Friday, March 11, 2016

Two More Tried And True Blouses - B5538


Edit: I seem to have resolved the issue - please alert me if you have further trouble. Big thanks to Caro and shams for their help!
Edit: Caro has let me know that pictures are still absent for some viewers, as well as the Google Photo album. I loaded the pictures up on Facebook where no one has had trouble so far. You can search for me as Stephanie Qich or try this link: photo album. I sincerely apologize and thank Caro for her help!

ON EDIT: Blogger has been changing their picture hosting settings, and the pictures did not appear when I first published this post. I believe I have fixed the issue, but if you have any issues you may view the images here: link to album.

As of two days ago I've made THREE more blouses! This post shows two of them. I used the same Connie Crawford for Butterick design as I did for the black eyelet Ivey Abitz inspired blouse, but made changes to the neckline, length and sleeve.  Adrienne of Wear The Hat has been working on multiples as well - check out her first Chanel style jacket! Absolute drop dead chic worn with jeans, well worth the effort. (Adrienne I had trouble responding to your comment on my last post so wanted to drop it here where i knew you'd see it.) Yes i love my readers!



Back to the blouses. I like collars that morph into ties. A few years ago I bought a Babeau pussy bow blouse and the neckline was just about perfect, so I based this neckline on that blouse. I made the collar/tie of a simple long rectangle which finishes at one inch wide, with varying length.

The polka dot blouse uses the sleeve from the original pattern. For the floral blouse, I added gathers and about half an inch to the cap height for a fuller look. These looks are very influenced by seventies French designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Cacharel, and Chloe. All made very wearable blouses paired with full skirts. Worn with boots or oxfords, the resulting outfits are very practical as well as feminine and, when made up in more high end fabrications, quite luxe.



Which brings me to the focus of this post. These blouses really shine because they fit nicely, have subtle details, and are made with really beautiful garment fabrics. Many of us sew to get the most value for our dollar. As a consequence, we look for fabrics which cost less per yard. Indeed, many gorgeous, artful garments have sprung from humble quilting cottons, denim, and interior decorator specials.

However I encourage you to additionally take a look at the nicer fabrics made specifically for garments. No one would suggest that you neglect your construction skills, or leave off pressing during construction. Similarly, don't let the quality of materials you use fall behind your level of craftswomanship! I don't recommend compulsively buying top dollar, impractical fabrics. Simply make yourself aware, educate your hand and eye to what a really beautifully designed print looks like, how a fine Italian cotton jacquard feels to wear and work with. These experiences will inform your decisions when you shop the discount bin and enable you to find the gems.



I purchased the polka dot linen at Stone Mountain and Daughter in Berkeley, CA. I stop by frequently as I live fairly close by and visit Berkeley a few times monthly. They stock a wide variety of garment fabrics, including wool, knits, silks (prints, stretch, blends), linen. The beauty of shopping in person means I get to contemplate these fabrics for weeks or months before buying. I squeaked this blouse out of the yardage as I'd daydreamed about it so long there was only about one and a half yards left on the bolt!

This linen is finer than most medium weight linen, with fewer nubs as the threads are more regular. The blue, while dark, has a bright life to it, and I love the random placement of the dots. They're a light stone color, easier on my complexion than stark white. Finally, the fibres themselves shine with a lovely soft sheen. This fabric is much nicer than decorator linen when you're looking to make a blouse, as the weave, weight, color and pattern scale are all suited to the body rather than a couch.

I bought the floral cotton jacquard online from Marcy Tilton last summer. The base fabric is a beautiful cotton paisley jacquard. Very light and soft with a wonderful drape. I used a bit of spray starch and it was easy to work with.  I would have fallen for this fabric instantly for the colorful, gorgeously depicted floral print alone - combined with the impeccable base fabric I cannot imagine anything more delicious!



There are many options for buying garment fabrics online and in person today. The trick is to find a store whose aesthetic lies along similar lines to your own. I visit Britex in San Francisco from time to time, and while it is truly a world class fabric store I never find any fabric I want to buy. They buy for someone with more money and more special occasions than I sew for - as intoxicating as the Valentino silk chiffon prints may be, they fit neither my lifestyle nor my budget.

