Category Archives: Blouses & Tops

Cats Gardening Blouse

Having previously stated that I need to try some different/new patterns for blouses, I reverted to my TNT pattern for this novelty printed fabric – Cats gardening STELLA-DCJ1882 NAVY Clara in 100% cotton.

This print does not fit into my Golden Daffodils and Spring Greens theme but what the heck, those plans are not set into concrete!

I purchased 2 metres on the final afternoon when attending the Sewcial Retreat at Shepperton earlier in March. At a cost of £30 I did not want to ‘waste’ this pretty fabric on a new and untested pattern. However, I did draft a different short sleeve. Basically it is the puffed sleeve head with faced hem style that I have drafted for several other patterns.

I cut the bodice as per my usual pattern but when constructing I did find that the under arm was a little too high and the width around the middle and hips was too wide. The latter is easily rectified with some fish eye darts in the front bodice but I will have to re-think the shaping of the armscye and sleeve patterns for another time.

Once again I have stitched both my maker’s label and the fabric pattern design information selvedge onto the back neckline facing.

Simple Yellow spotted buttons from my stash complete the blouse.

TNT Short sleeved ‘Cats Gardening’ Blouse

I am very pleased with the blouse and plan to wear it with my dungarees when pottering in the garden!

Project #20 completed 31st March 2022

Newlyn Blouse #4

In keeping with the colour scheme that would use the terracotta thread packed for my Sewcial Retreat, I cut out yet another Newlyn Blouse with short puff sleeves from this beautiful cotton lawn that I purchased from Minerva.

I was not able to complete the blouse construction whilst at the Sewcial Retreat but as soon as possible on my return I was back in the Sewing Room beavering away to get this done.

This time using the ‘Newlyn’ pattern I cut my favourite short puffed-sleeve-head sleeves. As the fabric is a cotton lawn I knew that it would have a slightly different look as a finished garment to those made with viscose.

As I did not want toadd bulk by making French seams, all seams were overlocked. I added the back darts and slightly wider ties. Now that Ihave lost a little weight (puppy fat around my middle!) I was able to add some body darts to the front bodice which also helps to improve the silhouette.

The sleeve hem facing was hand stitched in place to avoid it flopping down. Hem on the facing and Shirt tail shaped hem on the bodice were overlocked and then turned and top stitched.

Five faux bone 4-hole buttons from my stash (I originally bought over 100 of these buttons from Abakhan, Mostyn, North Wales) and buttonholes down the front worked on my Brother 4000D machine.

Conclusion: A lovely straightforward sew. I love this pattern. Another time I may incorporate a shortened version into a dress with a 4-gore circular skirt. So watch this space.

Project #17 completed 17th March 2022

Libby Blouse #7

Using 2 metres of a beautiful Lewis & Irene cotton print purchased last year from Franklins I embarked on yet another version of the Libby blouse by Sew Over It.

The fabric is ‘Under the Oak Tree’ and was originally intended as a blouse/shirt to be worn in the Autumn.

Time has moved but as I was looking for fabrics in this colour palette to use when attending the Sewcial Retreat organised by Viv of Purple Stitches, this fitted the bill.

I cut the pattern as per the adjustments made previously that include adding to the side seams, extending the cap of the grown-on sleeves and adding 4 inches to the length of the shaped hemline of version 2.

The Lewis & Irene quilting cotton fabric stitched like a dream as it is such a stable weave, but once again, I approached the sewing of the collar with its partial collar stand with some trepidation. It took some time to get it just right but I am pleased with the end result.

To ensure that I never forget exactly which print I have used, I cut the information printed on the selvedge and stitched this, together with my makers label, to the inside of the back yoke facing.

My JUKI overlocker is back from its service and replacement of blades so I was able to use this to finish the seam allowances. The hem was first neatened with the overlocker before being turned twice and top-stitched in place.

Five coconut shell buttons for closure at the front and this Autumnal print blouse is complete.

Project #15 completed 11th March 2022

Alphabet Blouse

Hot on the heels of the recently purchased dungarees, I wanted to make a blouse that would assist in channeling my ‘Childrens TV presenter’ vibe.

I found this jolly quilting cotton (ABC Menagerie Abi Hall for moda) on ‘SALE’ at New Threads Quilt Shop, Weyhill Fairground, my local bricks and mortar fabric store. I purchased 2 metres at £6/metre intending to make the Gilbert by Helen’s Closet patterns…… I changed my mind – as I would not be able to purchase more of this print and just in case it did not work out, decided to make my TNT blouse with short sleeves instead. However, when I laid out the pattern pieces I was delighted to find that there was sufficient to make a long-sleeved blouse with shirt-tail hem so this would be a very versatile garment to be worn throughout the year.

