I feel like I’ve been sewing non stop lately. Last week I completed four projects, started and completed, might I add. So over the weekend I had time off. And Monday. And Tuesday too. Then I remembered I had cut the toile for Pauline Alice‘s Carme Blouse in order to enter it into The Monthly Stitch Independent Pattern Month competition for independent designers new to you (me). I’d bought the pattern initially for another competition intended to promote independent pattern designers, Sewing Indie Month, but ran out of time. With Wednesday knocking on my door I really didn’t want to run out of time again!
So I got cracking with the toile which I thought Daughter No2 might be able to wear if it all worked out ok. I grabbed a navy gingham with a teeny tiny check from the stash & got clever cutting the front placket,tabs, cuffs and collars on the bias. I interfaced the cuffs and collar on the straight so they didn’t stretch out of shape, but still kept the interest in the print. I tried out a flat fell seam which looked good, just tricky in the sleeve which in Daughter No2’s size are a little narrow to do a really good job. By the afternoon things were going well, the iPod was on a good volume pumping out some great tracks, then I realised I’d made a boob. I sewed the front placket very carefully right sides together. (It’s supposed to be wrong sides up…) Of course I’d cut it before noticing. So the placket looks fabulous – on the inside.. Oh dear. Anyway, I finished it off that evening.
In the morning Daughter No2 dutifully posed for me, and then wore it out – in public! I guess no-one has noticed my obvious mistake – yet! From the toile I knew I had to widen the shoulders by 1.5cm, which is an adjustment often needed for her shoulders, and lengthen the sleeves by 2cm. I also needed to lower the neckline about 2-3cm if she ever wanted to button the blouse up to the top. Luckily for me she decided no buttons were necessary at all, therefore we haven’t adjusted the neckline. Her measurements had landed smack in between the two smaller sizes so I’d opted for the larger, just in case. The rest of the garment was fine, so I prepared to cut my proper fabric.
We’d chosen a piece of Liberty lawn from the stash, must have had it around 4 or 5 years, so it was time to use it up. I fiddled around with the pattern, trying to get a good placement on the pieces, when I realised something wasn’t quite right. The print was off grain!! NOOOO! It was kinda liberating, I just thought, sod it, and cut where I wanted instead! 🙂
In order to add a little pizzaz I picked a wheat coloured spot cotton bias from the stash of trims. I thought I could use it in some intersecting areas. To go with the bias we picked out warm coloured buttons and contrast thread, with the idea to use that for topstitching. After a test, I discarded the contrast topstitching idea and stuck to an off white for that job. I also ditched the idea of using the flat fell seam and stuck to French seams. Guaranteed good finish.
The wheat spot bias ended up decorating the curved edges of the tucked bib and trimming the cuffs. The cotton was a little too stiff to work properly at the neck edge. This means I have more left over than I’d expected so I can use it somewhere else now too! 🙂 I love the contrast of the blue Liberty print and the warm bias binding. It draws the eye, so I had to be sure my stitching was dead straight.
I really like this pattern, it’s fairly quick to make, and I only altered two things from the original pattern instructions. One was to attach the collar differently. It’s always easier to get a collar onto something if you can make it flat, so no side seams until the collar is done. Then I changed the way the cuffs were attached. The instructions have you gather the lower edge of the sleeve, sew the cuffs short ends together and then turn under the seam allowances on the long edge in order to sandwich over the gathered sleeve. I just couldn’t see that working neatly on the toile already, and knew that with the addition of the bias that it would have to be different. I attached the cuff the way you’d sew on a waistband.
Fold the cuff in half, wrong sides together & press. Turn under the seam allowance on one long side. Leaving seam allowances on the short side overlapping the sleeve, sew the other long side to the sleeve edge, right sides together. Fold the cuff at the pressed fold, lining up the turned seam allowance and stitch the short edges together. Layer & trim & turn. Et voila.
I made the blouse over two days in the garden. We’ve been enjoing some lovely weather here in the UK this week, and it was far too nice to sit indoors when all the action was outside. The only problem was the distraction. The antics of the various birds in the garden was so funny, I’d sew a bit, then sit back & watch the birds, then sew a bit again. We have a very territorial blackbird who has decided to attack every dove & wood pigeon who dares invade his airspace. Luckily he’s not bothered by the robins or the little tits. He could bully the starlings a little more though, they’re eating me out of house & home! 🙂 Do you ever think of moving into the garden with your machine? Would it even be practical for you?
Will there be more Carme Blouses on my sewing table? Undoubtedly. Daughter No2 really likes it, the shape, length, hem curve and of course, the tab to hold up the sleeves to look extra cool!
I’m submitting this blouse for the New to Me category of the competition, and when the voting opens would be very grateful if you’d consider voting for me. Thank you to all those who voted for my Snowball in Paris dress (which I have just found out I won a prize for!!), and for A Summer Snowball in the other two competitions, and also for all the lovely comments.
Voting is now open for New To Me, please pop over to The Monthly Stitch & vote! The entry is called “Carme in Liberty” on that page.
