Pushing myself… But ended up forcing it?

The project, view B
The project, view B

I haven’t made a (button front, collared) blouse in decades. To me, they are super challenging to do well, look professional. I’ve avoided it since starting back, even while amassing patterns and appropriate fabric in the stash.

I took the plunge this week. I had some leftover white linen. I chose a pattern (Vogue 8747 View B). I read David Coffins shirt making book several times. I knew I wanted flat felled seams (a completely finished inside, especially with linen).

So many challenges! Do you know how many tutorials exist for a felling foot? I have a four mm, and after trial and error, and reading Coffin again and again, I got the look I wanted. Very narrow, very finished seams. Not perfect, especially on those front princess seams.  But I liked the look:

Love that side back seam!
Love that side back seam!

Small misstep on the shoulder seams. Still okay.

Tonight I did the armsyce body seam (set the sleeves flat) a la Coffin. Using white linen. My back hurts. I forced it. In one way they look great. I can see the potential. But they aren’t even close to even and with white linen, you can see. Looks worse on my dress form.

Armsyce seam, from the outside, looking at the front.  Yuck.
Armsyce seam, from the outside, looking at the front. Yuck.
And from the inside.
And from the inside.

I’m so close to done. Side seams- last of flat felling, collar, front placket.

But I have to walk away and do something else.

I know I need some more practice! Advice and suggestions welcome!

(Looking at it this morning, yes, it’s bad, but I think I can pull it out and fix it.  Just not yet).

“It looks like a 60s dress.”



This is what DH said when I asked him to evaluate the hem level on this dress.  I was so proud of him, because, of course, it is.  This Pierre Cardin Vogue Paris Original dates to 1968.

I know, it’s late August, and many of you are thinking wool coats… but from what I understand, I have a couple more months of summer left here in Florida.  And I wanted something different and fun for entertaining, though I originally envisioned it as pool cover-up.  I’d been eying the “Lovely Leaves Cotton Eyelet” at Gorgeous Fabrics for some time, and when I saw the pattern on E-Bay, I knew I had my match.



I had decisions to make throughout the process – to underline or not.  If so, what color? The instructions say to underline, but since I decided on cotton batiste, what was I going to underline the trim with – self fabric or interface?  Should I pleat the top, or gather?  How short should I go?

What I should have done was make a muslin!  I figured a simple, loose dress like this would be forgiving… and it was, but I could have made a better dress (and matched the pattern better) had I done so.  In particular, I would have realized how bulky the fabric would be gathered or pleated.

In any case, I photographed the picture with the pattern and fabric to IMG_0816ask my GMIL.  She loved the fuchsia as an underlining – and since that was only a scrap, I dyed some white batiste I had on hand.  Underlining meant that I could wear it more than pool-side.  In fact, I wore it last night to a dinner party (which explains some of the wrinkles in the photos).  Underlining also meant I would be able to hide the seams, which I finished with a Hong Kong finish.

Construction notes:

This was an easy dress, for the most part.  Many of my issues could be traced to a lack of muslin, and/or not reading the instructions correctly.  First, tissue fitting led me to believe the fit would be about right – but when I tried on the basted dress, I knew I was going to have to take in both side back seams an inch each (no CB seam and neckline placement was perfect).  Second, I quickly learned the hemline was too long.  While the drawing shows it above the knee, it was midi-length on me, and I’m 5’9″.  I could have saved some fabric for another use.

 IMG_0838IMG_0839  (BEFORE)

I was so proud of my back placket!  I’ve struggled with these in the past, getting them to lie flat.  I did it – but then after I attached the bands, realized that I folded and pressed in the wrong direction.  I pulled it out and fixed it – the bands weren’t designed to overlap, just meet.  Decide for yourself.

IMG_0862 IMG_0863   (AFTER)  IMG_0849

I’m not sure I like the neckline… It does lie flat on me (my dress form doesn’t come close to matching my figure).  The bow is simply attached, with the ties meeting with hooks and eyes at the base of the neck.  They came undone once or twice during the dinner party, and I was not moving very much.  I think I would have preferred to attach the ties to the band and tie it in a bow to secure the dress.   Here it is during a fitting moment, since I wore my hair down for dinner. The shortened the ties about six inches.


Another thing about the bands – they are cut on the bias, and I used the pattern’s recommendation to underline with self fabric.  I think a light interfacing would have been better, especially as I got a lot of stretching during wear.  Also, any suggestions on how to better finish corners like the one in the photo below.  One is perfect, but that was luck.  The flaw is small, but I know it’s there.


Finally, I thought about how to finish my edges, and decided on a Hong Kong finish.  It’s clean, without being bulky.  I’m not so great at machine stitching in the ditch; in the picture, I used the machine on the hem, and hand-stitched to secure/wrap on the seams.IMG_0864




One last gratuitous photo with DS, who got to stay up late last night: