Completed: Edith Blouse and a headband

Any time I saw any of Heather’s blouses, I wanted to make one for myself. I think I wanted since I saw her first Edith blouse, but I didn’t sit down and sew it until last week. I think I procrastinated for so long because I was not 100% convinced about the rounded edges of the collar. Anyway, I had to make four Gertie’s 40s style blouses to finally sew this Edith blouse. I loved my 40s style blouses, but I also wanted to test this one to be able to compare them. The 40s style blouse is lovely but a tad too short to wear tucked inside skirts. Not that I’m a skirt wearer, but I want to have the option, just in case.

I have good and bad things to say about this pattern. First, the good stuff. This is a blouse and a dress pattern, and it comes in PDF. I hate tracing, so I often go for PDF patterns, which also saves some money. I quite liked that if you’re going to make the blouse, the instructions tell you which pages you have to print. I think it’s a nice detail that saves paper, ink and headaches.  Now, the bad stuff. I often use PDF patterns because I hate tracing, but if the pattern doesn’t come with seam allowances, then that advantage is completely gone. Why, oh, I wonder why some patterns don’t come with seam allowances. The only advantage I see is that you can add your preferred one, but c’mon, I don’t mind sewing with any given seam allowance, and I don’t understand why I need to do some extra work. Does anybody know why this happens?

Something I noticed is that the shoulder angles are not the same for all the sizes. I would expect them to be square angles, so that you get a straight line when sewing back and front. And if it’s not like this, I would at least expect some consistency and have all the same (it was a square angle for the larger sizes). I cut size 36 as it was but when hemming the sleeves I straightened this part, so I guess I would have gone for a square angle here.

Now let’s talk about the collar. I didn’t like the original one, so I made real corners. I used the 40s style blouse as my model, but I think I’ve over done it here, since the final collar looks more 70s than 40s or 50s. Oh, well, I’ll do it better next time. I think it’s also because the collar of the Edith blouse is much larger than Gertie’s blouse. Jo said some time ago that all Gertie’s collars sit weird. I didn’t have issues with my blouses collars, but it’s true that they are not very visible, especially if you have long hair. This was another reason to test this Edith blouse, I wanted to see if the collar felt better than Gertie’s. Well, I can’t decide, since my collar modification was not completely successful.

There’s also the color of the blouse. I think I bought this fabric to make a handbag, but then I let it sit for a while. I quite liked the print and the sewing and spinning motives. I don’t have many yellow tops, so I thought it would be a nice addition to my wardrobe, even if it was going to be a trial. But you know? I’ve discovered that I don’t look good in yellow. I took these pictures the same day I took my Chuck‘s pictures, exactly some minutes before. Somehow I think I look a lot better in the pictures where I’m wearing the Chuck sweater, and I think it’s partly due to the color. My skin is a bit olive green (especially in winter), and I think yellow doesn’t do me any favors. Curiously, Rochelle has also mulled about color this week.

I was going to make a wearable muslin using this cotton quilt I bought some time ago (don’t remember where) but I didn’t want to throw a lot of work just to have a sack on me, so I tested the fit with a very fast muslin. The fit seemed right, so I proceeded to make my blouse. I cut it on Friday, and made the complete blouse on Saturday (that was fast!), just leaving hemming and snaps for Sunday morning.

Something that felt a bit strange about the construction, is that it tells you to interface the under collar instead of the upper collar like other shirts/blouses I made (Archer, Gertie’s). I finally interfaced the upper collar, since doing the opposite wouldn’t have let me sleep at night. The under and upper collar are from the same pattern piece (unlike Gertie’s) but you’re instructed to trim the three outer sides of the under collar to make it sit right. There’s also a back facing that is not included in Gertie’s blouse. When I made Gertie’s blouse for the first time I was puzzled at this and didn’t get why it was like that. Now that I’ve made this blouse I know why. This facing adds some bulk to the upper back and even after sewing tacks to the shoulders, it doesn’t want to sit flat, and lifting it you will see the collar raw edges. Maybe if it was wider it would be better. I don’t know. I think if I make this blouse again, I’ll skip this facing and turn the collar seam allowances to the inside of the collar. I also want to mention that the side facings are a bit on the narrow side, and it seems they want to pop out when wearing the blouse. Another mod for next time.

