Hello all of you, my dear sewing friends! I cannot tell you how excited I am to be here on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network for my first post! I knew that I wanted to make something that was a little special, and I think I did a pretty good job. While this outfit might not look like anything too out of the ordinary, it is, as I will explain in a moment.

I used the flared skirt pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. Actually, I don’t own the book (it’s on my Christmas list!) but last summer my sister-in-law purchased it and I borrowed the book to make a denim flared skirt. I used that skirt as a pattern for this one. I quite liked the overall shape of the skirt, but there were a couple of things I changed. I drafted a waistband, but since the original skirt sits lower than my natural waist it was four inches too big to fit into the waistband. To remedy this, I added four ½ inch darts, two in the front and two in the back. I used darts rather than gathers because I wanted it to be a smooth flare from the waist to the hem. Gathers tend to add puff.

I underlined it with a lovely brown Organza Fabric. The beauty of the underlining is that now it won’t stick to tights or leggings when I layer it up for the colder months. I added some simple in-seam side pockets and used an invisible zipper in the back. One of my favorite parts of this skirt is the hook and loop that I was able to use on the lapped waistband. I much prefer this style of hook and loop as it is so flat and streamlined. Plus, it is easier than a button and buttonhole!

Onto the blouse. I have to admit, this blouse was a bit touch and go. I didn’t think it was going to work out. I made this from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. It is the bow-tied blouse pattern. I have used the patterns from Gertie’s books before, so I thought this would be pretty simple. I sewed up a size 8. (This is the size the book said to make according to my measurements.) Unfortunately, I have found time and again that the patterns from her books run small. I thought I would be fine this time, but I should have known better. . . Thankfully, my husband was able to help me try it on before I completely finished it. I put it on and had him overlap it in the back to see how snug it was. For the first fitting, it barely overlapped at all! I almost gave up right then, but my common sense got the better of me and I decided that there was no point in giving up without at least trying to fix it.

If I had been using a zipper in the back instead of buttons, I think it would have fit. Zippers usually require less overlap than buttons. As it was, I ended up reducing the side seams to ¼ inch and only used a ? inch seam allowance when attaching the back facing. That gave me an extra inch or two which was all I needed! It was such a relief when I tried it on again and received the good news that it might actually be okay!

One thing to note, I read a couple reviews on this pattern before I used it, and I found that several people had issues with the neck band being too tight. I just reduced the seam allowances on the collar, and increased the seam allowance when I attached it to the neckline. I was still a little worried that it would still choke me, but once it was on buttoned, and the bow tied, it worked out perfectly!

I used bound buttonholes, following the instructions in the same book. I have always been rather intimidated by the thought of doing bound buttonholes, but these couldn’t have been easier! The instructions were very simple to follow, and after just one test run to make sure I understood everything, I was good to go. I actually quite like the look of these versus machine buttonholes. Plus, it meant I didn’t have to worry about messing up the blouse by sewing buttonholes at the very end!

And now I must tell you what is so special about this little outfit. When I sew, I normally just randomly pick a pattern and grab some fabric from my stash and hope for the best. With this outfit, I really thought through what I was going to make. I sketched out a little plan and spent a good deal of time figuring out what Fabrics would go perfectly with my chosen patterns. Because of this, I now have a cute coordinating outfit that I can also mix and match with other things in my wardrobe. I cannot tell you how amazing that is! I feel as if I’ve discovered some rare secret. Hopefully, this will inspire me to be a little more thoughtful about the clothes I spend my time creating!

Thank you so much for reading!

Jolly day to you!

~Emily