I like how this turned out, but I doubt I'll ever wear it for the following reasons:
~I bought this mega cheapo lightweight poly cotton for £1.50 a metre from Walthamstow market (there's a stall that sells mainly this kind of fabric, in myriad pretty prints). It does not feel nice against the skin. If I wear it at all, it will probably be with a camisole underneath. It's a bit too poly and not enough cotton for my liking. I bought a few metres in different prints from the same stall, but now that I know what the fabric feels like to wear, I'll probably only use them for muslins. In this case, I got what I paid for.
~Not-lightweight-enough interfacing. Well, this is a rookie mistake that I'm surprised I haven't made already. I think the interfacing I used is too stiff, and the cute peter pan collar doesn't want to lay flat and be demure and elegant (it wants to be wings, and flap about and maybe fly). It's for this reason alone that the blouse fails.
~The buttons are pretty meh, but this is because I realised this blouse was never going to be, so I just chose whatever I had 7 of in my button box to check that the fit was right.
~I'm not so sure about the leopard print on me. I love animal prints on other people, but I don't own a single such item of clothing or accessory - is this because it isn't really me?
~And last, but not least, this:
|Holy mangled buttonholes, Batman!|
That said, why then is this the Top of Significant Achievement? Three words:
Small. Bust. Adjustment.
Ever since I started sewing clothes, I knew that sooner or later I would have to learn how to make an SBA (especially if I wanted to enjoy Colette patterns). And while there seems to be a lot of help out there for FBAs, I couldn't find much to help those of a more modest bosom. Or at least I couldn't find much that I could get my head around.
My first attempt was so baggy and shapeless in the bust that I very nearly gave up on the pattern altogether - it just seemed too much work and I didn't know where to start. So I hit the books and found the answer in Perfect Fit: A Practical Guide to Adjusting Sewing Patterns for a Professional Finish (available via Amazon). This book is great - lots of photos showing what the fitting problems are, and guidance on how to make both a minor fix and a major adjustment to the pattern pieces. The photos are a bit 90s, but I found the book really helpful. (Megan Nielsen also recently covered a similar process for SBAs on her blog.)
|the adjusted pattern piece over the original size 0 front piece|
Other reasons I'm pleased
- Buttonholes. These are my first buttonholes, and with the exception of the mangled one, they weren't the disaster I expected. The automatic buttonhole feature on my sewing machine is a big help!
- Piping. I have piped. Yippee! The piping was part of a goodie bag of treats from Claire and Zoe, who hosted the Brighton blogger meet-and-swap. I've never piped before, and after seeing Winnie's perfect pink elephants Violet, I really wanted to try it out. I might be hooked - I love the effect.
- Collar and placket. I hadn't made either of these before.
Thoughts on the Violet
I like it. And I definitely want to make it again in a nicer fabric. What I don't like are the facings. I know the problem with this particular make is that the interfacing is too stiff, and it all feels a bit cardboardy. But in general, I am not a fan of facings. I have the Banksia pattern (cut out in similar fabric, and oops, the same interfacing was used - d'oh!), which uses bias binding to finish the collar seams - if this works well for me, I might adopt it for future Violets. Also, as mentioned, I'd like to take a bit of the extra roominess out of the back. Only a bit though, as I like the looser fit of this blouse.
Question about interfacing
So tell me, do you use fusible interfacing? Or sew-in? Or do you use something else (lightweight muslin, for example)?
I'm certain you'll have read Tilly's thought-provoking post on the real cost of sewing. Since I've started sewing, I've found I no longer buy as many clothes as I did before: a combination of "I could probably make that myself" attitude, and an increased awareness of low quality fabrics and finish has made me think twice about buying in the high street. Unfortunately, I doubt I've saved a huge amount of money, because I do like to buy lovely (and unfortunately not-so-inexpensive) fabrics (Liberty, I'm talking to you), and I tend to buy more fabric than I've actually used so far.
I'm going to start summing up the approximate cost of each make. I don't think it's worth it this time, as I've decided (for the purpose of costs) to chalk this one up as a muslin, so I'll do the sums when I finish the "final" version, taking into account the cost of materials for this one.