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.
Recently I've discovered Evelyn Wood and her YouTube and Instagram accounts. She is a big proponent of mending and caring for clothes--she even introduced the hash-tag #mondaymending to encourage others to take an injured item of clothing and mend it once a week. She is also a big proponent of re-fashioning thrift store finds into something more vintage and wearable and attractive. She doesn't care for the term "re-fashion" or "up-cycle" or "thrift flip" or any of those other odd ways of describing turning a garment into something else to describe what she does to clothing. Instead, she suggests "garment renovation," a term with historical roots, as she talks about in this YouTube video.
I like "garment renovation," as I agree that it is an accurate way to talk about taking a used garment and turning it into a newly customized garment, very similar to taking an old, shabby house and renovating it into a newly livable space. Sometimes renovations take a few small changes, and sometimes it requires a total over-haul.
The garment renovation that I did on this cotton calico prairie skirt is somewhere in-between a small change and a large one. Unfortunately I didn't think to take a photo of it when I brought it home from the thrift store last month for $3, but I can tell you about it: it didn't fit at all. The elastic waistband was far too large, and even if I held it up at my waist, the hem dragged on the ground. But I really liked the dark green calico with its tiny sprays of flowers, that the fabric was in good condition, and that the skirt had a huge, full sweep with a nice hem. So I decided I would take this skirt home and renovate it.
The first thing that I did was to measure up from the hem about 28 inches and cut it all the way around with the aim of getting a finished skirt length of about 27 to 27 1/2 inches. This is a little shorter than a lot of my midi skirts--which can be as long as 30 inches---but it is long enough to cover my petticoat. I wanted to avoid the pockets at the top of the skirt and also make sure there was enough room in the fabric that I cut off of the top of the skirt to squeeze out a new waistband. Cutting out the waistband from the remaining fabric was my next step. I wasn't able to cut it out without crossing a seam-line in the fabric, so my finished waistband looks pieced together, but that's okay. Then I seam ripped 7 inches down one seam and inserted a green skirt zipper. Then I gathered the top of the skirt on my machine, attached the waist-band, inserted my favorite waist-band interfacing for stiffness, and finished sewing the waistband closed by hand. I sewed on a skirt hook and eye, and I was done---no need to hem, as I had kept the hem intact from the original skirt.
And now I have a nice new calico skirt with a big sweep---that fits!---where before there was a rather sad looking elastic-waist skirt sagging off a hanger in the costume section of the thrift store.
I'm pleased with this simple garment renovation and plan to do some more from time to time when I find something that I really like at the thrift store and want to fit better, or improve the look of.
Do you renovate garments? Do you prefer the term "garment renovation" over "re-fashion"? What do you think about taking apart a garment to make something different out of it? Is it a good solution to fast-fashion and the plethora of second-hand clothes available, or does it risk spoiling perfectly good garments in the effort to change them?
Before I get into reviewing this pattern, please let me first thank all of you who left kind and supportive comments on my last post from the bottom of my heart. I really appreciate the advice, the sympathy, and the solidarity. And I also want to mention that I was (and still am, a bit) worried about posting about the challenges I am sorting through this year. It is a hard balance between sharing real struggles, over-sharing personal details on the internet, and maybe worst of all---coming across as ungrateful and complaining when I think there are surely readers who are facing far worse challenges with health, finances, loss, grief, heart-break, or any number of terrible burdens. I know that I have much to be grateful for, and I am grateful for the good things and good people in my life---even as I simultaneously struggle with a sense of helplessness and discouragement about the things and people that are not good or whom I have lost, the slow pace of positive change in my own life, and how much I yearn for many things that are not available to me right now. I think those feelings are something that anyone who is struggling can relate to, and that was why I chose to post about some of my current struggles here (at least those not related to family or friends, as I wouldn't feel comfortable posting about problems in a public forum like this that involve other people other than Mr R and myself). I hope that you will forgive me if I was at all insensitive in my last post.
Sewing does play a role in facing and coping with hard feelings because sewing can offer small changes, and dignity, and self-expression. I value all of those things, and I value the conversation that I have with all of you, and want to thank you again for being here. As this hard year progresses, I am trying to using sewing's good qualities to keep bringing small, good changes into my life.
