Project: 1960s Retro Blouse

Sew Tunes (aka Pandora Station): She & Him. I hit my monthly Pandora listening limit, so I caught up on This American Life podcasts.

Pattern: Simplicity

Fabric Used: 100% Cotton

New to Me: Darts and zippers. Not entirely new, but it has been a long while. 

Trips to Store: 2. Second time to buy more fabric. The horizontal lines on the two back sections did not line up once stitched together. Needed an additional yard of fabric for the fix. The joy of a nap!

Loved one: Amber, my girlfriend and college roommie who lives in NYC and who I don’t get to see nearly enough.

Day by Day…

Friday, July 22:

I got a bit of a late start on this project. I washed, dried, and ironed the fabric and cut out the pattern pieces last Sunday, but haven’t been able to devote a good chunk of time until now.

Something interesting: This pattern had multi-sizes. In other words, if your bust and waist measurements don’t match the proportions the pattern maker (men!) thought it to be (for example, a size 12 is a 34″ bust and a 26.5″ waist), there are adjustment guides on the pattern pieces. This is something I will need to “grow into.”

Also, this pattern has both 5/8″ and 3/8″ seam allowances. Each pattern piece indicated the allowance to use.

Saturday, July 23:

I ironed the tissue-like pattern pieces with a dry iron on the cotton setting.

I placed the pieces on the fabric (selvages together), then cut.

The very first step was to stitch the two front sections together at the center seam. Check.

Then dart time. Helpful tip (thank you, Simplicity!):

“To prevent a “bubble” at the point of the dart, make the last few stitches right on the fold and leave the thread ends long enough to tie a knot. Do not back stitch at the point.

It was time to stitch the two back sections together at the center seam. When I matched up the two sections, the lines weren’t lining up.

The cutting diagram showed the pattern piece for the back section on the fold, so I initially cut on the fold, then cut the two pieces down the fold. This could have been why the lines were not lining up. This is when I had to pause, run to the fabric store, and pick up additional fabric. I re-cut the pieces away from the fold. Smooth sailing from here.

Sewed the front section and back section together at the shoulders and down the right side. I left the left side unstitched for the zipper.  Zippers are generally placed on the left side of the garment.

I then applied interfacing to the collars, sewed together, turned inside out, and basted. I used chop sticks to push out the corners. Does wonders. I then pinned the collar pieces to the neckline. Now time for the neckline and armhole facing.

Trusting the pattern (I’m learning!), it all worked out. There were a few ouches, but in general, the finishing in the interior is looking non-disastrous. Ambs, you may have to take a hot iron to it to press out some of my mistakes after washing it.

Sunday, July 24:

My cousin Kayla came over for some sippin’ and stitching. She was an “understudy”  with her late grandma, so I am hoping she can look over my shoulder while zipping it up. I was a bit nervous pinning in the zipper, but with the zipper foot, I think it turned out a-o-k. Always room for improvement, though.

Time to wrap it up with a bow. The pattern piece had a weird cut. The cutting diagram showed it extending past the fold on the fabric.

I couldn’t figure it out. Once cut, it was an L shape. Since I went to the fabric store to pick up more fabric, I just cut a new bow, with the entire pattern piece placed on the fabric.

The bow required interfacing. I didn’t have a long piece of fusible interfacing, so I cut it into three parts. I told Kayla, “our grandmas wouldn’t have gone back to the fabric store to buy another piece of interfacing. They would use what they had, and make it work.” So I did just that, and it worked.

I then folded lengthwise the bow, and stitched. Leaving the center open, I reversed the bow so the right sides of the fabric were showing. The directions then called for “slip stitching” of the opening. I am sure I have slip stitched, but it is a new “formal” term and thanks to the interwebs, it’s “an invisible finishing stitch.” Sure enough, I have done this hand stitch.

But I learned something else. I always have wondered how much thread I should use. The online tutorial said 18″. Once doubled and knotted, you have 9″ to work with.

Then the magic happened:

And voila, the project is d-o-n-e:

Project Wrap-up

 Sew Happy:

  • I am feeling on top of the world. I really liked this project, from start to finish.
  • I see my stitching skills improving. The stitch lines are becoming straighter and straighter.
  • I didn’t realize my machine came with a zipper foot, and other feet.
  • I heart my pinking shears. I really want to better my finishing skills, but until then, the pinking shears help finish off the interior of the garment.

Not Sew Happy:

  • I am really trying to avoid the second trips to the fabric store. I went “grrrr” when the back sections didn’t initially line up at the center seam. 

Helpful Hints (to self)

  • When working with a nap, visualize the piece coming together before cutting the fabric. This would have helped me with the back sections.