My fabric choice boiled down to which fabric had enough width and length. I chose a 100% cotton advertised as shirting. Once washed, it lost the crisp feel I expect from shirting. So where once I might have made it into CLD’s the Blouse Perfected, now I thought it might be more appropriate for this 90’s style. The extra ease in the 90’s required soft fabrics which drape; or at least drape a little better than a crisp shirting.
As predicted, sewing was a joy. I finished the bottom hem first. I used bias strips and eased them around the corners. Next I stitched in front darts and then sleeve fronts to the front and sleeve backs to the back. Oh did I mention, I placed the center front on a fold? As long as I wasn’t adding that center, slot-seam, I didn’t see the need to add a seam to the center front. Once the sleeves were attached, I stitched from hem to neckline. I made sure to carefully align and pin the shoulder/armscye seam. Done correctly, this is a flowing elegant line. Get the crossing seam off and it’s a bit jarring. (Oh well, I could always wear a vest.) Just before starting all the sewing, I had scooped the front neckline about 2″. Now I finished it with a bias strip. I spent about 5 minutes preparing this bias strip. First I cut it, then folded and pressed in half (long edges together) and then I pressed while pulling the folded edge. That final press and pull, builds curvature into the bias strip which made it much easier to attach smoothly. Otherwise, the neck binding was pretty standard for me. I baste the raw edges together leaving a 4″ opening. Then I measure and clip at the point they will meet. I stitch, permanently stitching, the short ends together. Finally I serge the neckline on the serger before spending 5 more minutes pressing the neckline into its final place.
At this point I basted the side seams. I tried on the blouse and took a look in the mirror before taking a few pics. Up close my fabric is an interesting strip of soft browns and a soft orange. Despite the orange, it has a muted appearance. However standing 3′ away from the mirror, it look like a big boring sack.
OK, this blouse is not sitting squarely on my shoulders. Somehow, it’s dropped off to my right. I also have not installed shoulder pads. I don’t have any raglan pads and not sure about installing the regular half-moon shape.
Overall, the fit is about what I expected. It is the color which is killing me. I spent a few hours, one eye on the TV the other on my NOOK, looking for possible solutions. I surfed Eileen Fisher and Net-A-Porter looking for two solution: 1) how are the designers currently handling excess ease; and 2) how are the designers handling boring fabric. The answers were astounding.
Answer to Question #1: Big loose fashions are back in style. The designers are just letting the excess ease hang and billow. The difference is that the garments are much shorter than they were in the 90’s. My ABO-Ebb is right on trend:
The other difference with the 90’s I noted was that the armscye sits on the shoulder not the bicep. Again, my ABO-Ebb is right on trend
Question #2. Ignore the lack of interest. No seriously, I saw more plain unadorned tops than anything else. Half-way through the Net-A-Porter slide show (26 pages with 60 garments on each page), I started noting bright but pastel colors. Not the soft orange of my blouse, but a bright peach straight from the Amazon. (The world region not the on-line seller.) Not too much in the way of structures either. A few ruffles left over from last year and a hangy-down-in-the-front thing I couldn’t figure out and wouldn’t wear. (It’s a safety issue folks. That kind of stuff finds its way into the most dangerous spots.) A surprising number of raglan tops in plain colors grey, black white. Or, the designers completely cover the front of the garment with paint. I do like profuse embellishment but at do it in the fabric stage, not at the end when I’m tweaking fit. Maybe the last half of the Net-A-Porter slide show is different. The only exciting garment I saw was Carolines lace top. I noted and saved a number of tops with sheer sections or mostly sheer. I might make use of sheer sections, but not with this garment.
I was left wondering, what to do with this blouse? I loved sewing it. With the right fabric and a few fitting tweaks, this would be a fabulous go-to pattern. I don’t think I’d make it sleeveless without some more pattern alterations (the armscye is far too low). But I loved that the pattern is drafted for woven non-stretch fabrics (Loes Hines Boat Neck Top is best with knits.). I have some lovely rayons and a charmeuse or two that could be wonderful. Sigh, life demands my participation elsewhere at the moment. I’ll have to come back to this problem later.