Now I will write a short review of my latest summer blouse. I often cut out sewing projects in batches, as cutting out fabric on the floor isn't my favorite part of the sewing process, and then I can sew several projects in a row without having to stop and do that step again. So I've had this peasant-style blouse cut from 1970s era Simplicity 8305 for a little while. I decided after a few sewing flops earlier this summer that I should focus on the simpler projects: ones that I am pretty sure that I will wear and like. This pattern reminded me a lot of a black gauze peasant blouse that I had for several years in California before it wore out. I've never found another one at the thrift store, so I thought that I should finally make my own and hopefully fill that long-standing hole in my closet.
I'm glad that I did, because this blouse turned out well. It is surprisingly generously cut, which gives it a flowing look, and also gives me no qualms about any possible size-changes in the future necessitating its removal from my closet (as I mentioned in my last post has happened to a lot of my more fitted clothes over the past few months). The lightweight brown cotton voile has a raised pattern of dots that give it a little bit of interest, and made it a little more challenging to sew, as my machine foot and needle didn't like getting over the dots very well. But my old Singer is very sturdy and managed, and the voile is very light on hot days. The slit down the front was too low when I finished the blouse, so I sewed it up a bit by hand and it still fits over my head just fine, as the neckline is relatively wide in the first place. The fabric was a remnant I picked up very cheaply in the LA fabric district a few years ago, so I'm glad that I finally used it, and that now it is a versatile summer blouse that I will wear often in the heat.
After such a positive review, it may be surprising that I don't plan on using the pattern again. But about a month ago I found an almost-the-same 1970s pattern at the thrift store that had a skirt and vest pattern with it that I liked better than this current one----and it has a draw-string neckline, which would make the blouse a little more adjustable. So I plan to keep the new, thrifted pattern, and send this one back to the thrift store for its turn to get chosen and used by someone else. If you ever come across a copy, I would still recommend it as a simple, elegant blouse, with clear instructions, and not too difficult for even a patient beginner to make.
In these photos that I took on our front patio with our sunflowers, I am wearing my new blouse with a brown skirt that I made almost two years ago, and new brown clogs that I found at a recent trip to the thrift store with my mom. It was a great find, as my over-five year old black clogs just got too uneven on the bottoms to wear anymore.
Please look forward to a new post from Mr Rat soon! I took some photos with him of his most recent sewing project and I'm excited that he will share them here as soon as he has time to sit down and write a review of his own.
I'm even more pleased with this outfit than the last dress that I made. Even though the navy poplin dress I sewed a few weeks ago is beautiful and comfortable, it lacks the versatility of a button-up blouse and midi-skirt. Lately I've found myself reaching for my maxi dresses somewhat less and more often for my smock dresses, shirt-dresses, blouses and full skirts. I love that I can wear this blouse and skirt to church, to work at home, or to go hiking. And it still has personality, and makes me feel like myself. Lately, I've also been more and more interested in clothes with a historical influence---a tinge of 19th century romanticism and practicality. Most of my summer plans for sewing are along similar lines to this outfit: I am aiming for comfort, versatility, and to make items that I will reach for over and over for everyday wear for years to come.
The patterns I used for my blouse and skirt will be familiar to any long-time readers of the blog, as they are two of my most-sewn patterns. The fabric for both skirt and blouse are thrifted, as are the vintage contrasting white buttons. I really like the navy calico for the blouse especially, as I feel that it looks a bit Western, a bit Japanese, and a bit Victorian work-wear. The skirt fabric was from a large 100 percent cotton sheet that had a nice border of tucks along the top, so I used them as decoration (and a built in hem) for the bottom of my simple gathered skirt. There is still fabric left over from the sheet, so I plan to make a matching blouse sometime soon. The notions for the skirt were re-used from my old navy skirt that I sewed three or so years ago that recently wore out. I sewed the skirt in snatches of time over one week, and the blouse throughout the next. The most time-consuming portion was sewing the button-holes by hand and sewing the buttons on one at a time to make sure the front of the blouse is straight and flat when buttoned. I don't mind doing those finishing steps slowly, as I find sewing buttonholes to be a relaxing thing to do with my hands while Mr Rat and I watch our favorite mystery shows, like Endeavor.
