I’m super excited to show you my first make! Technically it’s not the first garment I’ve ever sewn, but it’s the first one in a long, long time and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.
The pattern is from Storybook Patterns and came free with an issue of Simply Sewing magazine a few months ago. The loose swing shape is ideal for my apple shaped figure and doesn’t need any fitting around the waist. I enjoy a challenge and I want to push myself to learn new things so I wasn’t put off by the collar. A few people told me that I was crazy to tackle a collared blouse as my first project but I loved the pattern and I’m not known for my patience!
I found the pattern fairly easy to follow and the illustrations were helpful. A couple of the instructions were really confusing to my beginners brain and I had to resort to common sense and guesswork, but luckily there was no unpicking to be done. There was also a misprint on the pattern. A couple of the dashed lines were actually the same so I think at some point I wobbled between one size and another when tracing but it doesn’t seem to have caused too much trouble.
It took me a couple of days to complete this project and I had a few disasters along the way. Firstly, I cut the pieces with the fabric folded wrong sides together. I don’t know what I was thinking! Luckily, the top is symmetrical so it still worked.
Next, I used some cheap red polyester thread for my basting stitches, then melted them with a hot iron. The marks are all on the inside so it doesn’t matter too much.
Then, I used black tailors chalk for the pattern markings. On cream fabric. Doh! Thankfully the marks have come out after washing but I had to be really careful not to iron over any of them whilst I was pressing.
Speaking of ironing, be prepared to press this fabric! It’s cotton and creases like there’s no tomorrow. Believe it or not it was ironed just before I took these photos. Within minutes of putting it on it looks crumpled, which is a real shame but can’t be helped. It’d probably be better suited to a more fitted garment so there’s less fabric to bunch up and crease.
I also think it was a bit too stiff for this pattern. I ended up taking about 7 inches from the side seams. It was just too voluminous to be flattering because the fabric sort of stuck out at the side seams. I think if I’d chosen something with more drape it would have been fine without any alterations.
I attempted to make bias binding for the armholes with the remnants, but it was really fiddly. I resorted to some bought binding that’s just a bit too dark for the top so I may replace that at a later date. The other thing that drives me a teensy bit mad is that I was a bit careless on one side of the back yoke so there’s some stitching peeping out where it shouldn’t be. I really wish I’d taken more care, noticed the mistake and gone back to correct it.
All in all, I really enjoyed making this and, if I can find the right fabric, I’d like to do another one with a contrast collar. It’s far from perfect but I’m rather proud of my first finished garment and I’ve already worn it. It’s got me itching to sew more!