Back when I scored the gorgeous burgundy shot cotton that went into Mom’s birthday blouse, I also purchased the end of another bolt of shot cotton. (I may be bitter that Exquisite Fabrics moved from Georgetown to Culpepper, VA, but that moving sale is the gift that keeps on giving). This teal cotton only amounted to an uneven yard of 60 inch wide fabric, but it was so lovely that I held out for a project that could be a wardrobe staple. The burgundy shot cotton made up beautifully into a fairly structured blouse for Mom, so I knew I wanted to make something structured and tailored for myself.
When I made Simplicity 2154 before I loved how it came out, though in my previous attempt I cut the pieces a size too big and wrestled unnecessarily with fitting. I cut out the correct size this time, and lo and behold, it fits without adjustment. (On the sensible and mature hand, I learned many useful altering skill by starting with the wrong pattern size. On the sane hand, UGH.) Arranging the pattern pieces to cut them out required creativity as the pattern calls for just over a yard of fabric and my piece was just under a yard. You can usually squeeze all the pieces into less fabric than is called for on the pattern packet, but these pattern pieces called for a lot of squeezing. The element of suspense just makes sewing more exciting, right? There wasn’t enough fabric to cut out the bias bow pattern piece, but this was more a happy accident than tragedy. The detail of the mustard blouse for which I bear the least affection is the actual, rather floppy, bow. Minus the bow but with the “knot,” the blouse looks more stream-lined and modern.
This sleeker blouse also reprises my favorite feature of Simplicity 2154 – the zipper. Gasp! Did I say that my favorite part was the ZIPPER? Aren’t zippers the most obnoxious step in sewing a garment? Putting them in nicely is fussy and miserable, and they are installed near the end when you just want the project finished and wearable already. Placing the zipper as the best part of this pattern is a rather bold claim.
But I have my reasons. Prior to sewing my first Simplicity 2154, I had always installed zippers by following the instructions that come on your average Coats and Clark zipper package. For a standard zipper this meant either a centered or a lapped application, but in both cases the seam where the zipper would be installed was sewn shut and the zipper was stitched in place essentially blind. This is a perfectly reasonable way to sew in a zipper, but I always disliked not being able to see what I was doing. For the Simplicity 2154, I followed the sewing directions in the pattern to the letter (which may be more rare than I am willing to admit) and thereby discovered a completely different approach. The pattern indicates that the seam should not be sewn shut; rather, the seam allowances should be folded under and pressed, and the zipper sewn in place accordingly. For whatever reason, this approach makes much more sense to my brain, and it obviously gave sharp results.
Also, the whole pull-tab at the bottom seam design is fantastic. I have an illustrious career of getting myself tangled in garments with side zippers. The bottom opening zipper, however, combined with the button opening at the back of the neck have thus far compensated for graceless dressing on my part.
I’ve been wearing this blouse like crazy at the office this summer. It is polished and professional but cool and comfortable, AND it is such a pretty, versatile color. This blouse makes dressing professionally for DC summer bearable.
This long holiday weekend (huzzah!) has meant a bit of time to blog and sew (and pretend I shouldn’t be studying instead). I am working out how to sew in the new apartment without losing my mind, disrupting the roommate, or accidentally killing her cat. I made the very grownup decision to purchase an actual, life-size ironing board. There is a proper, if pricey, fabric store a twelve minute drive from my new apartment. I am cautiously considering all of the above as positive developments.
Up next? There may be a sundress, sewn from a bed sheet, with boning in the bodice. Just saying.