I love how kimono sleeves look, but I don’t enjoy making them. I remember the disaster on my Portrait blouse, and I didn’t want the same again, so I was careful and methodical this time. I marked some dots with air erasable pen 5/8″ from the edge (my seam allowance) and I made some cuts “almost” until there on the low part of the armscye, where it’s curved. I pressed then that seam allowance to the inside and then trimmed it to approx. 1/4″. I was afraid that it was going to be a mess and it would fray, so I applied some bias binding. As I was not completely sure about this fabric or the final blouse, I didn’t make any self bias binding, so I used premade. I wanted to apply it to that part of the sleeve hem that was turned in, but the curved and sliced part was tricky, so I used a short piece of wash away quilters tape. I used it for the beginning portion, but not for the straight part of the ending curve since it was not necessary. I don’ t know if you can see it on the picture, but there’s the bias, the quilters tape, and then the hem. The other part of the bias goes stitched on top.

Here it’s how it looks when stitching the bias binding.

And this is the end result. I’m not completely happy with the fact that you could see those seam allowances from outside, but sewing the side seam and then applying the bias binding would be even more fiddly, so I can live with it, and I think the result is quite neat. At least a lot better than what I expected before doing it.

I’m sure you noticed the matching headband I’m wearing in the pictures. I wanted to make a headband for a very long time, but I always had more interesting projects in mind and was feeling lazy. I got a rotatory cutter and a mat for Christmas, so I had no excuse this time, and I completed the project in a blink. I loosely followed more or less the instructions here, but cut my stripes 76 cm by 7.5 cm (1/4″ of seam allowance). Then I removed 2 triangles from each side at the last 12 cm. No need to round it here since I slightly rounded when sewing them together.

After trying it, I think I should make it a bit longer and wider next time. I have mixed feelings about it, but I think it’s the damn color yellow again. Well, at least I’ve learned something.

And I leave you here a picture of my last 40s style blouse to compare. I think I prefer the fit of the Edith blouse, and I could try it with Gertie’s sleeves. And fixing the collar, off course. What do you think?


Completed: Another 40s Style Blouse

I promise that this is the last 40s style blouse that I’m making for a while, but I just needed to get it out of my system. I’m going to try a different pattern next time, but even if I don’t, I think I’m ready to attend the next rockabilly festival without fear of not having anything to wear. In fact, it’s nice to dress like this for half an hour on Saturdays just to take the pictures for the blog. I almost feel I’m attending a party!

This time the blouse is made with Japanese cotton, and it’s such an easy fabric and I already know this pattern so well, that I could have the blouse done in two days, but I ran out of interfacing (I had everything except for a front facing) and then I had to wait for new snaps from Snapclic.

After checking red, two shades of green, orange and yellow, I finally went for choral (Koen agreed); and when I was installing the snaps on Saturday morning, I remembered this choral lipstick I barely used. It’s not a color I’m very used to, but it feels very summery.

The tiki bobby pins are from a local shop (Shopper Monster), the necklace from Luxulite, and earrings and brooch from Desperate Beatnik.

The Top 5 of 2014

I found about this last year, and once again I’m participating. I’m not very good at these things but looking back is always a good idea to be able to look forward.

Top 5 Hits

Luckily this year I can nominate my top 5 hits without having to dig too deep. I think I’m getting better at this and I’m learning to make my own style.

This is technically from the end of 2013 but as I’ve just made another one (not blogged yet), I count this as a success this year too.

This was a project that took forever but it was worth until the last stitch. I modified the armscye and added a quilted lining, and I can say that I’ve worn this to death. I’m taking a break now because the temperatures are too low but I foresee a lot of wear from February onwards.

My weight has changed this year and I’m not sure they fit me well right now, but I have made in total three pairs (two this year). Now that I know more about fitting I should try to make another pair but better. I think I’ll try Gertie’s trousers this year.

  • Lady Skater Dress

Unblogged due to my health issues, but I made my second this summer and I’ve cut a third. I just love this pattern, and after making a a couple of tweaks (narrowing upper part and sleeves, shortening bust, lengthening skirt) it’s become my to-go pattern to make knit dresses. I see many Lady Skater dresses and tshirts in the future.

