Summer Blouse from “Weekend Sewing”

“Blouse” sounds so grownup, doesn’t it?  But I guess I am a grownup now.  I do a lot of things my mom did, like sewing almost everyday and singing commands to my child.  (Rise and Shine and Let’s Clean Up!)

Like mother, like daughter. I guess it’s time for me to wear a blouse!

summer blouse 1

This project flowed along so smoothly.  I worked a little at a time, stopping at a good point where I could pick right back up easily during the next nap time.  And no seam ripping.  Until I tried it on before hemming it.

I know I have said I should try things on as I sew them so that I can adjust along the way.  I did and it looked okay!  But it turned out to be too short, too wide, and I had messed up the bias tape neckline because the instructions were hard to wrap my mind around.

To combat the too short problem, I used a hem facing, which kept the length.  It didn’t add any either, but so far so good.  I followed this delightful tutorial at the Oliver + S blog.  I can’t wait to try it on the Oliver + S Tea Party Dress pattern I bought for Claire.  It makes a very nice hem, although I had to handstitch the hem.

One word about handstitching:  You think it is going to take forever and a day.  You look longingly at your sewing machine, knowing how fast it works.  But then you get into a rhythm and you start taking pride in your tiny stitches and then you challenge yourself to space them evenly and make each stitch the same size and you catch yourself smiling.  I know when I look down at my hem, I will love that part of my shirt the best.

That is, if I can fix the other problems!

summer blouse 2

I added darts to the back and took in the sides.  Meanwhile, I haven’t ripped any stitches out of the hem.  It’s too lovely of a hem!  So, now the bottom starts to flare out.  The front is billowy.  Not in a romantic/Wuthering Heights sort of way.   It is billowy in a hospital gown sort of way.  What to do?

How about buttons?  Buttons are a great afterthought.  But I don’t know about this time.  I might have to cut into the hem facing.

Ok, I’m back.  I cut into it, but just a little seam ripping and I took in the sides just a 1/2 inch.  The darts in the back were a half inch each and I decided to do some more darts 1/2″ in the front also.

summer blouse 3

And to top it all off–I broke another one of my new rules.  I noticed that one piece of the pattern was lighter in color than the piece sewn to it.  I literally thought, “It will all come out in the wash”.  Wrong.  As in wrong side of the fabric.  Once again, my philosophy of “it will all work out” doesn’t not compute in sewing.  Actually, it works in knitting.  You can fix sizing a bit when you get the piece wet and block it.  I am beginning to wonder if I will ever become a good seamstress.  Maybe not for grownup clothes like blouses.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by emilie on May 28, 2009 at 1:04 am

    Blouse…a pretty word that is so outdated- who wears blouses? My Grandma- and she looks smashing, but it always seems more like a “top” which is not as poetic. Just don’t make any slacks! That is a term that needs to go. Now, trousers, that is a word that has some zing to it!
    Looks like you are becoming a MacGyver type seamstress. Oh- and the term bias tape- love that one!


    • Posted by amberjsquirrel on May 29, 2009 at 11:36 pm

      Yes, your Grandma looks smashing in just about anything! I like “trousers” a lot too. And “trouser socks.” It makes me think of those outlandish Victorian women who dressed up in manly clothes on a regular basis. And they were invited to all the best dinner parties.
      Thanks for the compliment–MacGyver is my hero! I just need to incorporate some duct tape into all these projects.


      • Posted by emilie on May 30, 2009 at 1:09 am

        You need to pick up some of the Amelia Peabody Emerson mysteries- it is about a victorian Egyptologist family- her descriptions of her clothes are hilarious. They are EXCELLENT books on tape. The author is Elizabeth Peterson.
        You’ve always had a MacGyver-esque quality to you.

  2. […] Dress from Oliver + S, crafted from my favorite, but worn-out skirt, leftover cotton lawn from the Summer Blouse, and ribbon given to me by my neighbor. Doesn’t she look like a garden […]


  3. Posted by amberjsquirrel on June 2, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Thank you for the great compliment. Now, I just need to combine “Quantum Leap” abilities with MacGyver and there won’t be anything I can’t do!


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