Sewing Summer

Over the past few months, I’ve been steadily trying to build a handmade spring/summer wardrobe for myself and the girls. I haven’t made much progress on my own, save for the wrap skirt I made when I first got my sewing machine (already I can see all the imperfections) and a pair of pajama pants (more on those another day), but I have some lovely seersucker fabric pants awaiting my attention and transformation into flowy summer pants. Hopefully soon.

I am making a bit more headway on the girls’ wardrobes, though was a bit delayed during May, what with the flurry of non-clothes sewing/crafting. It’s going more slowly than I would like, given how much they’ve outgrown recently, but to date, I’ve sewn Ani a dress and Aria a skirt, a dress and this blouse, just completed yesterday.

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The pattern is the Mother/Daughter Blossom Blouse from Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee (love her name, by the way). It is simple, consisting of only two pattern pieces (a total of four fabric pieces – front, back, sleeves) and quick to put together. Adding gathered elastic on the sleeves was new for me, but it turned out fairly well, the only exception being the end, where I couldn’t quite figure out how to keep it stretched (anyone have advice on that?). So that part of the gathered elastic is not so gathered, but it’s not that noticeable unless you are looking for it. The pattern calls for plain linen and a few strategically placed appliqués, but I had this lovely paisley cotton, almost-linen-feeling fabric on hand, which I think turned out quite nicely. I used a contrast stitching for the main seams (not the elastic), which I generally like but am still not quite sure about for this piece…maybe if the seams were double stitched, hmm…

I do have one complaint about this pattern and that is the length/sizing. I made the Large (6-6x) size for Aria which I thought would be pretty roomy as she usually wears a 5-6 with a bit of room to spare. The pattern looked a bit short so I lengthened it to the XL (7-8) size – the largest size the pattern offers – thinking that would allow for growth. According to the author, “the blouse is meant to ‘grow’ with the child, so it would fit more like a tunic on a smaller child and more like a shirt as the child grows” (p81). I love that idea, but that is definitely not what this pattern is designed for. Even at the 7-8 length, the finished product barely covers Aria’s tummy. She’s tall, but not so tall that a 7-8 shouldn’t fit, with room to spare. It fits for now, but probably won’t last past this summer.

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Overall, I’m fairly pleased with how this turned out. I’ll definitely be making more Blossom Blouses (I can envision a long-sleeved version in a heavier fabric for cooler weather), but in the future will add at least an extra inch or two to Aria’s. We’ll see about Ani’s; I cut the pattern for hers out before realizing the sizing issue. I’m about halfway done, so will let you know how it goes.

The fabric for this blouse is repurposed from a 100% cotton shower curtain, purchased for $1.99 from my favorite local thrift store, Unique. I had the elastic and thread already so all-in-all, a very inexpensive blouse (especially when you factor in the blouse I’m making for Ani of the same fabric and whatever else I make with the leftovers).

Lesson learned: It’s best to try out a pattern once before cutting the fabric for multiple pieces, lest any adjustments need to be made.

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