Wednesday, March 21, 2012

FO: The "Is This a Turkey?" Gingham Blouse

Doris Day and friend
I have seen so many great uses of gingham across sewing-blogland.  Jane and Scruffybadger spring to mind.
Note that both those ladies used navy and white check gingham, emphatically not pink.  But I was using up leftover fabric from the stash.  That's it all gone now.  Phew!

Love Hearts Candy Blouse from 2010
Here's a reminder of Pink Gingham Mark One, the 1940s pattern Love Hearts Candy Blouse:  puffy sleeves, puffy body, too short, a collar that knocks my earrings out.
In its favour?  I like the buttons.  It looks OK with a cardigan on top and is just long enough to tuck into the waistband of my Eva Dress 1940's trousers.

So, what have I done with my fabric this time?

Oh look!  It's another pink puff-ball blouse!
"Out" with Japanese pattern trousers

"In" with 1940s Eva Dress pattern trousers
Stats:
Pattern:  Simplicity 5441 from 1964, size 14 (34 inch bust)
Fabric:  Gingham from the depths of the stash, bought to make a dress for my daughter when she was still young enough to wear pink... so probably ten years ago.  Price unknown.
White waffle shirting from Croftmill for the collar, £4 per metre.

Process:
A bit of a stinker.  I wrote Part One on Sunday

I think the collar fabric was a bad match for the lightweight gingham, especially once interfaced.  The waffle shirting has a lovely crisp finish, but its weight overwhelmed the soft gingham, which kept getting caught up in odd folds and puckers in the most unexpected places.

In particular, the neck facing was a ruffled mess, requiring painstaking unpicking and re-stitching despite careful pinning.  I was so distracted by the issues at the front neck that I misunderstood the instructions for the back and sewed the edge of the buttonbands flush with the collar edge - wrong!

Back view with a brooch to fasten neck
However, when I tried it on, I realised I could get it over my head while pinned all the way up, so I decided  to stitch the back as a seam, rather than a functional opening, leaving just a couple of inches at the top, with a hook and eye at the back of the collar.
Of course, the reason I can get it over my head is that it is really rather big.  I took it in by about an inch on each side and it is definitely better now.
Eight darts have to release their fabric somewhere, and in this case it all comes puffing out around the bust / middle back.   This is a phenomenon I have grown accustomed to with my Sencha blouses... and I accept that they have to be tucked in.  However, I had been hoping this would be an "overblouse".  Nope.  It does absolutely nothing for me left loose.  I look like a big pink puffy top-heavy marshmallow.  And considering I only have a 32 inch chest, that's pretty impressive.
"In" with Simplicity 2654 shorts
But tucked in?  Yes, I concede it is wearable.  My original plan was to add short sleeves, but that would only have added to the general impression of upper-body inflation, so I ran a line of white bias binding round the arm openings instead.  I was definitely NOT in the market for another fight with facings.

Verdict?

Well, you know, I will wear it.  But it is not going to fill the wardrobe gap I identified for tops to wear "out" over narrow trousers, for that Audrey-esque silhouette.  Unless I add a cardigan or a little jacket...  and actually, that's the most likely scenario in this climate.

As for its pinkness, maybe I need to toughen it up a bit with some sugar-free accessories.  Maybe add a black bow at the centre of the collar?  A lariat?  A pistol?  A chicken under each arm?  A sleeve tattoo? Any other ideas?
I think I've had enough of sewing with pink gingham.

But more to the point, will I use this pattern again?  This was supposed to be a "muslin" after all.
Hmmm.
It was an awful lot of work for something so simple-looking.  Really, there's not much more to it style-wise than the Sorbetto and some people run those up in an hour or so. 

And there's a reason I have never made a Sorbetto.  I am uncomfortable with a shape that draws so much attention to my bust without hinting at a waist.  This pattern has not one but two set of darts pointing at my chest, and I feel like I am advertising uplifting underwear.  And yet, I could eat pie and chips for every meal for a month and you would be none the wiser.  There is acres of space around the tummy region.
This is a pattern to flatter a girl with a full bust and no waist.  I have a small bust and a defined waist. 

Am I complaining that it is "too vintage"?  Maybe that's my problem.  Evelyn left a comment to that effect the other day.  I look at that photo of Doris Day and her turkey and I want to pull her blouse down a bit, to stop it blossoming out so far in front.  Oh dear!  Maybe this is just not my era!  Or I am more of an Audrey than a Doris?  Would I have saved myself a lot of trouble by drawing a croquis and analysing the pattern construction before I started?

The biggest irony of all is that I only decided to make this pattern as a practice-run for a similar Simplicity pattern from the same period, 7457.  And my copy is sized to fit a 36 inch bust:  even bigger!

But it does have fewer darts.  And I know that it will require grading down at least 3 inches before I even get so far as to cut out the fabric, so I will be less likely to just wing it. 

So... it could be said that the two projects have very little in common after all.
And I will probably need to make a muslin of the 7457.

What was I thinking?!

15 comments:

StephC said...

