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Buttonholes and Polka dots: Simplicity 1590

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Waaaaay back in September of last year (2013) I was preparing for some major exams and frantically sewing as a distraction. The project in question was Simplicity 1590, a vintage reprint pattern for a blouse. The blouse was mostly finished in September, only making the buttonholes and sewing on the buttons remained, but this is where the project stalled. The exams loomed ever nearer, and I still hadn’t figured out how to work the buttonhole function on my sewing machine.


I have mentioned my struggles with the buttonhole function on this sewing machine before in passing, but I sheepishly omitted that there was a  project languishing for six months because I couldn’t figure out how to work the darn thing. I had something of a breakthrough while making the buttonholes on the red plaid coat (i.e., there were actual buttonholes), but i have since refined the process. While the buttonholes on the jacket are serviceable, I wasn’t satisfied with the quality or the reliability of the result.

simplicity 1590

yes, languishing, just like that

In case you were wondering, I did consult the manual, and tried every possible interpretation of directions which I am quite certain were poorly translated into English. Despairing, I made some bold and rebellious decisions. I would ignore the manual, and I would not use the buttonhole attachment. GASP! What blasphemy do I dare speak? Ignoring the directions AND not using the designated tools? Well as reckless as this may seem, using the standard presser foot seems to have done the trick – I can now reliably coax a nice buttonhole from my sewing machine.

Once buttonholes were attainable, this project wrapped up quickly. It has been sometime since I initially sewed the blouse, but I don’t remember any major issues in  making it up – the directions and construction are pretty straightforward. I do remember being rather hesitant about the peplum initially – it is rather… voluminous? I haven’t quite worked out how I want to wear the blouse. It does seem that the six months hanging unfinished in my closet actually benefited the final result. The drape of the peplum is smoother now that the fibers have had a chance to hang out and settle.

The blouse is made out of a lovely navy and white polka dot voile. I would suggest only using fabrics with significant drape for this pattern; I think the blouse is wearable only because it is a voile. As for the design? I love the smooth swoop of the neckline and the non-sleeve sleeves, but I am still not a huge fan of the voluminous peplum. I would duplicate the neckline and sleeves in another project, but not the rest of the blouse. That would take some major alterations, so it doesn’t seem likely right now.

DSCN4740What’s ahead? I’m knitting away at a baby sweater at the moment, and I recently finished two more versions of Simplicity 1460. After that? who knows. I’m getting in my sewing while I have time.



About autumnyarn

I am a graduate student who sews and knits to satisfy the creative urge, makes clothing to keep the creativity useful, and writes about it to de-stress.

6 responses »

  1. I like it; it really suits you. I know what you mean about peplums, though. I wasn’t keen as I wasn’t sure they’d be flattering on me, but having seen others’ versions, like yours, I’d be happier to give it a go. I’m enjoying your blog, btw! Jen

    • Thank you! I do like the blouse and peplums in general. I think the problem I have with them is that they are more limited in what you can wear with them? But you should them a try! Experimenting is fun, and you might end up loving them.

    • Thank you! I still haven’t worked out how all to wear it/style it, but jeans always work.

  2. I love the peplum. It is an effortless look with your trouser jeans. Go for it! And doesn’t the peplum seem reminiscent of those lovely little girl dresses that had just the right flounce for twirling? Nice fit.

  3. I love the peplum on you, I think it’s sort of understated but still present, and super cute. (I’m used to thinking of Kim K when I think peplum, ha!)

    I was wondering about the differences between this and S1460. How would you rate one over the other?

    • Thank you!

      I think that S1460 is a more versatile pattern than S1590. The way the peplum is attached in S1590 really locks you into one length, and the pattern comes with two very similar variations. In contrast, S1460 comes with multiple sleeve treatments, necklines, and lengths in the pattern already. I made a dress out of S1460 by extending the peplum (I need some pictures before it makes it into a blog post), and I am very happy with how it came out. S1590 is a solid pattern, but if I had to pick one, I would go with S1460 every time.


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