Thursday, 14 May 2015

From idea to finished garment

This is a rather ironic post. I started this project in November, and had a blog post almost ready. It said something like "from idea to finished creation in a couple of weeks". Ha ha ha. This little number has been hanging on a dress stand until this Wednesday, when I first removed the far too stiff interfacing at the neck line and hand sew a thin hem instead, yesterday when I did the most of hemming, and today when I finished it all. I would say about four hours in total these past few days? Me and "fast projects"...

Anyhow, the rather long story about a rather quick - but not short! - project.

Of course, it starts with an idea. This time about a blouse in silk, a bit looser and more flowing than I normally wear. And the fabric, in this case a floating silk charmeuse that my sister bought when she was in China a couple of years ago. (I paid for her over weight on the flight home. After all, she brought back huge amounts of fabric for me.) The difference between silk satin and silk charmeuse? Charmeuse is lighter, with an almost liquid drape - and even more slippery. It's the same sort of weave as a satin, but I guess with a thinner thread.

Various pictures of blouses appeared in my head, among them the two from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing and a vintage pattern I've seen somewhere. With these in mind I drafted a first pattern and made a toille. I didn't like how the kimono sleeves turned out, and I really didn't like that the whole blouse fell backwards and the huge amount of fabric that gathered at my lower back. I changed the pattern, and made another toille. (I used first a polyester lining and then an acetate lining for the toilles - they are more similar in their drape than an ordinary cotton would be.) I got the very short sleeves in order, the front, the shoulder seam but not the lower back - still to much fabric. So I pinned away the excess fabric, added what went missing at the hem and it worked. At the same time rather incomprehensible and still comprehensible how that turned out.
Silk blouse toille
I put the silk in water (about 45 degrees C so there won't be a problem to wash it in 40 degrees later) and when it was almost dry I only had to iron out the wrinkles. The silk organza that I planed to use for stabilizing the facings got the same treatment.
Silk blouse pre-wash
Charmeuse is slippery and very ungrateful to work with (but oh so nice to wear!) so I re-draw the pattern pieces (they where very cut, taped and folded). To make it more simple for me, I also added seam allowances to the pattern, made the front so I wouldn't have to cut it on fold and didn't cut out the pattern pieces in the end. I used a lot of extra thin needles and then I cut through both fabric and paper (I use thin silk paper) at the same time. I doubled the facing with silk organza (it would of course been easier to first cut the organza and then the charmeuse, but I'm not always so clever.
Silk blouse cutting charmeuse
I was very clear from the start with buttons at the back, so that's what I started with, since I considered the facing and the buttonholes the scariest part of this project. I figured that if I totally messed it up there was enough fabric to re-do the back. With double layers of organza the buttonholes turned out lovely. Once again I thought about bound buttonholes, but I really wanted to keep the sewing simple after the hardship of the Dior jacket. I had planned for posh glass vintage buttons, but they were to heavy for the light silk, so I went for fabric covered buttons instead - another favourite. When facings and buttonholes were done, I moved on to the front.

It was really worth the effort to baste the darts before sewing to avoid everything slipping away. I made french seams at the sides and shoulders to get rid of the raw edges, and even if it feels totally crazy to sew the wrong sides together it all turns out right in the end.
Silk blouse French seam
As I said in the beginning, after sewing the neckline interfacing the blouse went into sleeping mode and when I woke it up I removed the interfacing. To stiff for the soft and rather deep neckline.
Silk blouse removing interfacing
So I did a lot of hand sewing - as usual - and then presto it was done!
Silk blouse front
Silk blouse back
Silk blouse detail
To be honest, I'm not quite sure if I like it. The model and drape is really good, but perhaps not on me. I prefer my clothes fitted at the bodice, not floating. We'll see though when I actually wear it.

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