Thursday 23 August 2018

A peasant blouse in Porto

Nothing like upcoming summer holidays to get me into planning and sewing mode! During spring and early summer I've sewn quite a few garments with our trip to Portugal in mind. I managed to take some in-progress shots and made construction and fitting notes but just couldn't find the time for shooting blog pictures. However, after going through our 1500+ holiday pictures I thought perhaps y'all would welcome a change from my boring old back drop and see some action shots instead!

First up is a Knipmode blouse from the supplement of the March issue (KM1803-103)

The fabric I used is a royal blue embroidered cotton lawn, known here as broderie anglaise.
I used French seams and finished the neckline with a bias strip. For the ties I cut a strip on the straight grain from that particular 5 cm wide part of the fabric close to the selvedge that isn't embroidered. I figured this would make my ties more even.
The sleeves originally were in one piece, with a tunnel for elastic just above the elbow. I cut the sleeve pattern right below that tunnel in order to make the lower part of the bell sleeves a little wider, without ending up with extra width in the upper arm.

The only other change I made was straightening the curved hem. I can't recall why I did that and I don't think it's an improvement. Maybe I had a plane to catch and made a shortcut?

Here's an action shot, taken right after we crossed the famous Ponte Dom Luis I, which is no sinecure for someone who suffers from fear of heights. The neckline may or may not have shifted while I was frantically clamping the railing with both hands....

Well, the view was worth it. And even better, we were now on the river bank where all the port houses are located. After tasting a few port wines that bridge didn't look half as scary!

But I digress, we're here for the sewing. What's my verdict on this blouse?
I like the colour.
Anything else? Ehmm, nope.

It's not the pattern. Everything came together nicely, instructions were sparse but okay.
It's not the fabric, which is lovely.
The pairing of the two was less successful. The embroidery gives the fabric a firmer hand compared to regular cotton lawn and affects the drape. Together with the absence of shaping this results in a rather unflattering square silhouette.
Maybe this blouse would look better when made in rayon or silk but I'm not volunteering to test that.

Here are a few more pictures, mostly to remind myself that I'm done sewing boxy tops.

I can't deny that the colour is a perfect match with the beautiful tiles in the Sao Bento train station, which is about the most positive thing I can come up with before I donate or refashion this wadder ;)

Showing up one last time twice

You can't win them all. At least the one and only day in the life of this top was a very good one!

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Heatwave sewing: a breezy Knipmode blouse

Hi all! Although I vanished from the blogosphere during an unplanned two month hiatus everything is well and I have a lot of new sewing projects to document here.
Soon after my previous post mr Foxgloves and I went on holiday to the north of Portugal. We had the best of times and we managed to take some blog pictures of freshly sewn summer wear in a few beautiful spots. Coming soon. The weather in Portugal was lovely and sunny, but much to our surprise we heard it was even warmer in The Netherlands. Turned out this was the start of an unprecedented heatwave. When we returned the garden desperately needed our attention and up till today we didn't get any rain. If you've ever experienced a Dutch summer you'll know how unusual that is. After nine weeks of drought with temperatures rising to 38 Celsius this picture sums up the state of our country rather well:

Photocredits: De Telegraaf

Our infra structure is designed for keeping the water out, keeping the water in is something else!

Amidst the struggle to keep the garden alive I felt the need to sew a lightweight cotton top to stay as cool as possible. I found this lovely floral and dots fabric (two prints in one, winner!) that almost feels like batiste. It has a lovely drape and I decided to pair it with this Knipmode pattern that was on my to-sew list ever since I first saw it in August 2017.


Simple, but with a few nice details like the v-neck insert, a self lined back yoke and high/low hem.

Based on my high bust measurement I was in between size 46 and 48. I chose the smaller size, did my usual 1 inch FBA (which resulted in adding a side dart) and made a muslin which turned out too big at the bust. I pinned out all excess fabric and much to my surprise that equalled completely undoing the FBA and getting rid of the dart. Must have something to do with the release pleats coming from the shoulder and the loose fit in general. Okay then, taping the slashed pattern piece back together. Fine by me! The only other flat pattern adjustment I made was adding 2 cm length to both front and back. From there on it was easy sewing, even with a melted brain.

Not mentioned in the Knipmode instructions, but always a highlight: the burrito!

My fabric perhaps wasn't the best choice for showing the details. I'm tempted make this top again in a solid crepe for autumn.

The shape is definitely more boxy than I usually prefer but it is a joy to wear on hot days. 

The back, showing the curved hemline.

And a close up of the back yoke and pleat.

One last picture of the blouse 'out in the wild' on a trip to Germany:

To everyone enduring a heatwave: keep it cool!