44 thoughts on “The Carme – New to Me”
Absolutely gorgeous. I love that particular Liberty print!
I realised while sewing it that I have used this same print in 3 different colourways now! 🙂
your daughters must be the coolest girls in town. seriously.
love the sight of garden sewing…makes me miss poolside sewing!
Oh – now that’s a seriously good idea! Alas it’s too cold here to contemplate a permanent pool, but one day in a warmer climate…
Both blouses are so pretty! The gingham one is gorgeous. Who cares about a tiny mistake? And the liberty is fabulous. The contrast piping detail is really smart!
Thank you! I don’t suppose her friends would ever notice, but I know it’s there! At least it’s neat & tidy…
I think I have the same machine! Although mine looks in a somewhat sorrier state – Grandma K was a smoker and nicotine + light have led to a yellowing of my beloved machine!
Yay! I love it, I have two!! It’s the 830, a real workhorse. I don’t know what I’d do without it, often thought of getting a modern machine, but no way I’d part with these – ever!!
Yes! I have an 830 too! I also have to have a power transformer under the desk to run my machine and my overlocker as we brought them over from England with us.
I bought my 2nd from a UK friend who moved to the US a couple of years ago, she decided it wasn’t worth taking over and trying to convert, bought one there instead!
It belonged to my Grandma, so I wanted to keep it mostly for sentimental reasons. As I had the overlocker too it made sense to do it as well. Plus they don’t make them like that any more! Robust!
Cracking blouses, and can we just have a moment to appreciate the linen skirt?
heehee, that orange is pretty bright! We dyed a plain white linen and the result was pretty astoundingly bright! I got the idea for the French knots from a Boden skirt from a while ago, so I marked the skirt & chose a contrasting turquoise. The invisible zip is turquoise too!
See now, you can’t just tell me all that and not let the skirt have it’s own post!!
Such a lovely blouse. The contrast trim is inspired. Outside sewing is a cracking idea!
Thank you Evie, I’ve been wanting to use that spotty bias for a while now! I love sewing outside in the summer, even if it means more watching of birds than actual sewing. 🙂
I like both versions – and love the little wheat-colored bias detail on the Liberty one! your daughters’ friends must be very jealous of their cool wardrobe:-) thank you for the tip on the cuffs – after seeing these versions I am tempted to try this pattern.
Sewing the cuffs on like you’d sew the waistband is so much easier, especially when there is no over/underlap and the opening is quite narrow. And yes, the friends cannot believe how many clothes my two have, or how many I’ve made! 🙂
These are just gorgeous blouses, your daughters are so lucky. Also, congratulations on the awards, well-deserved.
Thank you very much Lori!
Fabulous work! I would wear these in a heartbeat! Especially the liberty one – the pattern placement is superb 🙂 Goodness, you keep sending you patterns to the top of my to make list!
Lol!! My to make list is HUGE! 🙂
These blouses look amaizing, the liberty lawn one is to die for…. The bias on the bib breaks just right the pattern so you do not even expect pattern continuity between the bib and the front piece… great idea!
Thanks! I had to do something because of the tucks & the off grain print.. Thankfully all the detail breaks up the pattern a lot, so it’s really not noticeable at all.
The Liberty is amazing, it compliments the pattern’s design but your skills turned this into an amazing garment, I love everything about it, impeccable! And I think too that the orange skirt deserves its own post. 🙂
hehe, I will bow to you & Pennylibrarian & dig out the details, I did make that skirt a while ago now… 🙂
This blouse looks spectacular well done.
Thank you! 🙂
I’m in love with the outfit, that orange linen skirt too! Will be adding this to my list 🙂
thanks! Enjoy sewing it up!
Beautiful! I love that paisley fabric! And the beige polka dot trim is adorable.
I’m SO glad I’m not the only one who did that with the button placket! Phew! My Carme is also buttonless (& cuff-less as I haven’t finished it yet!), but I think it looks absolutely fine without it! I really love the second Carme with the contrast & your topstitching is to die for!
heehee, I think it’s just so automatic to sew things right sides together! 🙂 I don’t think I’ll be putting buttons on the fronts of any Carmes, they simply don’t seem to need them.
The blue and white blouse is gorgeous. Love the subtle detailing. And re mistakes, we notice our own more than others.
Yup, because we know exactly where we put them! 🙂
That Liberty Print is stunning! Both tops look so fresh and cool!
Your Carmes are fantastic. Thank you for such a useful (and inspirational) review of this pattern.
A quick question if you don’t mind, is how tall your daughter is? I’m hoping to make a Carme for myself (I’m 165cm/5ft5″) and think the length of the blouses on your daughter is spot on.
Hi Mandy, thank you! :). She’s 173cm, but it’s all in the legs! Her nape to waist & waist to hip are standard.
Both of them are very pretty! I don’t think the mistake is that obvious on the first one, so it could probalbly go in the ‘design feature’-category 😉
oh, I love unexpected “design features”!
Hi, i’m just discovering your blog via Kollabora. Your Carme blouse is stunning : use of the binding; and this beautiful fabric. You did a fantastic job !