Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bowtie blouse

My sewing mojo has still been a bit low lately despite the fact that I do have time in the evenings (and even a nice little room to sew in!), so I decided to try to kick start myself by sewing a simple, gratifying project. I often have a habit of making overly complicated things that take forever, and this bowtie blouse seemed simple enough.

Actually, this project turned out to be a bit of a headache due to some bad decisions on my part and some issues with the pattern. The fabric I was using was a remnant from Sew Green, an awesome store that sells vintage/recycled fabric at very little cost (I'm pretty sure this piece was part of seven bucks for all you can fit into a grocery bag haul from one of their sidewalk sales). The piece seemed pretty big so I just started hacking into it, but my lack of prior planning came back to bite me in the end. I was forced to make the blouse a little bit shorter just so I could squeeze it out, and now I have a bunch of oddly shaped scraps instead of useable leftovers. Not very green of me!

The other issues I had were with the pattern. The pattern is from an old-ish (2003 or so?) issue of Burda magazine. This being Burda I knew that the little keyhole neckline was likely going to be quite low, so I raised it by more than an inch when I was tracing out the pattern. Even with that modification, it's still low. I had intended this to be a work-appropriate shirt when paired with some navy slacks (like so), but it's really a bit too low cut for me to get away with that. The fit of the shirt was also quite blousy, so I had to add some front and back darts to keep it from just hanging straight down from my boobs. I think those modifications worked pretty well; it's still blousy enough to be comfortable but definitely has some shape.

One thing that turned out really well with this project was the seam finishings. I used a whole bunch of different techniques in here -- french seams on the side seams, flat felled seams on the armholes (it was a little tricky to do, but looks sweet!), and I took some extra time to fiddle around with a few different stitches for finishing off the facing. In the end, I went with a zigzag stitch around the edge of the facing, which I then trimmed, turned under, and straight stitched over top to hold it in place. The result, I think, is pretty neat looking. Normally facings are so floppy and ugly that I avoid them, but in this case I'm proud enough of the finished result to post a picture of my facing. Voila!

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