At the Tilton store, it's a different story. While she is known for edgy knits in neutral tones, Marcy Tilton buys fabric in a much wider range. I've been shopping from her long enough to have confidence in the quality of what she offers and to know to keep an eye out for specials and end cuts. There are many online fabric stores, and each has their own aesthetic and specialty. If you cannot find everything you'd like in brick and mortar stores near you, take the time to do some research to see if there's a store or two out there which could be worth your while. When you're getting to know a store, you can order samples if they offer that service, or buy a less expensive piece on sale, special, or end cut. After a couple of orders you should have a better feel for how you like the store without being out too much cash.

I'm not suggesting that everyone immediately drop everything and only buy $200 a yard cashmere for their work clothes. I'm just saying that it's worthwhile to take a look around at some of the nicer and newer stuff now and then. If any of it catches your fancy, and you think you would wear it, see if you can buy some at a reasonable rate. Every now and then take a look to see if there's any new vendors around who carry merchandise that speaks to you. Keeping up to date with what is on offer is an excellent way to keep your sewing fresh, creative and satisfying.



I'm wearing my staple Extasia jewelry here. I've combined a couple of the petite charms with my Benitez Jewelers rose studs to make dangling, "They go but they don't match" earrings. The charm you can see here was a lovely gift from Joanne, who works at the Extasia Outlet in Nevada City, CA. If you're up there be sure to visit the store! They have incredible deals on their outstanding jewelry, from everyday wear to elaborate statement pieces. Joanne herself is delightful and quite knowledgeable on matters esoteric, metaphysical, and philosophical. She is always an intriguing conversationalist and I am happy to have a keepsake from her.

If you know of any great online stores for sewing let us know in the comments!


27 comments:

  1. Love your blog, and miss it during your longer breaks - and now I can't see the pictures! And the link you give isn't working for me! Thought I'd better let you know the problem is continuing.

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    1. Caro thank you for letting me know! I'm not certain i'll be able to figure this out anytime soon, it is very irritating as i've followed blogger's recs. Are you on Facebook? The photos i've uploaded there have been visible - i'll upload the rest and leave a link. I am Stephanie Qich on Facebook.

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    2. Thanks - all visible now. Three beautiful blouses in two days... sigh...

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  2. I can't see your pics either, Stephanie. But I went to your album and your tops are sooo cute!

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    1. Thank you sweetie! I am pretty sure that the photos got set to private and i'm trying to figure how to set them to public (which is always my default). I appreciate your taking the trouble to look and comment! Happy Weekend!

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  3. So pretty! I agree, tie-front pussy-bow blouses are fun and feminine. Your variations are great.

    That Google Blogger business - they make me nuts sometimes. They're letting Picasa go in a few days, probably the reason for intermittent pic problems. I am a heavy user of Picasa and really dislike Google for this. Am working on a Wordpress site, just dragging my feet re. making the change...

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    1. Thank you Coco! I always enjoy your makes, you have a great balance of femme and very wearable. Love it!

      I am pretty sure you nailed it. It's sinking in that I should look into a more supported blogging platform - but like you say, it's a big project!

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  4. Those are totally fabulous blouses! You create quite a vision w/your curled hair atop the blouse. The flowered one is simply breathtaking. And you are inspiring me to put one of my "saved" silks closer to the top of the waiting list. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and I think it will be a blouse for me very soon! Also the jewelry! Good grief I HAVE TO GET TO THE BAY AREA sometime soon!

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    1. ooh, i'm glad you're getting het up to sew up some of the yummy stuff! I think it's great to have a bit saved up 'for nice, for later' but can't let that pile get out of hand ;)

      I would lovelovelove to see you!!! I just got caught up on the stitcher's guild threads, your mexico city ensemble is glorious! That shawl with the bit of your paisley tank peeking out is just perfect, and i love your leaping antelopes on the back. Give your fur peeps our regards, steph

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  5. These are beautiful blouses! And I agree with you about using the best fabric possible for making garments. Now why haven't I been following your blog these posts are amazing!

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    1. Hello oh Reigning Queen of the TNT! yes, we have to consider our budgets but it's important to not sell ourselves short either. Thank you for the compliment - i'm enjoying these additions to the closet :) Happy Weekend!

