This year, our daughters were keen to have a handmade Christmas so I decided to make the blouse for my oldest daughter. I didn't have anything like my usual time as I only started it with a week to go and I'm rather slow but decided to try - DH stepping in to do other necessary tasks.
For the last few years, we've tried to have a get together of my 3 daughters and husband and me in London for a couple of days. This year, due to congested diaries and many life events, we weren't able to identify a time until the last weekend before Christmas, starting Sunday. The plan was we'd stay with oldest daughter and commute to London. This meant we'd deliver Christmas presents on Sunday and gave me my time limit. Unfortunately, my daughter's older son became ill and then she caught the same bug so we decided against the trip literally at the last minute, on Sunday morning. DH and I decided we'd still deliver the presents so the boys would get them on time as we didn't think posting them tomorrow guaranteed that, and not everything was postable - and we had just been ready to leave when the trip was called off.
I decided to use a turquoise cotton I had already prepared. I knew my daughter liked this although she preferred a blue I also had. As I felt I'd be making a hopefully wearable muslin, and didn't want to waste the blue which is also intended for a dress, I went with the first. I bought thread and buttons when I bought the fabric.
The first task was to work out what base size to go with. Unfortunately I mislaid (then later found again) my daughter's measurements and had to get her to self measure. I decided to use a base size 14 and do an FBA. I decided this in discussion with my college dressmaking tutor who was having 3 sewing bees between the end of term and before Christmas. I used 2 of these to work on the blouse.
I enlarged the bust but only to a DD cup, partly because the pattern had 4" ease. This still gave huge bust darts. I wasn't sure about moving the bust apex and decided to keep it as it was.
I had no real problems undertaking the pattern modifications and cutting out, though this took rather a long time. I'm very slow. I was less sure about the waist darts and had to ask advice about this. In retrospect, I wish I had overlocked all the edges at that early stage rather than try to do it later, but the tutor has advised against this saying I could overlock seams together later to reduce bulk. However, as I may have to alter at a later date, I wanted to press the seams open as advised in the pattern.
I had never previously made a blouse collar with stand. There must be an easier way! Unfortunately, I didn't have any more sewing bees left in which to ask advice. I looked at some of my books but eventually decided to follow the pattern instructions to the letter. I read through all the instructions but must admit that until I actually carried out the steps, I wasn't clear about the process. I could do better, now that I have a clearer understanding. But I'm sure that can't be the way it's done professionally!
Apart from the collar, which took forever, everything else went together well. I did have a trip into town to pick up another reel of thread as all that topstitching took so much thread.
I'm fairly pleased with the finished blouse. I think my top stitching is rather nice. Two comments; if I was making a blouse for me, I'd want a finer fabric, perhaps a shirting weight, though the finished blouse looks better than I thought it would; secondly, I'm not happy about the internal finishing.
I marked out the button holes as per guide. These aren't quite right; I think the top one is too high although I did use the guide. As I had zero time left, I decided to go with them and cut them open. Then I found my buttons didn't fit through the holes! This was perhaps just as well as although they were a good colour match, they were a bit 'old' for my daughter - my tutor, the same age as my daughter, was clearly not keen on the original choice of two styles and chose the least bad. I found alternative buttons in my stash and am much happier with these.
So overall, a lot of firsts. I would have liked some advice on how to achieve a nicer finish but am happy that I achieved this myself. The next one will be better. I'll do some further investigation of how best to construct the collar and make some practice samples.
I don't know yet either whether this fits my daughter or whether she likes it. Way back, by the way, I bought the Perfect Pattern Parcel for boys and had plans to make for my grandsons - instead I took them shop bought jackets and pyjamas, not as Christmas presents. My daughter has told me that my older grandson is already happily wearing a khaki shirt I bought him and it fits well.
As we didn't go on our London trip, I have gained some much needed time. Every cloud has a silver lining!
I was writing in a few spare minutes at a time as I was going along but as I was rushing, there is little in the way of photos. I might get to post some more when my daughter tries it on.
Christmas is here and I actually have a few minutes to spare! What luxury! I decided just to post.