I expanded the width of the sleeves to make them extra ‘pouffy’ and added the recently drafted deep double button cuff.

I don’t like to make French seams on quilting cottons as that is more substantial and makes those French seams a little too bulky. Now that the recently serviced Juki overlocker is back in the sewing room, all seams were overlocked for neatness.

Construction was straightforward as I have made this blouse ‘millions’ of times before! When it came to choosing buttons, I could not make up my mind between some pretty plain Yellow or plain Green. Then a ‘light bulb moment’ I selected some Green buttons with spots or stripes that I had bought in bulk from eBay sometime ago and have been lurking in my stash.

Whilst I am pleased with the completed blouse, in hindsight I think that the ‘pouffy’ sleeves are a little too much. This quilting cotton has a firm structure so is not as drapey as my usual viscose.

I will continue to wear the blouse but it may coordinate better with my Green Drill ‘Jane’ pinafore dress, details posted 9th January 2022.

Project #12B Completed 3rd March 2022

Newlyn blouse #3

In February I have continued ‘Going Green’ by using yet more of the pretty floral print on Light Green background Viscose from Rainbow Fabrics. This time I made up the ‘Newlyn’ blouse with my TNT short sleeves.

All seams were French seams as I have yet to re-install my newly serviced overlocker into the sewing room. I added the back darts and the ties plus shirt tail shaping to the hemline. The sleeve hem facing was machine top-stitched in place to avoid flopping down due to weight of this very fluid fabric. Hem on the facing and Shirt tail shaped hem on the bodice were folded twice and top stitched. I used five of the Cream buttons that I previously selected (and rejected) for use on the Janice #2 dress.

Conclusion: Another straightforward sew. I love this pattern but feel I really should try at least a couple of the many, many other blouse and top patterns that I have.

Project #9 completed 18th February 2022

The Richmond Blouse by Til the Sun Goes Down

I saw this particular pattern made up by Bobo-Bun on Instagram and was inspired to buy a copy for myself. I planned to make the blouse up in some recently purchased Lady McElroy Marie Lawn and as that fabric was expensive, decided to make a wearable muslin first.

After a quick check in my stash I came across some pretty Cotton Poplin in Light Brown with small Pink polka dots. I had originally purchased this fabric from Franklins in Salisbury to use as part lining for a jacket but as that project never proceeded, I washed the length of fabric and cut out the pattern to a size 22. NB. I merely glanced at the layout diagram hence the sleeves fronts and backs were cut on the straight grain – not the bias. I shall have to wait and see how that affects the fit !?

Most of the seams were French seams but when it came to setting in the raglan sleeves this was not possible as I knew they would need some adjustment. They have been neatened with zig-zag stitching (my overlocker is still away being serviced!).

First fitting: I discovered that the shoulders and chest were a little too large but around the waist/tummy/hips it was too small. This was partly due to the tucks and the depth of the side seams. The the v-neckline is also rather low. The shaping of the centre seam of the sleeves definitely needed taking in.

Changes: I re-shaped the bottom 10 inches of the centre sleeve seams and removed the tucks from the bodice front and back. This lessened the American Footballer-style shoulder line and gave sufficient ease to fit over the waist/tummy/hips.

I did not cut a back neck facing, instead using my TNT method and top stitched the back collar to the stay stitching. As a nod to making a special finish I neatened the raw edges of the front facings with Pale Pink satin bias binding. The collar was top stitched with two threads through the needle, stitch length 3.5mm. Hems on the sleeves and body of the blouse were first stitched at a 1/4 inch before a double turn and machine top-stitched in matching thread.

The five buttonholes were stitched with Pink thread and the five Pink buttons came from my stash. There is a spare sixth button stitched inside the front facing.

Pattern alterations for next time: Sway back adjustment, lengthen the bodice front and back by ½ inch at the side seams. Lengthen front bodice at centre front by 1½ inches grade to 0 at the side seam.

Conclusion: I like the style of the blouse, especially the shaping of the collar. I am reminded why I do not like raglan sleeves as I always have to adapt them. I am not particularly enamoured with the finished garment as the fabric is definitely too crisp for the style. The blouse will probably end up in the charity bag. However I think that I will have another trial run and this time use a woven viscose which should have the required softness and drape to showcase the vintage-style pattern.

Project #06 completed 24th January 2022

Short sleeved ‘Newlyn’ Blouse #2

Green palm leaves print viscose from Rainbow Fabrics; I love this print so much that I bought two further lengths of 6 metres when it was on sale. Having completed the long sleeved blouse. I went straight ahead and cut out another blouse.