I wore my new blouse and skirt with my old Lotta clogs, an old thrifted straw hat, and my silver charm bracelet for a leisurely and summery walk at the park with Gia and Mr Rat
What are your sewing plans for the summer? Do you find that you have more or less time to sew during the middle months of the year? I am trying to squeeze in another two or three simple sewing projects before Mr Rat and I will travel to visit his parents for a week next month. I don't find personally that my sewing rate changes much based on the season----it usually just depends on Gia's health and my husband's schedule, and if I have any deadlines I need to meet in the studio.
This blouse was an experiment. I had a big scrap of fabric left over from making my Easter dress, so I thought that I would test out my idea of taking a dress pattern that I sewed last year, Simplicity 7752 (it is an out of print pattern from the 90s, but it isn't hard to find on Ebay or Etsy if you are looking for your own copy) and making a blouse out of it. Well, it sort of worked, and it sort of didn't.
To make the blouse, I cut out the bodice, sleeves, collar and cuff pattern pieces and left off the skirt. I lengthened the bodice by a good three or four inches, since I knew that on the dress it ends slightly above the waist, and I wanted to make sure it was long enough to reach my waist and get turned up for a hem. Well, that was actually too much length---since I hadn't widened the sides at all, I found that the hem of my blouse bunched slightly around the full gathers of my skirt top. So I ended up taking the first hem that I made and turning it up again. Then it became a rather wide hem, which gives the blouse a rather structured, jacket-like look. In fact, I think that this pattern could make a nice lightweight spring jacket if I was using a heavier cotton or flannel or even a thin denim. My other problem while making this blouse was that the cotton was a little too stiff to ease in well at the shoulders, so I ended up giving them a slight gather at the top. I don't think this looks quite as nice as my first dress version, which has a smooth sleeve cap.
The rest of the construction details are simple: I pinked the inner seams and facing, did the buttonholes by hand, and used thrifted buttons that I've had for several years.
I'm not quite certain about this blouse: while it didn't turn out quite the way I imagined it, it's still wearable and comfortable. I think it could make a good gardening top, especially with the nice flower print. But I feel some doubt that it will become a favorite everyday blouse. I think my adaptation of the original pattern still needs some work----maybe if I try widening the bottom of the blouse so it has a slightly flared look, and maybe also experimenting with the sleeves----short sleeves might look nice. Or maybe I will just stick with sewing this pattern as a dress, since I like the dress that I already made from it.
I think that making this blouse was a good learning process, and I did use up some more of my fabric scraps. If I don't find myself wearing it, even for gardening----it is well made even though it is simple, and I won't feel shame putting in my Goodwill pile to see if someone else wants to give it a home.
What do you do with the clothes that you make when you feel uncertain about them?
This was a simple project from my winter "make nine" plans: my favorite skirt pattern, Simplicity 7880, sewn up in black flannel. Mr Rat and I made a small order from fabric.com last month, since he wanted to try out one of the Kaufman line of plaid flannels to make another version of his recent flannel shirt. I ordered a piece of Kaufman flannel, too, but in plain black. I've read good things about Kaufman fabrics on the internet, and wanted to see how different it was from the flannel I've bought before at JoAnn fabrics. Now that I've tried both kinds, I think that the reviews of Kaufman flannel are quite accurate: it pre-washed well, and is much firmer and stiffer and pills less than JoAnn flannel. It sewed and pressed well, too, with minimal fuzz loss.
I've made Simplicity 7880 many times. For this version, I did all the usual things that I do: pinked the seams, handpicked the zipper, made a narrow machine-hem, and used waistband interfacing for structure. The one thing that I changed was to widen the waistband by pressing the seam-allowances smaller before I attached it to the skirt, and sewing it over a wider waistband interfacing than I usually use. I think it gives the skirt a nice silhouette.
