Monday, 24 February 2014

Pattern Testing: The Carme Blouse from Pauline Alice

Diary of a Chainstitcher Pattern Testing Pauline Alice Carme Blouse Sewing Pattern

Pauline from Pauline Alice contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I would like to test her new pattern (the Carme Blouse which was released last Friday!) Of course I said yes! I'd never tried one of Pauline's patterns before but have often been tempted by them as she creates very classic and wearable designs with a retro twist. I know her Cami Dress is very popular amongst sewing bloggers but I think I've got my eye on the drop-waisted Malvarosa Dress next!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Pattern Testing Pauline Alice Carme Blouse Sewing Pattern

The Carme Blouse is a feminine shirt with a small mao style collar and lots of lovely details! I think made up in different fabrics it has the potential to be very versatile, perfect for work or weekend wear. I've styled mine here with jeans for a casual look but it looks equally great tucked into a pencil skirt. 

Diary of a Chainstitcher Pattern Testing Pauline Alice Carme Blouse Sewing Pattern

For my first go I chose to go with plain white cotton lawn (from Simply Fabrics in Brixton) and show off all those lovely details! It was the perfect weight for this blouse, sturdy enough to make sewing and pressing all those pleats a breeze but soft enough to drape nicely which is important as there's a lot of ease around the waist. I'd really like to try making it up in a gorgeous print now I've seen some of the other amazing pattern tester versions. I may have finally found the perfect pattern to use with Liberty Tana Lawn! The white lawn is lovely and soft to wear but is too sheer to get away without wearing over a vest which is a little disappointing.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Pattern Testing Pauline Alice Carme Blouse Sewing Pattern

My favourite feature is the pleated bib! When I first saw the design I thought I'd maybe taken on too much of a challenge as putting it together accurately seemed like it must be a complicated procedure but Pauline has an amazingly failsafe way of doing it which involves stitching the pleats before cutting the bib piece. The centre front button placket is constructed the same way as the sleeve plackets on Colette's Negroni Shirt which might well be my favourite and most satisfying sewing technique yet!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Pattern Testing Pauline Alice Carme Blouse Sewing Pattern

The lovely full sleeves are gathered into narrow cuffs with a single button. There's also the option of rolling up those sleeves to a three quarter length and making use of the lovely sleeve tabs. I know this will be popular with you all as I've seen these added to quite a few Archer's and I really enjoyed constructing this part. I think I like the blouse most with the sleeves rolled up, I very rarely wear long sleeves without pushing them up anyway!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Pattern Testing Pauline Alice Carme Blouse Sewing Pattern

It was a fairly challenging sew for me as it involved a few fiddly techniques which I'd never tried before or at least only had one previous go at. Binding those sleeve vents was not the most relaxing experience! The instructions are clear and well illustrated but the pattern is suggested for intermediate seamstresses, HOWEVER Pauline is putting together some fab video tutorials for the more complicated aspects on her blog making this a great pattern for a beginner wanting to take the next step with a little bit of hand holding...

Diary of a Chainstitcher Pattern Testing Pauline Alice Carme Blouse Sewing Pattern

The blouse is very straightforward to fit because of the relaxed style. I cut a size 36, which is a size smaller than I would normally choose but looking at the finished garment measurements I was concerned about my shape being swallowed up in the ease. I tend to prefer more fitted or figure skimming garments when they have such a high neckline. The fit round the bust and waist has turned out great but the version is a little tight around the hips so I think next time I'll go up a size here and perhaps down a size at the waist to ensure it tucks into a skirt sleekly.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Pattern Testing Pauline Alice Carme Blouse Sewing Pattern

I've been sewing up a shirt and blouse storm recently so it looks like I've finally conquered my fear of those buttonholes! Keep your eyes peeled for my first venture in to menswear which I'm hoping to get some photos of soon!

26 comments:

  1. adorable as always! it looks lovely. can't wait to see your menswear!

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    1. Thanks Jo! I've quite enjoyed a bit of menswear, less complicated to fit!

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  2. Lovely! It looks like a really versatile shirt, fab details too you've done a great job (I think all the tucks would defeat me...) Looking forward to the menswear, having a husband and three teenage sons I really should try harder to try some men's patterns

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    1. The tucks are really not all that complicated, not even that time consuming! You could definitely tackle it! Menswear is fun too!

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  3. This is really pretty! The sheer white lawn is a really lovely choice!

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    1. Thanks Sonja! I thought a simple fabric might work well with all the detail going on in the pattern, but the patterns the other testers have used are so great I need to make a printed one too now!

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  4. The more versions of this blouse I see, the more I think it might have to make it's way into my wardrobe! Oh...and belated congratulations on your fantastic Mood news!

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    1. it looks really great made up doesn't it?! I think it's a really classic design that could suit a lot of outfits, you'd look lovely in it! Thanks for the congrats!:)

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  5. Ooh that is cute!! And so versatile! :-)

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    1. Thanks! It really is, I didn't realise just how versatile until I made it up!

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  6. This is such a gorgeous classic blouse. Love it.

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    1. Thank you! It works really well for all kinds of looks I think, pleased I chose plain white for the first attempt!

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  7. Ooooh it's so pretty and sophisticated!!! So much nice details on it. Love how u paired it with jeans!

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    1. I think with the jeans is my favourite way, with the sleeves rolled up and the neckline open. It's very comfortable!

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  8. J'adore !!!!!
    I love your carme Blouse

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  9. This is so beautiful! I love that the fabric you chose has let the design details shine. The bib construction sounds brilliant too!

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    1. Thank you! It really is a clever way to go about the bib, I think it would be hard not to make a neat job of it following the instructions!

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  10. beautiful. i love the white, the pleats. awesome job.

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    1. Thank you! You can't go wrong with classic white and pleats can you?!

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  11. Great job! Love the pleated detail on the front, lovely.

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    1. It's a gorgeous touch isn't it? And so much easier to construct than you might think. Thanks Sally!

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  12. I love your version Fiona. I must confess that when I first saw the pattern I immediately thought "this will make a great white blouse to go with everything" but because I did not have any white on hand, and because I'm on a fabric diet, I used the closest I could get from the stash. I just may have to make it again and copy you on your choice of white.

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    1. O thanks Andrea! I was worried plain white would be boring, and really love all the patterned versions I've seen. But do love how all the details show

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  13. Your work is stunning! And you've inspired me to try this pattern, since I have two weeks off between semesters :)...

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    1. O thank you Mari! I love a good involved project so find trying out new techniques which require accuracy like these pin tucks is right up my street! Looking forward to seeing yours!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!