This is another one of those patterns that I've been meaning to try out since I bought it when it came out and was on sale at JoAnn Fabric stores, but haven't gotten around to until I slimmed down my pattern collection considerably. I don't often buy new patterns, but I got this one because----well----because of the sleeves! They are pretty wonderful, and I was curious about the 1940s way of including front and back tucks around the waist to give a bloused top a neat shape when tucked into skirts. It is also a pattern that doesn't require much fabric, despite the volume of the sleeves, which is another plus.
The fabric for this wearable muslin is a bit of a surprise for me; the print is much larger than what I usually gravitate towards. But I was browsing a fabric sale at Clever Octopus, the local creative reuse center, and found this for two dollars, and thought immediately of Thanksgiving, and putting together something festive to wear. Well, it is done before Thanksgiving, and it is certainly festive, but I doubt I will actually wear it on the holiday, as we will be in Southern California visiting family and it will probably be very hot and we will be helping in the kitchen, so I will likely be wearing something more casual.
But I did enjoy wearing my new blouse to church this past Sunday, along with an old homemade skirt, a necklace made of jade (at least I think it was jade----I made it several years ago from beads that I bought at JoAnns), and hair-flowers that I made with dollar-store marigolds and alligator clips that I bought off of Ebay. If you are interested in making your own hair flowers, I have a tutorial here.
Construction notes: I cut a size 8 and the fit is good, with ease for comfort and moving around---except at the hips. There is one button at the very bottom of the blouse that causes it to ride up and ripple a little if I try to button it because my hips are a little too wide for the bottom of the blouse once the tucks were sewn. I think the easiest way to deal with this is to leave that bottom button off in future versions of the blouse, as it doesn't show when tucked in anyway, and I don't plant to wear it any other way. I did the button-holes by hand, as usual, and edge-stitched the neckline and cuffs. I did a narrow hem at the bottom. I used dollar brown shirt-buttons from JoAnn fabrics, as I didn't quite have the right amount or color of buttons in my thrifted stash. I didn't include shoulder pads, and luckily, I don't think this blouse needs them! I don't care for the way shoulder pads look or feel on me, so usually I might add a sleeve head to help the sleeves puff, but no padding otherwise. I didn't add a sleeve head in this blouse as the cotton is quite crisp. I did leave the top portion of the sleeve seam un-trimmed, which helps the gathers at the top of the sleeve puff out more. I also didn't try to pattern match, as I only had two yards of my second-hand fabric to work with and the repeat pattern is quite large.
After wearing this blouse all day on Sunday, I can affirm that this is a comfortable blouse, and I plan to keep this pattern, as I can imagine making some summery versions out of striped, floral, or solid cottons.
Have any of you tried this pattern? Do you plan on making Simplicity 8736? What do you feel grateful for during this Thanksgiving season?
I feel grateful for the fall, as brief as it was. It was beautiful. I feel grateful for my husband and my dog and my family. I am grateful for the use of my hands and the things that I can make: drawings and paintings, bread, meals to share, our indoor houseplant garden, quilts and blankets, letters and journals, music on the piano and the guitar, useful household items like re-usable grocery bags and washcloths, and of course, my own clothing.
Like most sewers, I have a lot of scraps. Especially since I often sew with second-hand fabric and sheets from the thrift store and so I can't buy just the amount of fabric that I need for a project. Usually this works out well---I can often fit in more than one project on a large piece of fabric. But sometimes it just means that I have a lot of odd shapes left over and can't quite squeeze a blouse or a scarf out of them. Then what do I do?
We don't have a lot of storage space in our apartment, and since our rats passed away at the beginning of the summer, I don't have any ready way to use up the fabric scraps that we produce on an almost weekly basis. It has become a pressing problem (especially after a few failed sewing projects this summer---I liked the fabrics but not the finished garments, and wanted to re-make them into something I would actually wear) to figure out a way to use up a large amount of scraps at once. Inspired by the aloha-shirt quilt we are making out of my husband's old clothes, I thought that I could cut up as many of my scraps and failed garments as possible into squares, sew those squares into patchwork fabric, and then use that fabric to cut out a dress.