This I used the ‘Newlyn’ pattern which is a ‘hack’ of a New Look 6731 pattern bought from eBay with my favourite short sleeves. It took 1.4 metres from one of the 6 metre lengths (I am saving the other 6 metres for a dress). As this fabric is is so mobile I quickly applied the fusible interfacing to the under collar, top collar/facing and the sleeve hem facings.

All seams were French seams with the first pass made on the overlocker. I added the back darts and the narrow ties. I may go back later and add body darts in the front. The sleeve hem facing was hand stitched with herringbone stitch to avoid it flopping down. Hem on the facing and shirt tail-shaped hem on the bodice were overlocked and then turned and top stitched. Seven coconut shell buttons and buttonholes down the front worked on the Brother 550SE machine.

Conclusion: A lovely straightforward sew. I love, love this pattern! Next, as a palate cleanser to the Green Palm Leaves viscose I am working on a Forest Green Poly/cotton Drill pinafore dress to coordinate with the latest two blouses.

Project #2 completed 5th January 2022

Repeat – Long sleeved Blouse

For the month of January I intend to ‘Go Green’, by that I mean that I would like to concentrate on projects using fabrics with a Green theme. I have several lengths selected and I hope to use them on ‘new to me’ patterns plus some old favourites.

The first project was a long sleeved blouse (‘Carmen’) using a TNT pattern, last made as the first project of 2021. What a coincidence that the pattern was again to be the first make of 2022!

For this project I used 1.6 metres from one of the 6 metre lengths of the Green Palm leaves viscose that I bought sometime ago from Rainbow Fabrics. This blouse, when combined with the Jenna skirt by Seamwork will look like a shirt dress, a similar effect to that used for the Blue viscose blouse/skirt combo that I made this time last year.

When cutting out I noticed that I had already made the forward shoulder adjustment, apart from that the construction was straightforward. I used French seams throughout and the edges of the facing were neatened by overlocking before a single turn hem.

The long sleeves have gentle gathering at the shoulders, a continuous lap placket and lots of gathering into single button cuff. Buttonholes stitched beautifully on my ‘Sewing Retreat’ Brother 550SE machine, all the coconut shell buttons were also stitched on the machine.

The hem was overlocked and then turned inside so that there are no raw edges. Once again I have added a shirt tail-shaped hem so that the blouse tucks into skirts easily but can also be worn outside trousers.

I am very happy with the final result blouse and as I love this print so much went ahead and cut out another blouse.

Project #01 completed 2nd January 2022

Review & Plans

According to the ‘likes’ on my instagram pages the following were my ‘Magnificent Seven’:-

1 Freya Blue Cowl neck top – viscose jersey – Rainbow Fabics

2 New Look 6731 Palm Leaf Blouse – viscose challis – Rainbow Fabrics

3 By Hand London Hannah wrap dress – check poly/cotton duvet – Dunelm

4 Hack New Look 6731 short sleeve blouse – cotton remnant – C&H fabrics

5 ‘Moira’ Moonflower dress – viscose challis – Rainbow Fabrics

6. Love Notions Melody Blouse – viscose challis – Rainbow Fabrics

7 ‘Jane’ Pinafore dress – Autumnal print curtaining cotton remnant – eBay

An interesting result that demonstrates my ‘conversion’ to Viscose substrate purchased mostly from Rainbow Fabrics and also the use of recycled and/or refashioned woven fabrics.

For 2022 I am determined to whittle down my stash of both fabrics and patterns. To that end I have unsubscribed from all those companies that regularly send inviting mails with enticing photographs of new and exciting fabrics and dressmaking patterns.

For the month of January I intend to ‘Go Green’, by that I mean that I would like to concentrate on projects using fabrics with a Green theme. I have several lengths selected and I hope to use them on ‘new to me’ patterns plus some old favourites.

The first project is a long sleeved blouse (‘Carmen’) using a TNT pattern, last made as the first project of 2021. What a coincidence that the pattern will again be the first make of 2022!

1st January 2022

Freya #9

Now here is probably the last Freya that I will be making in 2021! I used 2 metres of Viscose Jersey bought from Dalston Mill for £13.20. The picture on the website made the fabric seem like just the shade of Forest Green that I have been looking for. Unfortunately however, when it arrived it was much more like a Deep Teal. Never mind it is still a good colour that will fit into my colour palette.

The fabric is very lightweight and again I was back to ‘herding cats’ as it slipped and slid all over the place. Once I had ‘wrangled’ the fabric into submission it took very little time to run up the new Freya. I added double cuffs to the sleeves and turned up the hem with twin needle stitching.

As a break from jersey sewing I am now working on a new self-drafted pattern for a woven fabric dress. Keep watching…..

project #96 completed 20th December 2021