I really wanted to make a soft, feminine blouse to wear with linen trousers on a date with my husband this week. I usually default to tailored tops, or tees, so something more romantic was in order. Of course, romantic also can also be an appeal to the idealized, heroic, or adventurous. And, I had some idealized or imaginary ideas about my skill level – sewing soft silks was/is an adventure.
My first attempt was the Oscar de la Renta off the shoulder ruffled blouse (Vogue 2712, published 2002), in Milly silk chiffon. The chiffon is very light-weight. I had no trouble stitching the french seams on the body of the blouse or the lining. I practiced the baby hem – which I’ve done many, many times on silk CDC, cotton and linen – several times on scraps of the chiffon. No success – too heavy, stiff, wonky. I did gets loads of advice from the Goodbye Valentino RTW FB group, but I decided to set it aside to work on a simpler project and get more practice. (The best advice, I think, was the fusible thread in the bobbin, but I haven’t tried it yet).
So I jumped straight in to Vogue 1245, view B, from Alice and Olivia (published 2011). Should be easy right? Four pieces… I calculated two nights. And I decided on a lightweight teal silk georgette. The first thing? The shoulder/top of the sleeve is cut on the bias, with french seams. I jumped in got those French seams done, and moved to the second, the baby hem on the sleeves.
Slow down. First mistake – not stabilizing that shoulder seam first. It grew by 2 inches while making the french seams. I didn’t notice until I went to do the baby hem – which I probably should have let hang first. And then, I decided to use the instructions for the baby hem – which are different from how I learned… and wow, that didn’t work. Should have used Schaeffer’s method. A mess.
So, while the pattern is theoretically easy, it can’t be rushed. And I really did only have two nights to make it. I have enough fabric to recut the sleeves, so I will do it later. In fact, neither is a complete failure, since no fabric was completely ruined. I can finish them, when I’m not rushing. But I need more practice before I attempt either of these again.