Sunday 28 March 2021

An emergency blouse, and back to black

I had my first Covid-19 jab on Monday - woohoo! In honour of the occasion (and let's face it, any excuse to go out is worth making an effort for at present), I decided to follow the examples of @susanyoungsewing and @daisycreatesglam and dress up in me-made clothing for the occasion. But there was a problem. It's too cold for any of my sleeveless summer dresses at present, and a check of my wardrobe two days before my appointment confirmed that I own no sleeveless tops, either me-made or bought.

Of course, the only solution was to make one. A search through my patterns turned up this one, which I've wanted to make for a while because I love the neckline on views B and C. It's the right size as well, which was handy as I didn’t have time for regrading.

Style 1195, late 50s/early 60s?

Finding fabric was tricky. Because I mostly make dresses, I tend to buy my fabric in dress lengths, and using part of a dress length to make a blouse seemed wasteful. Fortunately, I discovered a piece of cotton which I'd acquired when my mum had a destash and which was, despite a tear at one end and a printing error at the other, just long enough for making a sleeveless version of the top.

This medium-weight cotton was perfect

I also found that I had three buttons which were a perfect match for the gold accents in the print, so decided to make a sleeveless version of view B.

Usually I read through the pattern instructions before starting a project but, because it was a simple design and I was short of time, this time I just ploughed straight in (you immediately know that this was a bad idea, don't you?!). It's a printed pattern, and views A, B and C use the same pattern pieces. They had already been cut out to make a sleeved version of view A, so I traced off shortened versions of the front and back with the view B neckline, and also cut out the armhole facing pieces.

Everything went together very easily until I came to attach the completed armhole facings, at which point I discovered that they were far smaller than the armholes they were meant to face. It was only at this point that I looked at the pattern envelope properly, and discovered my mistake. There are two cutting lines for the armhole, the version for sleeves is the larger one, and the pattern had been cut to this.

If only I'd looked at this properly . . .

The bodice front piece for views D and E was uncut, and this shows the different cutting lines clearly.

. . . or this

The unintentional armhole shape didn't look bad when the top was worn, but enlarging it by the 1.5cm/⅝" of a seam allowance all round might have made it too big. So instead of drafting new facings, I used the bias binding method used for New Look 6643 - fortunately I had some wide white binding in my stash.

Problem solved

The buttons are the right diameter for the pattern, but with very chunky rims, so any buttonholes would have had to be huge for them to fit through. Instead, I just sewed the buttons on and fastened the blouse with snaps.

Perfect, if chunky, buttons

The pattern has darts at the waist, tapering to the hem. I didn't have time to do these before wearing the blouse on Monday morning, and I still can't decide whether or not to bother with them. I quite like to have the option to wear the blouse untucked, and loose and boxy. For my jab, I wore it tucked in and with a belt. And I got a sticker!

Spot the "I've had my Covid jab" sticker!

I wore the blouse with the black and white skirt that I made a couple of years ago, and it was fine, but as I was getting dressed I thought, "What this top really needs is a black skirt". Hardly a radical thought for most people, but a quick glance through the gallery pages of this blog will show that I Don't Wear Black. My graduation gown a year ago was the most black I've worn since Mr Tulip's funeral, and even that felt a bit odd. But, yesterday marked seven years since Mr Tulip died, and for the first time the concept of making and wearing something in that colour didn't seem impossible. When looking for blouse fabric, I had come across some black fabric which I acquired when a friend's mum had a destash, and it's currently on my worktable being made into a skirt. Progress can take many forms, not all of them obvious.

Update: 31/03/2021
The skirt is now complete; lined, and constructed with an internal waistband of curved petersham - a new technique for me and a look which I've discovered I really like. (So when the shops reopen I will now be forced, forced you understand, to visit my local fabric shop purely to stock up on curved petersham!) Here is is with the blouse loose and tucked in, and an updated Stashometer.

I think I'll keep the option to wear it untucked

Another 3.2m used in total


  1. The blouse looks so cute! I love your trick of snaps behind the buttonholes.

  2. Thank you Gabriela. I've also used it where an exact pattern match is important to the look of the finished garment.