I've been in need of warm winter skirts, and I'm very happy with how this one turned out. It's versatile, simple, and fits in well to my wardrobe. I know that I will wear it until it is worn out.
I'm wearing my new skirt with my most recently completed blouse, a vintage Mexican silver and abalone butterfly brooch, some warm woolen socks, and a petticoat. I took these photos with the tripod in the studio the day before Mr Rat and I woke up to over two feet of snow. The last two photos show what our tiny yard has looked like for the rest of the week, as well as one of our favorite visitors to it.
I hope that all of you readers in the Northern Hemisphere are staying warm! And that readers from the Southern Hemisphere are managing to stay cool in the heat waves.
Here is my first completed project from my "Winter Make Nine" plans. A photo of the pattern I used for my new blouse, McCalls 5771---A 'Marlo's Corner' pattern circa the 1970s in my usual size 8---is in my previous post. McCalls 5771 is a very simple blouse pattern, perfect for a beginner who wants to try making a vintage, sightly Edwardian looking shirt. There are no bust darts, so the fit is slightly loose. The sleeves are gathered, (and rather more generously puffed than I thought they would be based on the pattern envelope illustration) which made setting them in very easy. The cuffs are very basic; in fact, I'm not sure how to describe the way they simply fold over to button without a lap in-between----just fabric that has been folded up and stitched. The collar is also basic: just a long rectangle that is set on more in the manner of a waistband than other collars I've done. I'm not sure about the shape it gives the collar; it tends to flatten a little in the front where it buttons. But overall, I think it is a good basic shirt design, and a quick sew (at least up until the time for buttonholes and buttons).
The material I used was a thrifted cotton sheet with small grey stripes. I edge-stitched the collar, front, hems, and cuffs for crispness, pinked the seams on the inside, did the button-holes by hand, and used some plain white buttons that I bought on sale at JoAnn fabrics to finish everything off.
I'm wearing my new blouse in these photos with my still-serviceable old grey wool skirt and my dark grey wool cape. And of course two warm pairs of socks, a petticoat, some thrifted grey leather gloves, and my old leather boots. We were lucky to get these photos before the next storm blew through and left almost a foot of crusty white snow. Trying to document sewing projects in the winter time is always challenging.
I feel as though almost all of my posts now start with an apology for the present irregularity of posts here on the blog, and I wish I could say that it is likely to change. . . But probably it won't, and posts will likely keep on being spotty for the rest of this year at least. 2018 has really been a rough one for Mr Rat and me. Every month has brought new challenges, unexpected problems, and all kinds of daily difficulties. November was no exception: first Mr Rat was sick with one of those head colds that makes it hard to sleep at night, and then we traveled to California for a week to visit his parents for Thanksgiving (luckily, he was feeling better by then), but when we got back I came down with some version of what he had. Between that and spending more weekends at family events now that we live closer to my parents and siblings, we just haven't had too many chances to take photos for the blog, even though we've both finished projects recently and have several other things in progress on our sewing table.
So I apologize! And hope that you will all be patient with the way life makes it hard to be consistent. Both Mr Rat and I care about documenting and reviewing our sewing projects for this blog, so don't worry----there will still be posts here, and I really do hope they will be more regular again next year. But until then, we'll just keep doing the best that we can.
