Sending love and compassion to my countryfolk.
See you soon xx