Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chambray Laurel Blouse

I don't know if I ever use the word "blouse" in real life... something about it feels weird to say, but I typed it just now without even thinking about it (well, until after I'd read it there on the screen).

But on to the blouse! I bought this chambray two years ago I think? I made this dress from it, wore it once or twice because I was on vacation and had nothing else to wear, and put it away - it was WAY too big, and even though I'd made a muslin, I apparently didn't know what I was looking for in that muslin and felt like I was wearing a maid's uniform or something. I had plans to just take it in, but those changed. It's currently sitting on a shelf in my office half-sewn and altered like nobody's business.

All that to say, I had a big chunk of fabric left over that I really liked and wanted to make something with but wasn't sure what. When the Laurel pattern came out, I decided I really wanted to enter the contest and came up with all sorts of ideas. I decided to actually use fabric that I already owned though (stashbusting!) and made the blouse version in the longest length I could with the fabric I had.

Since the chambray has very little drape but a lot of body, it works decently as a shift. I think I'd choose something with more drape next time because my hips are a size up from my waist and that extra width kind of stands away from my body more than I'd like. This fabric also frays like crazy, so I went ahead and put bias binding on all the seams except the armscye seams, but I think I need to do some extra finishing on those, too. The bias binding came from a vintage pillowcase I thrifted a while back; I love the little bit of pretty floral that I get to see on the inside of the shirt. This is probably the best-detailed garment I've made.

Since it's such a simple shape and straightforward to sew, I didn't rush myself through like I tend to do on certain parts. I set in the sleeves by hand, because I was having trouble getting the chambray to ease in correctly by machine. I had altered the shoulder seams after cutting everything out so they didn't fit together the way they should have anyways.

I also added this detachable Peter Pan collar that I made from a vintage handkerchief. It was in good shape except on the edges, where there was some significant fraying. I made a template and cut the collar from the handkerchief and silk organza, then sewed them together with a little French seam. I've worn it once, and it flips up while I'm walking because I just pinned it into the shoulder seams. It's not really my style anyways, I wasn't sure if Peter Pan collars were "me" and I've decided they're not.

Fabric: Indigo chambray (cotton/poly blend) from the Lisette Spring 2011 fabric collection

Pattern Changes: Made it a little longer (as long as my fabric allowed, which was only a couple of inches). Took in the center back, more so at the top tapering off around the middle. Let out the shoulder seam at an angle - 5/8" at neckline to only about 1/4" at armscye. Rough SBA by cutting out top half smaller size than usual and grading out at waist and hips.

New &/or Improved Techniques: Bias binding inside seams. I didn't do a double-fold, the sheeting is so tightly woven that the bias isn't going to fray any time soon. I just folded it over the seams and stitched a zig-zag down either the center or overlapping the tape's edge. Drafted a Peter Pan collar.

What I Like: The overall look and comfort of this top. It doesn't feel huge, but it's roomy enough that I could eat a big dinner in it!

What I'd Change: Not much. I'd love to make it again in a different fabric, play around with the pattern, etc. I'll make sure to cut out the correctly fitted pattern pieces next time, I didn't make a muslin for this so I altered as I went. The neckline is a little higher than I'd like.

It pulls a little around the armscyes
The back (and my photobomber)
You can see how the back fit isn't great below the waist
Played around with belting it, but the chambray gets deep wrinkles instead of gathering nicely at the belt-line
Side note: I missed the deadline by about 30 minutes for the contest - boo to my bad time management! But I stashbusted AND got a cute top, so that's good enough. And there were a ton of gorgeous entries in there!