Grainline Alder – Mandarin blouse muslin

Muslin time! I’ve been thinking about drafting a mandarin collar blouse for 8 years – ever since I saw a young woman in the dentist office wearing a white sleeveless version over jeans. It was so fresh and feminine.

I’m right in the middle of making a dress, but decided to stop and get started on the blouse.

My starting point was the beautiful Grainline Alder shirtdress. It’s so well-drafted and lends itself to many variations.

Some time ago, Jen posted a tutorial on a band collar option, using just the collar stand. Brilliant!

Sewing notes:

  • I started with the size 8, with a few tweaks to accommodate my hollow chest and thin neck.
  • The collar stand – I wanted it a bit higher with a fuller curve at the front edge. And no button.

I’m so pleased with the result!

  • Impossible to see on this print, I also added 2.5″ to width of the back piece, gathered into the yoke. I just like the added ease provided by this small change and have incorporated it in all my Alder shirtdress versions.
  • This muslin has a CB of 25″, but I’m planning to narrow this hem and lengthen future versions to 26.5″
  • Miscellaneous: my fabric is cotton voile from Fabric Mart. To ensure that the collar would not be floppy, I interfaced it with midweight non-woven interfacing. And I used cotton broadcloth to interface the front button bands.
  • I also drafted 2″ wide facings for the neckline, front and back, to add stability around the collar seam.

Great project, soon to be sewn in white fabric.

Parting note: You guys are the best. I am so uplifted by all the thoughtful comments on my last post. I really do feel that I have a team of friends supporting me. Thank you πŸ™‚ Coco

Paper Theory Olya shirt version 2!

sitting

This is becoming a love story – I’m enjoying my first challis Olya so much that I quickly started work on a second one.

Delightful pattern, impeccable drafting:

collage pattern

Just to mix things up a bit (more), I chose a printed challis for this one. Yes, I spent ages matching the print and deciding which pattern and color elements should go where πŸ™‚

emile
Fabric: Fabric.com – beautiful selection of solid and print challis

lb1

I love the shirttail hem, it’s not exaggerated and just goes with the flow of the shirt.

s1

Sewing notes, no changes from my first version, but a recap:

  • I drafted the size 8, with 1/2β€³ seam allowances instead of the included 3/8″ SA.
  • The sleeve:
    • I added 1/2β€³ to the length.
    • Instead of a buttoned cuff, I used a 2β€³ wide band, using the cuff pattern but sewn closed to width and attached.
    • I also gathered my sleeve into the band – no pleats.
  • The neckline and collar:
    • My front neckline, collar stand, and collar are drafted from the Named Saraste blouse pattern.
    • The collar is softer, larger, and about 1β€³ lower in front than the Olya pattern.

collar

  • Once again, no front pockets! I simply closed the entire bodice seam.
  • I added 1″ to the width of the back lower bodice and gathered it into the yoke – no pleats.
  • Challis is fairly translucent, so I underlined the plackets, cuff, collar stand, and collar with white broadcloth to prevent print shadows. BTW, here’s a succinct and helpful guide to some potentially confusing sewing terms: interfacing, lining, interlining, and underlining.
  • The yoke is also faced in white broadcloth, same reasoning.

facing

I love this shirt tucked into jeans!

t1

t2

An aside: I recently posted pics of a new dress on Instagram (you can click on the IGram icon in my sidebar). It’s my True Bias Nikko top/McCall 6559 combo (blog post here). And I received a wonderful compliment on the way into the grocery this morning πŸ™‚

collage1

Ciao! Coco

Summer pants in Kaufman Essex linen

f1

Back to my favorites – Vogue 8584 wide-leg pants paired with a delightful Robert Kaufman indigo Prairie Essex linen/cotton blend from Hawthorne Threads.

V8584 lines

fabric

Not only are they super easy to sew and wear, they’re also a perfect showpiece for my challis Paper Theory Olya Shirt (post here).

b1

Sewing notes:

  • This is modified size 12 (I adjusted the crotch length and waist-to-hip fit last year).
  • No pockets! This print is two busy to add them as a design element.
  • I used a 2″ waistband fold, and a 2″ hem allowance.
  • Essex is only 43″ wide, and I used most of 3 yards. In a wider fabric, 55″ or more, I use 2.5 yards for these pants.

More pics…

 

f3

I want more, the print has me jazzed! BTW, if you’re interested in Essex blend fabrics, check out Hawthorne Threads for a huge selection.

