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.