All that being said, here are some photos I took with the tripod in the studio of a skirt set that I made to wear to California for Thanksgiving. Skirt sets are great to travel with, since I could wear the skirt with the blouse and then each separately with other tops and bottoms to make multiple outfits while packing very little. This particular set, which I sewed out of a $2 cotton queen-sized sheet that I found at Savers a few months ago, was also the perfect weight for enjoying the warm 70-degree California autumn days. I chose two tried and true patterns for my skirt set: my favorite 1970s skirt pattern Simplicity 7880, and the 1980s kimono-sleeved blouse pattern Simplicity 7460 that I sewed for the first time in the spring. What I didn't like about my first version of this pattern was that because the blouse is quite loose, it tends to shift around a bit while I wear it, making the lower v-neckline difficult to wear modestly. So this time I chose the higher, rounded neckline, which solved that problem nicely. It also makes it easier to wear this blouse under crew-neck cardigans, which is the only way I can wear it now that we've come back to Utah and found winter well arrived and settled in on the doorstep. But I know I'll be wearing it sweater-less next summer, and enjoying its versatility, practicality, and wearability. My favorite (and most worn) sewing projects combine those aspects with some artistic detail or bit of originality---in this outfit I think it is the subtle Victorian-like stripes that first drew me to buying the sheet, and also the spacing of the tiny buttonholes down the center front in sets of two. It took a long time to make so many buttonholes by hand, but it was worth it. I reused some tiny tan buttons salvaged from some old worn-out thrifted shirt that got turned into scraps some time ago to finish my top. The skirt was very simple and quick to make, since I used the existing deep hem of the sheet as the hem for the bottom of my skirt. I used waistband interfacing for stiffness, and also sewed in by hand a vintage metal zipper that I thrifted a long time ago. The seams are all finished with pinking shears.
And. . . I cut my hair. I've been thinking about it for a long time, but kept putting it off, and putting it off. I haven't stepped into a hair salon in about seven years. For most of that time, it just wasn't affordable for me to get haircuts, so my mom or Mr Rat would kindly trim my hair. And now that we have enough income that I can get my haircut without worrying about overwhelming our budget, I have been too frightened to go. When I was younger, the adults around me told me that I would grow out of my shyness. But I haven't, and the idea of talking to strangers can be enough to keep me from going outside on some days. Right before our trip I had a day where I was feeling up and brave and I decided I would walk to the salon first thing in the morning after my husband left for work----and I finally did it. My long hair was limp and straggly here in Utah because the humidity is so low. But with my new short hair, it has more wave and body again. Some days it curls a lot more than others, and most days it's a bit messy and wild, but overall I'm pleased with the change. Mr Rat likes it, so I think I'll keep it awhile.
I hope that you are all having a good close to your month, and that your start of December is peaceful, rather than stressful. The holiday season can be a hard one---but with some planning, it doesn't have to be more difficult than it has to be. At least, that is what Mr Rat and I are hoping. We are planning on going to a Christmas concert this weekend to celebrate the season. Is there anything that you do that is special to mark the upcoming end of the year or any of the many holidays that fall within the next month?
Green is an autumnal color---it is the color of early autumn, as the leaves just start to change golden, and the cooler weather makes the grass a tender color. Our neighborhood is very green right now, and I am glad of it.
My wardrobe is also a little greener after I finished my newest version of my favorite 1970s-era Simplicity 7880 skirt pattern. This one is made of green broadcloth from my spring trip to the Los Angeles fabric district with my mom. The green pin-striped wool that I made my matching vest out of was already in my stash from a lucky thrift store find several years ago. While I did succeed in making a wool vest last year, there were some things I didn't like about it: it tends to wrinkle in the back because it is a little too long there, and the pattern was unlined. So I decided I would try a new vest pattern that I found at the thrift store since we moved here: Simplicity 5204. I wasn't certain how this would work out, since it is a teen-sized vest, 11/12. But the measurements are close to my normal Miss size 8, so I decided I would try it out. And it fits almost the same! I compared it to my black vest and found it is almost identical. But there are a few differences that make this version my preferred one: it is lined! It is also darted instead of princess seamed----I don't really mind the difference there. And the other thing I prefer about it is that it is designed with small slits up the side (I added one to the center back seam as well) which takes care of the wrinkling and bunching problems I had with my last one.
Other details about the vest: I lined it in the same green broadcloth that I made the skirt out of. I stitched all the darts down by machine, and edge-stitched all my seams. Worsted wool is very springy, and I am not adept enough with the iron to make it behave with steam alone. I did the buttonholes by hand, as usual, and added a few more for that old-fashioned look. The buttons are from my stash, part of a big bag I thrifted a few years ago. The contrast between the brown and green is very gentle, and matched my new thrifted basket-purse, and my new thrifted brown leather shoes----which I like so much! My new shoes remind me of the Edwardian style ones that American Duchess is releasing, but at a much lower price point: $6 from Goodwill is a lot more affordable for me than $160. Although maybe someday I will have enough spending money to support independent businesses as well as the thrift store.
