Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A summer blouse

I have wanted to make this summer blouse from Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing from the moment I got the book.  I love this book and have made so many things from it over the last year, but this blouse had mixed reviews from the many people who made it and I hesitated.

However, I kept coming back to the picture in the book and the many fine examples on the Flickr group.  I really wanted one of my own.

The criticisms centred around:
  • the placket - too low
  • the sleeves - too long
  • the length of the top - too short
  • the ncekline - too high
But what I really appreciate about Heather's book is that she assumes you will adjust the patterns, and she makes it easy for you to do so.  Indeed when you are sewing clothes, rather than buying them, the great benefit is that you can adjust them to fit and look exactly how you want.

I traced the pattern, and then looked at the pieces and made some adjustments.
  • I made the front and back 8cm longer
  • I adjusted the front neckline a tiny bit - by tracing the pattern line slightly lower(about 1cm I guess)
  • I lopped 12cm off the placket
I left the sleeves as they were because I have long arms, and like my sleeves to come well over my wrists, as they do in the photo of the blouse in the book, but in the end I cut off 4cm when the blouse was finished - they did come out very long.

The main fabric I used is an old Amy Butler one - as ever my choice for a first attempt was determined primarily by what fabric I had enough of.  It is a green and purple flower print in quilting-weight cotton, and works well.  A lawn or voile would be even nicer, so I am now saving up even more determinedly for some of that Anna Maria Horner fabric I have been dreaming of for what seems like so long (but in fact must only be a few weeks).

The contrast fabric is by Phillip Jacobs for Rowan.  It is the geranium leaf pattern in the bravely named 'sludge' colourway.  I just love this fabric - despite its off-putting name.  I bought it to make a jewellery roll for my mother-in-law at Christmas, because she requested something in purple, and when it arrived I immediately wanted to make so many things with it.

Weekend Sewing is aptly named because you could very easily make this blouse in a weekend.  I made it in a day, including the slow pattern tracing, and rummaging on the internet for tips on adjustments.  I love how it looks - the swingy shape, the long sleeves, the simple, open neckline.  I will wear it and wear it (and make a whole lot more of them).

The final adjustment I made was to hem the wrists and the bottom with the contrasting binding rather than just a plain hem.  I do love that geranium fabric.

The only thing I would do differently next time is to miss off the button loop - which was fiddly anyway.  The shirt doesn't need closing, and the neckline hangs open so beautifully to reveal the contrasting fabric.  It is simply a lovely, wearable design.


  1. The top is lovely. I like the material too. I have that book but haven't made anything from it yet, your post has encouraged me to have a go at that top too.

  2. That's come out really well - I've had my eye on that pattern too but not dared to try it because of all the problems people have related. Your work is gorgeous though!

    And the photo of you smiling into the mirror is perfect :-)

  3. awesome! looks good on you, too

  4. Nice! I've been hesitating on this one, too, but you've de-scared me significantly.

  5. Everything about this post sums up the whole essence of bloggistes for me! I'm going to save it into favourites as a template!

  6. really lovely, you are clever x

  7. Looks good on you! I made one, but it was too big for me, so I gave it to my Mum. She has gathered many compliments when wearing it. As I am sure you will!

    Don't you just love the Internet for getting the lowdown on a pattern?

  8. it's lovely, and looks fab on you too! I love the fabric, and it's a brilliant 'lazing in a field whilst camping and drinking cider whilst reading' top too. I am sure you have already considered that as an option though!x

  9. Forgive me if this seems spammy, but, after reading your blog and learning about your hope to buy some of AMH's voile, I thought I'd pass on a link to an etsy store that's having a 20% off sale on everything in her store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/sewlovefabrics

    Hope some comes your way soon!

  10. God, don't you just hate talented people.

  11. I'm v.impressed Nancy, it looks like it was designed with you in mind, loving the material too.
    Will O be getting a mini version? I really think she'd look lovely in the CK, Cotton Duck, blue cherry fabric, she has the just the right colouring for it!! Go on, you know you want to!
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend,
    Jane. x

  12. Excellent collar! It really came out well and I like the spring-theme fabric too.

  13. The top is beautiful - I've been wanting to make it for ages too........ might just try it now!

    I've just discovered your blog through seeing you in several mutual friend's "friends" groups on MySewingCircle - So HELLO!!! Your blog is lovely! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to find you.

    Lucy x

  14. I've been wanting to get that book. Great to see things that are made from it!

    I have a weekly Thursday blog party especially for people to share things they've made to be worn. Stop by if you'd like!


Even though I often do not have the time to reply to everybody, I really appreciate all your comments so much - thank you for taking the time to read my blog and share your thoughts on what I've written.