After a long search for the perfect 40s blouse pattern, finally Gertie’s second book was a blessing. This was made with no mods and I already have fabric to make 6 more. This is going to be part of my signature style.

This is one of the very few knits accomplished this year, but I truly love this sweater and I’m wearing it while typing this.

Top 5 Misses

This bag was not a miss in itself. In fact I’ve used it quite a lot to transport my sewing tools to the shop where I used to have sewing classes, plus also for the very few trips I made this year. The problem here was the interfacing used for the bottom. It was good and sturdy but did not survive the washing machine. When the bag came out of the machine the interfacing had transformed into a little ball. As everything is enclosed, I don’t want to take it out but that means the bottom of the bag is not stiff anymore. Even like that it makes a wonderful travel bag.

I never ever wore this skirt. It’s was also probably because I went out very little this year due to my illness and I hate ironing. I think I’ll install horshair braid on this one and see what happens next spring and summer.

This blouse is just not my style. I made some Sewaholic patterns because they gorgeous and are designed for pear shaped women, which means that there’s in general less fitting to be done, but now I’m finally more selective and trying to sew and knit garments that match my style, even if that means more fitting issues. I have more experience, so that doesn’t scare me like before.

Top 5 Highlights

  • Koen

My boyfriend is my best blessing. He sticks with me and endures all that’s lately happening like a champion. He’s my rock and my partner in everything. I love you, Koen, you know that.

  • New apartment with a dedicated sewing space

We moved in August to another apartment. It’s much bigger than the previous one, and finally I could get a dedicated sewing space, which makes everything faster, neater and simply better. The picture above is just after installing the table. It has more things nowadays, but I’m with my family these days so I can’t take a picture right now.

  • A Serger

Koen surprised me on my birthday with this wonderful present. I’m still learning a lot about it but I succeeded at using it to overlock edges. The next step will be using it to sew knits. As soon as I get back home, I promise.

  • Gerry

Being home bound for so long can be hard on one’s moral but this little guy keeps me company and my spirits up. He’s funny, smart, cheeky and sweet (when he wants). Having a lovebird can be demanding sometimes, but they give you so much in return. My sewing and knitting are slower sometimes because of him, but I wouldn’t want to live without him.

Top 5 Reflections

Something that really took a big toll this year was my health (or the lack of it). I could have sewn more, knitted more and enjoyed life more in general if it was not because of this. I had little issues before, but in April I started to feel that there was something clearly wrong with me. It took me months and numerous doctor visits until I got referred to the mast cells specialists in August. By that time my weight dropped to 44 kg and I was desperately hungry and lost. I can’t still see the end of this but at least I know I’m in good hands. But the other side that nobody sees is that since August I’m eating everyday the same. My diet is reduced to five foods and I only drink water (and my morning tea). I’ve learned to appreciate the good things I have and the good people who stood beside me (Koen, you’re my rock), but I’ve also lost much in the way. I lost time, I lost money, I lost some of my illusions and I lost quite some friends. In a certain way it’s something good, because the ones who stayed are the true ones; but it’s also hard to stop seeing people who where your party fellows and who gave you so many happy moments. Many things are gone, and many people too. I’m still learning about not dwelling on it too much. It mortified me for a while but not anymore. I guess when this happens you learn to weight what you have, and you also learn to prioritize things. What mortifies me right now is being tied to my home and not being able to do things normal people do, like eating outside or enjoying a casual snack. I have to say no often to eating-out plans. This usually happens with people that don’t know about my condition. Usually old friends who pass by Madrid and expect to meet and socialize like it’s done over here. I hate having to tell the same story again, but I think I hate it most because I can’t tell the end or the conclusion. It’s like telling a story which you don’t know very well and ignore the end. At least I have learned to take pleasure on the little things, but recounting my story still makes me cry sometimes. I guess I still have a long way to go.

