Posted on Saturday the 30th September 2017 by Michelle Sews
Hi all!I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling like we skipped autumn/fall and have gone straight into winter in the last couple of weeks! Brr, I’ve been cold. This month’s project has definitely been chosen with the change of seasons in mind. I decided to make a couple of wardrobe basics that will slot nicely into my winter working wardrobe.As usual, when I was choosing the supplies for this batch of projects, I went with the choice of fabrics first.
This twill weave suiting caught my eye immediately - and I can see it must have appealed to everyone else, because it seems to be sold out! It’s a really lovely shade of blue - not too intense to wear the office, but nice enough to introduce some colour as an alternative to black - and has a lovely weave. It was described as a soft, medium weight suiting, and I thought it would make a lovely pair of trousers. When it arrived, it was rather stiff, so I was slightly worried that it wouldn’t actually be suitable for trousers, but it came out of the pre-wash feeling softer. It still had a good amount of body to it, so I kept that in mind when looking for a trouser pattern.
One thing I always seem to struggle with in the morning is choosing a blouse to wear, so I thought I would make a nice ivory blouse. It’s actually proven harder than I would have thought to find the perfect ivory blouse material - I wanted something opaque enough not to have to wear a cami underneath, soft enough for a feminine, drapey blouse, and in a shade of ivory that complements my skin tone. I think I hit the jackpot with this texture poly Crepe Fabric (currently on sale - bargain!). I love the finished blouse so much that I ordered more of this fabric to make a couple of different styles of the classic white blouse.
Fabrics chosen, the next task was to choose the patterns!
When I saw Vogue Pattern 9189 (view D), I thought it would be a great match for the ‘body' of the twill fabric. I’ll be honest though, while I’ve admired vintage trousers like these from a distance, I wasn’t sure they would suit my body type. Post-children, my abdominal muscles have given up, and depending on the time of day and what I’ve eaten, my waist measurement has a range of about 3”, and is a size or two bigger than my bust and hips. Nevertheless, I decided to follow my instincts and try them out. In my head, I love a high waisted trouser. Might it work…? I was going to find out! I did a tissue fit and some quick measurements of the pattern piece and decided to add 1/2” to the back rise.
For the blouse, I knew I was going to use the Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse Pattern, which I’ve made before, from my stash. I made a few alterations:
- I cut the front on the fold to avoid having a seamline at centre front, leaving the resulting additional ease in there;- I lowered the point of the ‘v’ neckline by about 3/4”; and- I added a curve to the collar tie pattern piece to make the bow wider shortly below where it is joined to the point of the neckline, tapering the curve back down to keep the ends skinny. This is what makes the ‘looped’ part of the tie look fuller than the ends, if that makes sense.The amended pattern piece for the collar tie looks like this:
Construction of both garments was surprisingly quick and easy.I forget how quick it can be to make a pair of trousers!I cut a size 12, which was recommended for my hip measurement, although for my waist my recommended size is more like a 14. I always find the waist too big on trousers (even those I’ve made before) so I decided to stick with the 12 at the waist, even though there wasn’t much ease in its finished measurement. The end result is possibly the best fit I’ve ever had at the waist, and is great… when I’m standing up! Sitting down, I could wear them at the desk all day, but I probably wouldn’t want to eat much. I forgot to account for the fact that they’re high waisted and therefore that ease probably would have come in handy. Oh well! I’ve recently joined the gym so hopefully once I tame my tummy, they’ll be perfect for the office. Until then, I would happily wear them to a cocktail/networking event where I’m more likely to be standing.
I followed the instructions on V9189 with the exception of the lapped zip (for which I just inserted an invisible zip as usual!) and the fact that I used snaps rather than a button, on the waistband. Also - the instructions don’t mention finishing the seams, anywhere! I serged all of mine, and also interfaced the side seam where the zip was inserted, to support that zip. One thing I did like about the pattern is that there are pieces for petite, average, and tall - meaning for once, the length was perfect!
The blouse was an even quicker make. Again, I used the serger to finish all the inside seams, and serged the hem and sleeve hems before turning them up and stitching in place. I decided, along the way, to cut the sleeves an inch longer, so I could just turn up the hems rather than gathering them into the sleeve cuff. I then stitched a little inverted pleat along the sleeve hem for what I think is a unique little detail. The pussy bow blouse is such a classic pattern and I know I want loads in my wardrobe - but I also don’t want them to all look the same, so I’m happy to have worked out a couple of tweaks that can make them look a little less alike.
And that’s pretty much all there is to say about these! I’m very happy with them, and will definitely be making a few more pairs of the trousers (perhaps with a smidge more eating room!). As usual, I want to say a big thank you to Minerva for the supplies and the opportunity to be part of this fab network! I love seeing everyone’s projects each month - so much inspiration to be found here!