Bye for now, Coco

Nautical Blackwood Cardigan

f1

Such a great print! And perfect for a long Blackwood Cardigan.

back

After three weeks of workmen in the house, finally they’re done. I slept for 11 hours last night, with not a thing on my mind.

side

This super soft poly/lycra French terry is from Fabric Mart (and just sold out, they’re having a huge sale on knits). This is my second garment in poly/lycra French terry, and I am so impressed with it. Much nicer than cotton or rayon terry.

Just a few sewing notes:

  • I’ve made this wonderful cardigan about 8 times, both short and long. Yes, I love it. Thank you again, Helen!
  • I sew the Size Large (and I’m pretty small, it’s close-fitting).
  • As with my navy fleece version (here), I made a larger pocket and extended it onto the band and across the side seam.

f2
Top: True Bias Nikko in modal stretch jersey, Cali Fabrics

I just took a walk in the garden, it’s such a lovely day. It’s spring and everything is blooming.

My husky cherry tomato is suddenly over 6″ tall and full of bloom and babies.

tomato

The orange jasmine trees (murraya paniculata) have been covered with flowers and even have some fruit. I had them trimmed about 6 weeks ago – they love a haircut. They’re not citrus, but, as with a citrus tree, trimming them stimulates flowering. And although they’re often mistaken for the mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius) that grows so rampantly in Hawaii, they’re not even cousins. I think the association arises from the orange-blossom fragrance that they share.

mock orange

And Ms. Guava is loaded with buds and starting to bloom.

guava

I hope everyone is enjoying a nice weekend. Ciao! Coco

Olya Shirt and a little romance

c1

I was thinking of the line from Moonstruck the entire time I was sewing this. ‘Isn’t it romantic?’…

Actually, I purchased this rayon challis from Cali Fabrics at the same time I purchased the Paper Theory Olya Shirt pattern, with a soft blouse in mind.

collage pattern

I’m so glad I did a muslin (here), because I was able to draft my vision of the blouse based on that experience.

f0

b1

Lots of sewing notes:

  • As before I started with the size 8, and 1/2″ seam allowances. But I did not add to the length. I thought my muslin was a bit stuffy with the additional 2″.
  • The sleeve:
    • I added 1/2″ to the length and decided to add a little detail by splitting the lower sleeve and adding some topstitching.
    • Instead of a buttoned cuff, I used a 2″ wide band, using the same cuff pattern but sewn closed to width and attached.
    • I also gathered my sleeve into the band – no pleats.

s1

  • The neckline and collar:
    • Honestly, I felt strangled by the original collar – it’s very high and tight. Plus I thought it made my large head look huge!
    • I drafted a new front neckline, collar stand, and collar using the Named Saraste blouse pattern (my version here).
    • The collar is softer, larger, and about 1″ lower than the original pattern.
  • No pockets! To say they were shifty and difficult to attach is an understatement. I removed mine and simply closed the seam.

e1

  • Last little romantic change: I added 1″ to the width of the back skirt and gathered it into the yoke.

e2

  • Little things:

Sewing a curved hem can be a challenge at the side seam. I staystitched my hem at 3/4″, to provide a stable guide for the turn. And I released the side seam inside the hem to allow for a no-pucker finish. Alternatively, one could redraft the hem allowance to provide that extra bit.

collage hem

I’m crazy for nice finishing detail. A peek at how I attach a button – started on the right side, finished on the inside with the tail brought back up under the button and clipped. IMHO, sloppy button stitches on the inside of the placket are a tell.

collage buttons

An inspiration pic – I’m always cruising for ideas.

inspiration

And some styling – unbuttoned and simply open over a cami (imagine over a print spring dress).

unbuttoned.jpg]over shirt

Last thoughts…

Challis is a real beast challenge when sewn into structured details! It cannot be pressed without care, since it’s happy to shift and expand. Challis also has a huge amount of mechanical and bias stretch. No way would I use a fusible interfacing, because it puckers the challis and loses the original shape of the pattern piece. And, BTW, the adhesive on a fusible is likely to go through challis onto the plate of an iron. Aack! I cut my interfacing in a poly/cotton broadcloth and used it to interline the button plackets, collar stand, collar, and cuffs. I steam pressed the challis back into shape on the interlining pieces.

I launder all my fabrics before I use them, with serging on the cut ends of wovens. Rayon will shrink significantly, so a pre-wash will preclude disappointment in one’s garment.

I love this pattern. It’s complex and fun to sew. I’m really glad I did a muslin, because the resulting ‘muscle memory’ was very helpful in this version.Β The drafting and instructions are wonderful – this is a real winner from Paper Theory. I’ll make it again!

Bye for now – Coco