Top5 Goals

  • Getting healthy or have a normalish life: I know I have a long way to go but I’m not giving up on having some improvements. The good thing about my doctor is that she answers my emails quite fast (usually the same day), so if things don’t work, we fine tune the treatment to see if things could go better. Mast cells issues are not very well known and many times is just trial and error.
  • Building a capsule wardrobe: Teresa from Canary Knits got me started on this. I’m usually pretty lazy to do this kind of things, but I think it could be interesting for the next point.
  • Sewing and knitting my style.
  • Keep learning about my new serger.
  • Being able to travel: I know this will take time and may not be for 2015 but I won’t give up.

My take on Gertie’s 40s style blouse

I’ve been looking for some time for the perfect pattern to make a 40’s style blouse. I secretly (and not so secretly) admired Liz and Tasha‘s blouses and I wanted to make something like this. Last year, for the Fall for Cotton, I modified a pattern, and after lots of sweating and swearing I got a blouse that I more or less liked it, but that sadly got very little wear. I think the reason is that it’s too short, the collar is a bit too small, and the hem is a bit too flared. Anyway, I wanted to have more of this kind of blouses, but it’s very difficult to get vintage patterns in Spain and the shipping from the US makes it quite pricey. But then Gertie released her new book and I decided that I needed to try her blouse pattern.

Lately I’m having a nightmare of work. Some people are on vacation, others ill, and work is piling up like crazy. This is why I’m not sewing as much as I’d like. When I finish by working day I’m so exhausted that the only thing I can do is sitting in the couch and knitting some stitches while staring at the void or watching a scify b-movie from the 50s. So with this blouse I committed the sin of sewing it without making a muslin. I measured the pattern pieces and it seemed to be fine, and a blouse is more forgiving than a dress or a pair of pants. The result is good enough, and you can see Gerry here posing like he was a vintage brooch.

One of the things that I wanted to accomplish with sewing (and knitting) is making my own style clothes. I hate clothes shopping, and mostly is because I just don’t like what I see. I dislike the style and it also makes me feel that we all should wear the same clothes and walk out of very loud stores like robots wearing the same clothes. And somethings are just plainly not flattering, but it’s like people are blind (or brainwashed). I hate consumerism, and having to buy new clothes because the ones at the shop are low quality and their style changes from season to season, and apparently wearing the pants from last year is a mortal sin. I never fitted in the box. I tend to wear jeans/pants almost everyday, paired with tshirts. Many of my tshirts are on dark colors, often with skulls, rock’n’roll messages and similar things. Sometimes I feel that tshirts is the only thing I’m wearing and it would be nice to dress up a little bit without necessarily wearing dresses (I get cold easily and as I’ve said, my going outs are mainly to the grocery store). I think a nice blouse comes in handy here, and this one is as comfortable as a tshirt.

With sewing, unlike with knitting, I feel things happen faster, projects get finished in less days and we have constantly new patterns tempting us almost everyday. I think, finally after two years of sewing, I’m finally focusing more on what I really want to sew, on my own style.

This shirt will look a bit nicer paired with a garment sitting on the natural waist, unlike this pair of RTW jeans. Anyway, it’s not really formal and it looks quite good like this too. Many of my tshirts have a similar length. The only mod was skipping the pocket. The print is crazy enough so this was a bit unnecessary to me.

I think Gerry doesn’t like my lipstick. He also bit my nails when I used to paint them red. I rarely wear lipstick lately, sadly just when I’m taking pictures for the blog. As I’ve said, we barely go out, and I try to avoid makeup to no stir my already hyperactive mast cells.

As you can see, I placed snaps here too. This take on the 40s blouse is quite personal and not really vintage so I took the liberty of installing snaps, which took less than 10 minutes and was done just before going to bed. I don’t want to imagine what could have happened if I decided to have regular buttons and buttonholes.

Like with my Nemesis blouse, the back is a bit baggy, but I guess this is what you get when using tucks to shape your blouse. I really like this print, and it also matches my current style. I’m not good with words, especially when in big groups or with people I don’t know, and I’m getting worse due to lack of training. I like that sewing lets me make what I want and let my clothes speak for me.

I really like how this blouse came out and I have already planned many more. I just need to finish a present for my niece Paula and have more time for selfish sewing.

BTW, I changed location to take pictures because on the previous one there were some patches of sunlight. Seeing these pictures, I also like this one, and you can see where I work on my sewing. What do you think?