This blouse was supposed to be my first Sew Weekly challenge back in, um well a long time ago. I signed up to be a contributing member for 2012 to the Sew Weekly Sewing blog. I'm one of about 140 members who sew and post their results according to a challenge issued by the site's administrators. Each contributor has the opportunity to be featured on the blog, but I'm pretty certain that requires finishing on time. So I'm way behind at this point. While I need to revisit my bandwidth to see if I can keep up with these amazing sewists, I was determined to finish this blouse once I started.
The challenge was buttons. I decided to keep it simple and use the Sencha pattern from Colette Patterns. A vintage styled blouse with buttons up the back. I knew right away that I wanted to make the buttons a design feature. Sewing with commercial patterns is pretty new to me. I'm a self taught seamstress, and devised my own measuring and draping techniques that served me pretty well for a long time. After I went to the MA Art program for Fashion Design, I learned to make my own patterns. Since I don't have slopers in my own size, I thought trying out some commercial patterns would be a fun and easy way to get back into sewing. I also thought it would be a great way to learn more about custom fitting patterns and present easy design basics. I tend to make projects more complicated then they need to be sometimes so I also thought this would be a great way to keep it simple.
The process went pretty smoothly. I cut the pattern, drafted a muslin, re-cut the pattern, and made adjustments for a short torso, in one afternoon. To make the adjustment for petites most patterns tell you to cut it at the waist and raise it to measure. If you are petite you know this is not really an ideal solution. It doesn't shorten the width of the shoulders the neckline/bust-line or shorten the height of the arm holes, all serious issues for a petite fit. Since this pattern didn't have set arms and had a sort of raglan shoulder I know the fabric would probably drape ok. After three months, (?) when I finally went back to it, all I had to do was buttons and finishing.
You would think that the buttons wouldn't be an issue for someone with 6 sewing machines. Yes 6. But the combination of machines and attachments or lack of proved to be a maddening exercise. Two of my newer machines (1960s-1970s) turned out to be broken in one way or another and my 1940s refurbished machines include every attachment under the sun, except the appropriate button-holer. So I had to break out my first new machine. The Singer 160, the limited edition vintage styled machine that Singer released for their 160th anniversary. If you sew, you know that machines have personalities and getting to know a new one can take some time. Having never used a digital machine, I had to get used to the automated features with less than ideal illustrations in the manuals. It seems like a good solid machine and the button-holer is what I would call adequate for basic buttons. My 1970s machine has far more sophisticated button options, so guess it's worth fixing. After fighting with it for a full day, I finally realized I was threading the bobbin incorrectly and was able to finish the blouse! Viola.
If you've made it this far, thanks for reading my wordy post. Hopefully I'll learn to write about sewing in a more interesting way. If you have any questions on my fitting process, fitting for petites or my experience with this pattern, ask away.