The rest of my outfit was thrifted as well: the tumbled stone charm bracelet (missing a lot of its charms, but I like it anyway) is from a few years ago, and long-time readers might remember my bow-tie blouse sewn from a thrifted sheet.
We are lucky to rent in a very verdant condominium complex. The buildings aren't new, and the little roads are full of potholes, but the somewhat wild landscaping is beautiful. We have a little green creek that runs through our tiny backyard. As we wander through the complex there are ponds full of fish, turtles, sometimes geese, and always many ducks. We've gotten used to their raucous laughter----sometimes even in the nighttime. It's more pleasant than the sounds our human neighbors made in some of our previous apartments. Mr Rat took all of these beautiful photos very close to home as we gave Gia the short walk that is all she can manage anymore. But how glad we are, that our short walks are so pleasant! We are so grateful to live where leaves and sky and water all meet together.
In other ways, I haven't been feeling very lucky because I've been sick a few times this month. It's one reason why posts here have been infrequent again. But the other reason is because I had the novel experience of being a pattern-tester for an independent pattern company. Mr Rat took some photos of my new garment that I made but I can't share them until the pattern is released, and I'm not quite sure when that will be. But I will try to keep an eye out so I can finally post them for you all, along with some notes about my experience.
Luckily, I have been sewing other things and expanding my fall wardrobe, so look forward to some new posts here as soon as Mr Rat can take some more photos with me! We have some plans for photos the next few weekends, and Mr Rat has finished a new shirt which I am excited to photograph and he is excited to share with you.
I hope you are all having an illness-free change of the seasons, and are finding lots of reasons to be outside while the weather is so gentle. At least, I hope your weather is gentle, and not still in the extremes of summer (or winter, for any of you in the southern hemisphere) still!
This blouse may look familiar to long-time readers. I've sewn this pattern before, most recently last fall in a soft floral tropical wool. This time I sewed it in crisp white cotton (from a thrifted sheet, like most of my projects) and trimmed it with a thin cotton lace from one of my very rare trips to Hobby Lobby. The construction of this blouse is simple because it is so loose and has no darts. Since the cotton was prone to fraying, I took my time and made faux French seams on the inside. I edge-stitched the collar, front placket, and cuffs, to keep it all looking neat. I made the buttonholes by hand, as usual, and used some thin-line buttons from JoAnns fabric stores that were in my stash to finish it all off. The most time-consuming part of sewing this blouse was sewing on the cotton lace after I was done with everything else. But I think it was worth it for that little bit of extra visual interest.
This year I've experimented with sewing printed fabrics and wearing lighter, softer colors. But I always feel most comfortable in plain black and white, and making this simple shirt reaffirmed that for me. If I could only wear three colors, I think they would be black, white, and brown. I'm never dissatisfied when I finish sewing a white blouse because I know I can wear it at anytime, anywhere, in any situation, and with any other color. You can't beat a white blouse for versatility. The only thing that gets quite as much wear in my wardrobe as my white shirts is probably this old black skirt made from my favorite Simplicity 7880 pattern that I am wearing here.
Mr Rat took these photos on our Sunday morning stroll through the park with Gia before we headed off to church and family time. The local schools are back in session this week, and it feels as though there is already a slight autumnal cast to the air, even though it is only late August. The mornings feel cooler, some of the leaves are starting to crisp at the edges and fall on the summer-green grass, and at last the day-time temperatures are dropping down about 10 or 15 degrees from the extreme heat we've had the last two months.
Do any of you do anything special to mark the changing of the seasons? Are you thinking ahead towards your next season's sewing plans? My next few projects will be in more autumnal hues and I'm even starting to think about what I need to sew to be ready for winter's snow. It feels like the year is shifting again----this one has been so full of changes----at least when I sit down to sew and to paint, I can feel steady and centered for a moment, like a rock in the middle of the stream.
Mr and Mrs Rat
Mr and Mrs Rat like to sew.