Oh! I really really like this style on you. Make more! You can always deepen the darts and the seams around the waist... If you took it in by a tiny amount at each dart and seam and blended it in, you'd end up taking up quite a lot and might like it more.

That said, I think it's a cute shape... :) Sure, it doesn't show off your cute figure, but the shirt itself is cute and you are in it... Does that make sense?

beate said...

i like the fabric-choices! so fresh!
BUT - with you "audrey-figure" you don´t need so much darts. only a little horizontal bust-dart and maybe 4 slim waist darts - 2 in front, 2 in back. often it needs only back-waist-darts when the sides curved in and the material is not to stiff. maybe you try some teenagepatterns from the 50´/60´ ?

Scruffybadger said...

It's interesting reading your thought processes around this style. You know the concept us lovely, the fabric choices work well together and the shorts/ cardi look is adorable. What's interesting is you thinking about what you feel less comfy about, and the shape / croquis question. I'd give it a go, and also think about whether you could deepen the waist shaping as mentioned by other commenters. I find I often need to play around with waist and side shaping...I know I'm not as svelte as you though!

didyoumakethat said...

I feel for you! Eight darts is a lot of adjustment if you were to make this again - it does look a bit big on the back, though that can totally be disguised with a cardie. NB I should point out that a Sorbetto usually takes me about three hours to make!

Roobeedoo said...

Three Hours?! Karen, you are such a slacker! ;)

Beate - thank you for reminding me about teen sized patterns!

feresaknit said...

I don't think all the work you put in shows through but that said I do think it looks really good with the cardy and shorts. :D

Sigrid said...

With cardigan and shorts this looks great. Instead of mucking around with a bunch of alterations, I wonder if a simple SBA would remove the extra fabric puffing up. I have precisely the same problem with darts that release underbust fabric and a trying to figure out some standard alteration so that every bodice fitting doesn't end up being such a bother.

Interestingly, the Sorbetto fit me pretty well once I adjusted the dart height and depth.

LinB said...

Agree that the basic shape as illustrated on the pattern envelope is quite good for your figure! In your muslin, the whole blouse just looks oversized -- shoulders too wide, too much fabric around your slender middle. I could never successfully wear this style, as am too barrel-shaped.
Maybe you could channel Twiggy instead of Audrey. Lots of 60s patterns used T. as an inspiration for their illustrations.

Tanit-Isis said...

Hmm. It certainly has its cuteness. But as others have said, that seems like an intense amount of shaping for something that's the supposed to be pretty shapeless. I agree an SBA may have been in order, but I suspect a different pattern (that doesn't have 8 darts!) would give much the same look, probably with less bust-blousiness. I'm thinking about the 40s, Sencha-esque shell I made a couple of weeks ago---in far too small a size for me, officially, mind you. I omitted the under-bust darts, and ended up with a very 60s-shell kind of look. Having a smallish bust but not-so-defined waist, under-bust darts are tricky for me to pull off, and frankly I think they're a bit odd in this kind of shell pattern. (unless you're looking to tuck it in).

I also think a teeny bit of black would punch up the gingham beautifully---I spent last night making stitch samples trying to figure out how to add black topstitching to my planned pink comfies because otherwise I will get a toothache just wearing them.

As others said, it works tucked in, and is super-cute with the shorts!

Gail said...

I love the style - the collar really makes it; and I think the pink gingham is nice and fresh for spring, especially with the white and navy like you've done it. But I can see why you're unhappy with the fit. With the cardi it looks fantastic though!

Melizza said...

I love how the shirt and shorts compliment each other so well. You look so so cute.

The collar on that blouse is a beauty. Definitely worth sorting out fit issues and making again...maybe? Guess it depends if you fall in love with the pattern later.

Stephen Greene said...

I feel a touch out of place, as I know nothing of darts, croquis or waste deepening techniques. I'd be curious to hear FL's comments, but for what it's worth from this style challenged, Boston man, I agree with Ms. P and several others. A great look with the 'cardy' and the shorts.

Ali said...

I vote for a sleeve tattoo! And a chicken! ;)

The collar is so sweet and vintage-y but I bet I would have the same problem with the sizing and I'm not a huge fan of sewing more than two darts. I wonder what this would look like in a drapier fabric. It would be less boxy (and possibly more flattering) but that might mess with the pattern's structured design.

I'd love to see croquis of you! And that cute collar on 7457.

jessica said...

Roo, I really love how you've been styling these shots of late. Very stylish and very you. Haven't touched a bit of crafting in weeks, but I more than make up for it by following what you're making!

Lucy said...

Croquis! Croquis! ;-)

I always study the line drawing of a pattern before buying it, and definitely before making it to work out whether it will work on my body. And sometimes I have to be brutally honest. For example, I love the 60s up-and-down shift dress look that you keep rocking so well. Would it work for me? Um, no.

That said, looking at those illustrations, I'd've said that 7457 should have worked for you. I guess the problem with vintage patterns is that sometimes the illustrations are all you get until it's too late.