The Carme – New to Me

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!

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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.

orange & blue
Carme Blouse wearable toile with orange handmade linen skirt, embellished with French knots

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.

Can you spot my big mistake?
Can you spot my big mistake?

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!  🙂

Wheat & white spot cotton bias binding edging the tucked bib.
Wheat & white spot cotton bias binding edging the tucked bib.

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.

Carme Details
Carme Details

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.

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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.

Tuck detail & bias trim on cuffs
Tuck detail & bias trim on cuffs

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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?

Sewing in the garden
Sewing in the garden

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!

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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.

ipm new to me

 UPDATE

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.

The Midnight Blues

I’ve made another blouse!  *Doing the Happy Dance*  A good tune for this particular Happy Dance is Goodluck’s “Le Good Life“.  Not heard of Goodluck? – not surprised really!  They’re a new South African band & they produce some smashing tunes!  Anyhoo, who wants to see the new stuff???

DSC07248-1What, you can’t see it??  Silly me, I’m still all wrapped up!  Best I remove the jacket – yes..?

DSC07252-1Heeehee, just teasing!  It was pretty chilly though, but you can get some glimpses around the scarf.  Not enough?  Humphf, I guess I’ll just get cold then.  Here you go!

DSC07271-1Well???  Whaddya think?!  Me?  I love it!  It’s turned out better than I had hoped!  🙂  The concealed buttonstand is fab & I think my favourite bit is the collar!

DSC07273-1DSC07257-1I guess you’d like a bit of info now, would you?  Right.  Starting with the sleeve, I traced the sleeve block with straight seams to the 3/4 length to be gathered into a narrow sleeve band.  They were pretty straight forward.  The back bodice has gathers into a yoke.  I used the same yoke depth for this as on the Polka Dot blouse from last week, but instead of having the gathers only above the shoulderblades, I added 3cm on the fold in the centre & gathered the entire length.  Again I shaped the hem as I have done in all the blouses so far.

Tucks on front yoke
Tucks on front yoke

The front yoke is 7cm deep, & has three 5mm tucks.  The original shoulder dart was altered so I have a small underarm dart & the rest was put into gathers into the front yoke.  I doubled both the front & back yokes for a bit of extra strength.  For the neckline I first copied the depth of the Jungle January blouse, knowing that I was comfortable with it.  The button stand is 4cm wide, so this was removed from the front & then fiddled with to make the tucks & the concealed bit.  It gave me a bit of a headache, but I worked it out in paper with all the folds etc before making the toile.

Working out the spacing for the tucks on the front band
Working out the spacing for the tucks on the front band

The collar is based on a flat collar, like a Peter Pan, but with a low rise.  Originally I made it 6cm wide, but after making the toile, I knew it had to be narrower.  Only 1cm came off, so I wasn’t too far off!  I didn’t use a facing on the inside.  The neckline & collar seams are all trimmed to just under 1cm & a bias strip covers all the messy details.

Collar detail
Collar detail

I used my favourite French seams throughout the blouse – even on the sleeve head.  This georgette isn’t as transparent as others I’ve used, but why go to all the effort of making something gorgeous if the inside isn’t as good as the out??

The inners...
The inners…  French seam on the sleeve on the right, binding strip covering the collar seams on the right & hand stitched inner yoke in the centre

The buttons are some blue tinted mother of pearl that came out of my stash.  I wanted something without bulk & the shell buttons are less than 1mm thick!  I stitched the front tucked band to the band with the buttonholes on every third tuck, ensuring it would stay down & not go flapping about in the breeze.

Concealed button stand
Concealed button stand

That’s another piece of fabric that can consider itself well & truly stashbusted!  This means I have the opportunity of buying 1 more piece.  I need to start saving my allowances for the Stitching show at the NEC at the end of March.  This project also counts as my Sewcialist contribution to #SewBlueFebruary.  I may do another, but it’s good to get one in as the month is already halfway through!

I still need to trace & toile the HotPatterns jeans, & I found another of their jeans patterns in my pattern box!  I think I will have to do both!  🙂  I have also finally dug out some jersey & traced the Plantain pattern.  Let’s see if it fits!

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Me & my silly grin! 🙂

As this blouse has turned out so well, I think I can go ahead now & make another using the navy spot silk chiffon Husband bought me from John Lewis.  Can’t wait to see that made up!

Silver Lining takes on a darker edge

Another project finished!  I have had this beautiful blue/black silk devore for some time now.  I bought it from Rosenberg & Sons when they used to come up to Solihull with all their temptations.  They filled the Methodist Church Hall with fabric delights.

I decided at the last minute to cut it out back in May, I had a reception to go to for an old school friend’s wedding, and thought it would be just the ticket.  Except that one day was never going to be enough time, especially with my Dad visiting.  So it sat on my sewing desk all this time.

I used the pattern for the Silver Lining blouse I made earlier in the year, I haven’t made any adjustments to the pattern at all.  I am sorry I took so long to get it made up, I really like this new version!

I love this version! Perfect for winter.

It’s pretty see through stuff, so for the cuffs, collar and polo opening tabs I used a plain blue silk satin, also from Rosenberg.  The colour is slightly different to the devore, but I think it works ok.  I also used the plain satin to face the yoke front and back, and for the stay on the puffy part of the sleeve.  I will definitely be wearing a cami or vest top under this blouse!  All the seams are French seams, there is no way you want to see fluffy seam allowances through this fabric!

I am in two minds about something though.  On this version I have not put a button on the polo tab.  I looked through my stash and had nothing that was right.  If the size and colour were suitable, the weight wasn’t.  So for now there isn’t one.  What do you think, should I just leave it off and have it open like this?

We went out for afternoon tea after taking these pics, I think we deserved something yummy!

Apricot tart and cherry clafoutis

Now I need to get back to that leaf print linen……  If I can manage to keep my sticky fingers out of the Fancy Silk Store tomorrow.    :s

Sweet Disposition

Liberty Knot Dress

Here we go, the Knot Dress has a new image!  Imagine the difference there would be if this were made in a plain linen…  Perhaps that’s the next job.  So, here it is – made up in the Liberty Tana Lawn I bought yesterday at Fred Winter in Stratford.  What do we think??

Happy Customer

I used French seams throughout, there is an invisible zip in the centre back seam and I bound the neck and armhole edges with self-bias.   I turned in 5mm on the hem before turning up 3cm, and machine stitched.  It was actually easier making this version than the toile, simply because the fabric was so much less bulky. I like the little tucks in the back. There are two 5cm long tucks to catch in the bulk of the fabric and stop it from being too tent-like.  I am glad I removed the extra fullness in the centre front, it definitely wasn’t needed.

Bow and Knot Detail

I encourage you to give it a go if you are so inclined, the pattern wasn’t hard to draft.  There are lots of little things to do on it, so just keep focus otherwise you will lose your place!  Overall, I am really pleased, as is daughter no 2!

Knot Dress