Oh wow, what a few days it’s been. I have been beside myself with excitement appearing on the Colette Patterns blog as a featured seamstress yesterday with my pink elephant Violet. Thank you to everyone who left lovely comments & came to visit, and thank you to Colette Patterns for inviting me. I blush! Anyway best get on with some real life …..
Having spied Karen’s very wearable top, referred to her as a “French Seam Dream” (what would you call it, a “blouson” perhaps?) it came to me that it would make a perfect home sewn gift for friends that wouldn’t require fitting. It is meant to be loose afterall, as long as I know the approximate sizing I should get away with it. I am already imagining my friends’ delight as they open something from me that is not a bag or a scarf or jewellery (as has been the history of pressies over the last few years!). Now I am not versatile enough to always make them something different – I tend to veer towards variations on a theme, and this year’s birthdays they will all get a version of this “blouson” I have decreed.
What really sold it for me was the skirt that is also included in the pattern – it has hip height horizontal hidden pockets. Yeah baby! I shall be making one of these even if the top looks awful on my body shape. Styles that hide my waist tend not to work that well on me, but I still persist, misled into thinking that I can rock the whole “White Stuff” casual yummy look. I thought it was worth a punt, especially as it appeared to have intriguing construction – the front under bust area is almost patchwork, but using French seams (erk!). I decided to trial it for myself, extremely impatient for what I thought would be a quick & satisfying make (Looking back, I should have gone with a Renfrew). This trial of course was in the interest of science and contributed to “unselfish sewing” as the objective is presents for friends.
This top, shall we aka “blouson”, has no neck facings & as mentioned is constructed largely with French seams and faced with self bias binding.
My particular challenges with this style (how did you manage it Karen, you genius?) was getting the “points” of the four triangle-patchwork meeting together at the underbust centre front via French seams. Not perfect, but I learnt for next time. I am considering using my overlocker actually & not going French. Je m’excuse, mais “je suis allergique au travail” (as a Snoopy sweatshirt said that I bought on a French exchange aged 13). What else was I challenged by? It feels embarrassing to have to admit that I also mishandled/ mis-cut the sleeve facing/cuffs since they really did not seem to fit. I took an executive & very impatient decision to dispense with them, realising too late that it has been designed with turn back cuffs. Oh well, I will perfect it next time. I just wanted this blouson finished….& it had not been as easy as I thought it would be. Once the centre front patchwork was not accurate enough I almost wrote off any further aspirations of perfection, regarding this as a very “workable” & hopefully “wearable” muslin. Another aspect that I found not entirely satisfactory – yes- there is more- you wouldn’t think such a “blouson” would cause me so many issues- was the v neck. I found it gaped. Possibly I needed to make a smaller size for me.
Anyway, here it is. I feel if I made it for me again I would shape the side seam waist a tad. (But hang on, wasn’t the point of this make that I was practising for my friends?!) The other picture below shows me taking in some of the excess. I am not sure. On the Vogue patterns website it states that this style is suitable for multiple body shapes, mine included.
What do you think? Next time (for me) should I keep it a billowing & shapeless blouson or add a small amount of shaping? Because you see I like it. I like that I have something fun & colourful to wear with jeans. I do sometimes aspire to that whole “White Stuff” look. It is casual, it is comfy, it is bright, it is feminine. It is in the same category of my clothes that I like, but “shouldn’t really wear” if I want to emphasize my natural assets. Like the shorts I am wearing it with in these pics. But I LOVE them. I don’t think they are as unflattering on me as a black long line needlecord skirt that I once had. It was straight, western style pockets & seams with a deep frill around its hem. I thought it was great – warm in winter, looked good with boots & jumpers, handy colour, & the frill was sweet. Until I saw a photo of me wearing it. I looked like a dumpy tube the width of my not slimline hips. That was the end of that style faux pas.
Do you find that you have some clothes that break your personal “shape/ style” rules? At what point do you recognise that the erstwhile favourite skirt needs to be given to charity? How much leeway do you give yourself? Do you also ignore your better half when they say “those shorts aren’t very flattering on you”?
PS Any of you that use Picasa, what do you think of all the extra bejangles? I am thrilled as I think it almost covers my needs, including turning back the clock on that first photo to make it more at home with my childhood photographs. The only thing I need to explore is how to reduce the size of a picture (not cropping, but mega pixels). I am not sure if this is part of Picasa’s offering. I forgot to look this time!