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!


  1. What a fun read! Looks like a wonderful trip even if you think the blouse did not quite make the grade. That fabric is indeed lovely!

    1. The trip was absolutely wonderful and I have a few more Portuguese photo shoots to share! I've already bought more of this fabric for a summer dress. At least I know What Not to Sew, that dress will have many darts!

  2. well that color is gorgeous and the outfit looks great (along with the trip) but I know exactly what you mean about sewing a fabric that is just a bit too stiff for the style chosen. onward to the next thing, right?

    1. Onward it is! This was definitely one of these outfits that looked better in my head than on me. I even sewed the matching blue scarf for the hat very last minute to complete the look....Must make better plans for the rest of that fabric next summer!

  3. It's a shame that you don't like it; I understand about the fabric suitability. The fabric looks lovely and I enjoyed the photos of your trip. Here's to the refashion - or the next thing!