Simple Sew Pussy-bow Blouse

Well, I think I may have found it – it has taken several  blouse making attempts (here, here and here, to name a few!) and a lot of frustration but I appear to have actually made a blouse which has the perfect fit!

It is the simple Sew Pussy-bow dress and blouse and I’ve had it cut out since before summer. I had a bit of a to-do pile sort out and brought this to the top and I’m so glad that I did!

The pattern is (as the name suggests) really simple. The instructions are minimalist and when I was first learning, I couldn’t really access the Simple Sew patterns for that reason but I find them really easy and convenient to follow now! It has several darts, at the front and the back, which lend for a really nice shape. There’s no pulling across the chest and it doesn’t feel uncomfortable at all.

After making New Look 6471 recently and having huge problems with the neckline, I found the way that the neckline comes together really clever. You sew it all right sides together and then turn it out on itself through a hole in the back of the neckline which you then hand stitch shut. It makes for a really easy way to do it.

The pattern calls for a side zip insertion, which I’m definitely getting better at (still to master that invisible zip though)

And… that’s it. I chose this fabric especially from my local market and although I’m not much of a pink person, I just thought it was really cheerful and i’m really pleased with it. I’m thinking a nice, simple black version would look really chic for my next attempt at this! It’s a dress too so I might even make that version.

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Sewing the Scene

Just when I was in a post Indie Pattern Month dip, in which I won amazing prizes for my dress and my wanted Tee and Culottes combination, I noticed the #sewingthescene challenge which Jo at The Unfinished Seamstress has organised. I talked about all the challenges in my last vlog post

The idea behind the challenge is that you copy an outfit to be worn every day (not a costume) based on an outfit you have seen in a film or TV programme. There are prizes in three categories.

I have found this ridiculously inspiring. I’ve been scouring the Internet and pinterest (see my film outfit inspiration board here if you’re interested). My original thoughts were from the following:

But in my searching I got over these ideas a little bit and was lusting over the amazing outfits that Louisa wears in Me Before You.

I’m sure lots of people are using this character as inspiration but I couldn’t resist! I decided on this deceptively simple blouse and skirt combination. I’m quite keen to hone my shirt making skills so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Plus, it’s practical, I could easily wear both items separately and without the tights of course! I’m also obviously hoping that I will look like her when I’m done…

 I had a rummage through my pattern stash for something which would fit the bill for the blouse and found Simplicity 6232 which I had used to make my brother a shirt last Christmas  so I had never used the female version. I cut it out and used a white cotton from my stash (this challenge was getting better and better – I hadn’t spent anything at this point!)

I tried really hard to be super precise in my cutting and as I was constructing it, everything came together really easily. I find with some garments, I don’t have to follow the instructions too much now, but I followed this to the letter and it seemed to pay off, I’ve got neat plackets and cuffs anyway (sewing win!)

Trying to stay true to Louisa’s outfit I went against my inner embellisher and kept it plain white, but I couldn’t resist throwing in a contrast yoke! I used this lovely bird print which was in my stash, which reminds me of a China cup.

Anyway, the shirt doesn’t have any buttons showing along the placket and I wasn’t sure how I could replicate this so I got out my trusty popper gadget and I inserted poppers along the inside of the placket before I attached it so that they couldn’t be seen on the outside. Then, once I had finished the shirt I inserted the poppers for the other side.

I’m going to try this blouse again with some funky iron-on embellishments like this shirt I saw somewhere online on a website called Shein…. So cheap I don’t trust it but still a good shirt! 

For the skirt – I looked around to try and source a fabric for the skirt which would lend itself to big deep pleats, like in the picture. I couldn’t find anything which stood out so I reverted to an indigo cotton. I self-drafted a skirt and used lots of fabric to insert big box pleats. The fabric isn’t the same blue as in the picture sadly but I like it.

All that was left to do was dig out my black and yellow tights and I had my Sewing the Scene outfit.

Trying to get yellow tights shot!

Are you planning on joining this challenge? Even if you aren’t, I definitely recommend using film and TV wardrobes for inspiration. There’s  so much out there! Thanks so much to Jo for organising!

Copycat Orla

This is my most favourite dress is a long time. The kind of make when you take it from your machine after the hem and think Awwww Yeah, this is a good one!

I got this fabric especially to try and replicate this dress I saw on Simply Be as I glamourously mentioned in my vlog

It caught my eye and I really liked the relax style of it. I thought a slight hack of the French Navy Orla Dress which I have made a couple of times now, once as the dress and once as a top hack.

Anyway, I know it’s a great dress to hack but I only really needed to add frills to the sleeves, the rest is very similar to the Orla. 

It’s difficult to chose a thread for a fabric like this; the instagram world voted white as a majority so I went with white and used white in my overlocker. I only changed this to do the black bias on the neckline.

I cut the fabric, using the squares to line up as much as I could. I lengthened the sleeve pieces and added some fabric to the width of the skirt so that it would be fuller. I also cut two extra pieces for the ruffles on the sleeves.

I used the remaining fabric to create the ruffle for make recent skirt make (maybe link) and I knew that as I tried to gather it, it frayed ridiculously. To try and avoid this I used elastic to gather, similarly to what you do for the Moneta by measuring the length of the bodice and cutting a piece of elastic to that length. I then overlocked the elastic on place. I did the sleeve ruffles in the same way. It created really neat and even gathers and I would definitely do it like this again.

I the attached the skirt and the bodice and overlocked them as normal. The sleeves with set in and this wasn’t any different as the ruffle was already attached. I finished it with a 18inch black zip and black bias binding. 

I attached some little bows at the sleeves. I think the bows of the dress are a bit bigger but I’m not much of a bow girl so I used smaller ones.

I think the dress is a great shape, it is lose without being unflattering and I’m so pleased with it as a replication of the dress.

I don’t usually bother to cost up my makes but I think it’s interesting to consider when I’m copying directly from a retailer so in terms of cost-

The dress on Simply Be = £35.00

French Navy Orla Dress= FREE 

2 metres gingham fabric =£10.00

2 Black Ribbons =60p

Thread= probably about £1

So I saved £23.40 and I probably have a better fit. Bonus!! It’s definitely worth using the high street as inspiration- what do you think? 

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