Friday, August 10, 2018

Designing off a base blouse pattern- changing necklines, sleeves and more

I found myself in need of some blouses. As I work through my never ending quest of defining and nailing down my style I see the gaps in my wardrobe. I try to keep track of the items I no longer wear and try to figure out why. Answering this question helps determine if it is that I don’t like the fit, the color, the fabric or if it is just something that has become old, tired and worn out. I also try to jot down the times when I look in my closet and say ‘I wish I had XXX!’

90% of my wardrobe is handmade and I have no problem with the idea of sending garments to the resale shops if they are in good condition or to the recyclers if they are worn out. It wasn’t always that way, I used to keep everything I made just because I had made it! I know only do that for special garments. Like fancy dresses or French style jackets, as long as I love them.

I really found a lack of blouses for the summer. Tops that could be used for business casual meetings or evenings out with friends or just some nicer summer tops. I worked off of a princess seam pullover blouse that I really like. Originally, I had designed this top with a back neck zipper but have found that I really don’t need it for most blouses. In cases where I think I need a little extra room I have been using a small opening in back with a button and loop closure.

In these 5 tops I have played with 4 different necklines and one with a fun collar, 2 sleeves and different types of sleeve finishes. All of them use a neckline facing and a baby hem for the body.  The short sleeves are finished 3 ways. 2 are finished with a baby hem, 1 is completely faced and one has a 2-inch hem with a side split. The last shirt is long chiffon sleeves with a cuff. I also played with the fullness of the top around the waist. 3 of them have a fuller body and the last 2 have a slimmer fit.

The necklines are a simple scoop, 2 have square necklines. One is a soft V with a collar and the last is higher and what I call ‘the Stephanie Boat neck’ it is as high and as wide as I can do or rather as I like! After all, isn’t the ability to sew all about making things that I like and that I want to wear!

The first shirt is very simple. A scoop neck, princess seams with a small back opening with a button and loop, short sleeves and all hems done as a baby machine sewn hem. This fabric is a bit of a throwback to the 1980’s. It is a rayon challis that I got from our ASG chapter neighborhood group leaders meeting this spring.

Shirt number 2 is a square neck with no extra opening. The sleeves and hem are machine sewn baby hems. The front of the blouse is embellished with pin tucks. The fabric is a silk/cotton voile. This is proving to be a favorite already!
In the photo on the right you can see the pin tucks. Always hard to see details on black fabric.

Number 3 is also a square neck without a back opening. The sleeves are completely faced and as you can see, I added a ribbon embellishment. The fabric is a wonderful Nano Iro triple gauze. The colors in it are amazing. However, the overall look of the fabric is lighter and the ribbon embellishment really helps to provide definition between my skin and the garment as well as provide a resting place for the eye. The sleeve facing a neck facing are from a soft pink cotton/silk voile.  (I know, I know... lots of voiles! They have been accumulating in my fabric collection and are finally being used!)

Number 4 is a blouse that I made for a refresh of my work wardrobe. It has a higher neckline, my version of a boat neck with a back opening with loop and button, a slimmer silhouette around the waist and a mixture of fabrics. The front of the blouse and the cuffs are from a hammered silk charmeuse, the back and the sleeves are from a matching silk chiffon. The back pieces are completely underlined with a rust colored silk/cotton voile to give strength to the seams and provide coverage. The sleeves are longer than usual so that they have a bit of pooling at the wrist. I only had 2 small pieces of the matching silk, less than a yard each and I had been wracking my brain with what to do with them, this was a great use! I even managed to mostly match the like colored wavy plaid. The front and across to the sleeves came out great. The back is a little off. However, seeing as I had just tiny pieces of scraps leftover I am quite happy with the result.

Number 5. This one was also a bit of an experiment. I had this remnant piece of cotton lawn leftover from a project maybe 10 years ago. It was time to use it up and get it out of my collection! This has a soft V neck, a split rolled collar and a loop and button closure at the back neck. The sleeves are finished with a split hemline and a 2-inch hem. The hem of the body was done with a machine baby hem. The silhouette of this top is a bit slimmer then the above shirt sleeve blouses. Between the print, the split collar and the split sleeve hem this shirt has a funky retro vibe that just makes me smile! The details on this one can be hard to see due to the print.

Sorry no real photos of me wearing any of these,except for the 2 mirror selfies as I was planning my wardrobe for a trade-show convention! My work schedule has been brutal and I am racking up the airline and hotel points big time this summer! Writing this from 30,000 feet! The times I have been home have been spent with family and friends and squeezing in some sewing and relaxing time for me. Doesn’t leave much time to set up the tripod and take photos.

I really LOVE having a great base pattern to work off of and play with different details. In a class a couple years ago we worked on defining different necklines that work on each individual. When I returned home after that class I used different color pins to pin these different necklines onto my dressform. It really helps to have them handy and to check a muslin or garment neckline.

The Princess and I enjoying a nice day at the Shedd Aquarium together!

1 comment:

  1. I really, really, really love that silk blouse!!! What a great mix of textiles and the long sleeves with cuffs are just beautiful!

    What a great idea to mark off the dress form with necklines at the height/shape that works for you.


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