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.
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.
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!
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!
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...
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.
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!