This method of using up scraps is time-consuming, but I think that the result is eye-catching, unique, and very wearable. I used my favorite 1970s dress pattern, McCalls 6209 for my first try at this experiment, and I am pleased with the results. I didn't do anything to finish the seams this time, as I was working with sturdy cottons and cotton-blends. I didn't trim the seam allowances either, so I think it should go through the washing machine just fine for at least the next few years. I always try to launder our handmade garments as gently as possible and air-dry them anyway. I can see this as a useful way to use up fabric scraps and make any kind of garment more visually interesting. Right now I am imagining future patchwork skirts, blouses, vests, jumpers, smocks, tote bags, etc.
Mr Rat took these pictures of my new experimental dress a bit over a week ago at Wheeler Historic Farm. It is a unique state park that is still a working farm, historic site, and a hiking area. It's only a few miles away from us, and we've been trying to take advantage of the free admission to enjoy being outside there and visiting the plants and animals while the weather is still somewhat warm. I felt very autumnal and festive in my patchwork and my home-made hair flowers. If you want to make your own, you can follow my simple tutorial here.
Have any of you attempted a patchwork garment before? Is it something you would like to try? How do you use up your fabric scraps?
About two weeks ago I decided to try a small experiment to cheer myself up: I thought that I would try to make myself some hair flowers. I've seen many beautiful women in the online vintage community wear them, but when I've looked on Etsy they've always been a bit out of my price range. Besides, I like to make things with my hands, and the one or two YouTube tutorials I could find made it look pretty easy. And it was. Hair flower clips are easy, inexpensive, and quick accessories to make that have a big impact on outfits, and help a bit with feeling cheerful, too. And also hiding hair that is growing out, if you, like me, have that problem too.
Frida Kahlo and Paula Modersohn-Becker, two artists who I admire very much, both used to wear flowers in their hair when they painted. Paula Modersohn-Becker said that she loved to dress up to paint and put flowers in her hair, as it was a special occasion for her, and something worth celebrating by looking her best.
The orange chrysanthemums in my hair were a gift from my mom that she found at a local dollar store. The little orange flowers were on sale for a dollar at Michaels craft stores. I'm wearing them with a new dress that I made recently and hope to photograph with Mr Rat soon.
Without further ado, a simple tutorial for making your own hair flowers, if you're so inclined:
- fake flowers of your choice
- alligator hair clips or bobby pins
- a piece of green felt
- a hot glue gun and hot glue sticks (it is helpful if your glue-fun is a low-heat glue-gun, as it is easy to burn yourself working with small objects like the flowers and hair clips)
The first thing you will want to do is pull the leaves and flowers off of the stems. You can discard the stems or cut the wire and re-use it for some other craft project.
The fake flowers have a tube of plastic that sticks out of the back where they were connected to the stems. You will want to take your scissors and cut it off as close to the base of the flower as possible.
Next you will want to cut a circle out of the felt to cover the plastic base of the flower.
If you choose to add the leaves from your fake flower stems for your hair clips, hot glue the leaves to the base of the flower, then hot glue the circle of felt over the top. You may need to hold it between your fingers just long enough for the hot glue to set.
Next you will put a line of hot glue on the flat part of your alligator clip or bobby pin and press it to the back of the felt, trying to keep the flower and leaves positioned to cover the clip as much as possible. Set aside to let cool completely.
A completed hair flower clip!
I made a set of orange flowers for me, and two sets of pink flowers for my niece. She was delighted.
If you give this tutorial a try, or have done this before---tell me about it in the comments! I hope that you enjoyed this simple craft, and that it might cheer you up every time you put flowers in your hair (or give them as gifts to a special friend or family member).
Mr and Mrs Rat
Mr and Mrs Rat like to sew.