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  6. I'm having a hard time seeing anything but your glorious curls! Nice to see you posting again.

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    1. Hello Mrs. STASH!!!! Nice to see you too :) I've been doing the curly girl method and growing it out, it's lots of fun! Thank you for stopping by!

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  7. Wonderful blouses! They look so right on you - retro and modern at the same time. Love the perfect "any season" sleeve length, too.

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    1. Thank you sweetie! I do like my clothes to be very practical at the end of the day. So many people can't see behind the pretty prints but you have the sewists' eye! Happy Monday!

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  8. It's always interesting to see how a good TNT can be adapted to so many flattering garments!

    I'm playing a variation of the Pattern Curator game that Bloom from Bloom's Endless Summer suggested. 6 patterns to act as the base of a season's worth of garments. She suggested that they all be from different companies, and are all currently in print. I've decided to shop my pattern stash instead, with one exception (the Classic T-Shirt Dress from Pamela's Patterns).

    I love the idea of sewing with a plan, but I seem to keep spinning my wheels in the decision stage. I'm hoping my narrowing it down to 6 patterns I'll actually spend some time sewing! I've already cut out a muslin for some skirted leggings - now I just need a bit of time to get in front of the machine.

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    1. Hi E! yes, i'm always seeing people make things i never would have guess from various TNTs! Your Bloom Pattern Curator plan sounds really interesting and a wonderful structure for a person who accumulates many patterns. I checked out her own selection and it is wonderful, cohesive and flexible and really suits her style!

      Let us know how this approach works out for you - those skirted leggings sound like a great start for a spring summer wardrobe :)

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  9. Hi I love that flower print fabric. So pretty. And may I say I am loving your longer locks too. I can see how developing a staple pattern really works. I am shifting gears from my tops to my bottom. I had an opportunity to take a pants fitting seminary from Sarah Veblen. An east coast girl who was from the west coast. Anyways I have a tolie fitted for my next jacket but want pants to coordinate newer version of a suit. I am probably going to buy some sort of denim weight fabric. You a while back posted about your experience of making your own jeans and they came out fantastic. Anyways once I get these bottom fitting kinks out I am going on a sewing frenzy... I feel you are correct about looking for new sources of Fabric. Our one clothing fabric store is in chapter 8 . Sooooo I think I am going to have to drive to Baltimore or Philadelphia to find a reasonably priced source of better quality fabric. I just cant figure out if I like something from a swatch. BTW I owe you a hat. I am thinking a sweet cloche in a twisted seagrass may be coming your way. 21.5 head size???? I can decorate it or leave it undecorated. Your choice.... I am blocking next week.

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    1. Hullo Adrienne! That is fantastic about your Sarah Veblen muslin, i've heard and seen so many great things about her. Yeah, if you have a non-standard figure (like me) nailing down a few well fitting TNT's just opens up a whole world of possiblities - tho it makes real life shopping even harder since now you are used to a great fit!

      oh dear, best of luck with the new fabric sources! hmm. you've got me thinking about how to present some info for online shopping that might help people like yourself dip your toe in the waters - it really is a boon. I don't want to say too much and jinx it, i get so bad at posting these days ... but could be useful to people too!

      oh dear you are too generous and no i cannot resist! that sounds amazing and wonderful! Just measured the old bean and it came out to 22.5 inches. .... my e-mail is wanderinbritches AT gmail DOT com . Send me a note and let's talk!!! Happy Day!

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    2. I very much like the idea of a post about purchasing fabrics on line. Something I know little about but need to start doing. I am fed up with the selection at Handcocks, besides they are going out of business in my area.

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    3. Noted! i've started an outline, feel free to bug me if i take too long ;) Happy Friday Adrienne!!!

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  10. These are lovely blouses, and I agree with you about choosing quality fabrics. We are artists, and deserve good materials. As an aside, I think your hair is looking incredible.

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  11. Your blouses are beautiful and the fabrics are wonderful. How fortunate you are to be close to SMD. I have only been there once on a Pattern Review weekend. I live in Central CA, so most of my shopping is done online.. I have been enjoying perusing through your blog this evening. Your garments are lovely and I love your writing style.

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