Sunday, 14 February 2016

Floral Silk Laurel Blouse

Despite the blog being a little quite recently I've had a surge of sewing time over the last couple of weekends and the completed projects for 2016 are starting to build up! Today I've got one of my favourite's so far to share with you. It involves one of those fabrics which you just don't want to waste on a project which doesn't work out so I resorted to an old faithful pattern which I knew it would be perfect for; the blouse version of the Colette Laurel. I like the finished garment so much that I wore it the day after I finished it which I always thinks tells volumes about a project and also how much you enjoyed making it! If I've really struggled with a garment it often gets put in the wardrobe for a good while before I can enjoy wearing it without being reminded of my frustration!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Floral Silk Laurel Blouse with Bell Sleeves

Fit wise I don't have a huge amount to say as I've made this blouse twice before (once in polka-dot poly crepe for me and once in a cotton print for my Mum) and the dress a couple of times too. I cut the size 2 as before, with the adjustment I made to the armhole on my Mum's version as my blouse has always been slightly tight across the chest. I've discussed previously my confusion about the drafting of the armholes on this pattern (the dress version's are an entirely different shape to the blouse despite using the same sleeve piece!) and as usual had some trouble getting these set in completely smoothly. I do have much more movement in the arms now though thanks to the increased width across the chest. I love the way it fits through the body with those double darts and central seam at the back providing some lovely shape, so it's a shame I've never been able to quite figure out those sleeves!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Floral Silk Laurel Blouse with Bell Sleeves

I did have much less trouble getting the neckline to sit flat than I have done on my previous dress and blouse versions. I think this is mostly down to my increased sewing experience in general more than anything. I again opted to use a facing instead of the bias tape finish recommended by the pattern, I've previously found this to be really tricky to get to sit flat around the tight corners of this boat shaped neck. I throughly clipped the seam allowances once I'd attached the facing, gave it a good steamy pressed and under stitched all the way around before catching the edges of the facing down at the centre back and shoulder seams. This seemed to do the trick and everything is staying put so far.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Floral Silk Laurel Blouse with Bell Sleeves

I bought this stunning floral silk crepe at the House of Hackney sample sale back in November/December. I love the colours, matt finish and depth in the painterly design. I was actually slightly disappointed by the range of fabrics on offer this time as the majority of what was left when I arrived (on the first day) was furnishing weight. But this silk leapt out at me so I didn't have to leave empty handed! As it was the end of the bolt I got about a metre and a half for the price of a metre which escapes me now but was around about £20. A bargain for such quality stuff! I so love this floral that I made sure to be super careful not to waste anything when cutting out so I could use it in another project too. I was considering using it for a yoke or something but actually think I've got just enough to squeeze out a camisole from using the T&TB Fifi Pyjamas which I've been meaning to make in a silk for ages.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Floral Silk Laurel Blouse with Bell Sleeves

My machine really didn't get on with this fabric and despite using a fine sharps needle it was punching through the silk making a funny noise. Some experimentation later it turned out it was the thread that was causing the problem. I was using a big reel of black Moon thread which is 100% polyester but switching to a reel of Gutermann Sew All (also 100% polyester) resolved the issue. I've encountered this before when working with this weight and type of silk and am not sure why it makes such a difference when they are actually quite similar threads...does anyone know any more about this than I do?

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Floral Silk Laurel Blouse with Bell Sleeves

Now I'm looking at photos I slightly wish I'd thought about pattern matching the centre back seam but I kind of forgot it was there as all my other versions I just pull on and off over my head. I tend to think it's not worth pattern matching florals as they tend to be quite random but the large scale of these buds does really necessitate it. It would have been quite the challenge to get the intricacies of this pattern matched up exactly! At least it's at the back and it would have used more of my precious fabric anyway!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Floral Silk Laurel Blouse with Bell Sleeves

Apart from the fabric choice the other difference with this blouse is my choice to add on the bell shaped gathered cuffs from variation 3. I'm loving all the 1970s style sleeves in RTW at the moment and thought these might be a subtle way to try the look of those lovely trumpet sleeves without it getting too impractical! I'm really enjoying wearing them (especially in this print) and have got my eye on the newly released New Look 6414 to give a more extreme version a try. Thank you for the great gathering tips you left on my last post by the way! They would have come in handy when assembling these cuffs but I'd already done the gathering on this by then so still found the process slightly painful! Sewing the gathered cuff on evenly was trickier than I expected and some areas are still a little too poofy for my liking, partly because of the body two layers of this silk has. I do love how beautifully crisp the hems are though because of the instruction to under-stitch them!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Floral Silk Laurel Blouse with Bell Sleeves

I had no time to sew in January so once I finally got some time on the machine I will admit I fell into the trap of just wanting to get something finished. I probably should have taken the time time to use french seams wherever I could but actually silk in this form is so tough that overlocking actually worked beautifully on it, once I'd got the tension right. I also think in certain areas a french seam would have been too bulky because of the way this design is drafted. The sleeves are troublesome enough to set in without having to fuss around with sewing the armhole seam twice and you don't want extra bulk in the seam of the cuffs as it would effect the gathering and the way they sit.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Floral Silk Laurel Blouse with Bell Sleeves

Looking at it with jeans here I'm wondering if it's a little short and perhaps it could have benefited from a baby/rolled hem to give it an extra inch but I think I'm quite likely to wear this top tucked into high-waisted pencil skirts so it's fine as it is. I don't want to be unpicking anything from this silk, the needle holes would definitely remain a permanent feature! It's actually a great top for tucking in as the shaping provided by the darts means that it remains quite slim through the waist so there's not too much excess fabric to tuck in.

Despite my uncertainty about certain elements of this pattern I do keep picking it up again and again as I just love wearing it and it looks great in such a variety of fabrics and prints. This might just be my favourite version to date and it probably won't be my last!

20 comments:

  1. Super lovely! The flared cuffs and dreamy fabric make it special.

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  2. A beautiful garment indeed! I find that Guttermann thread is smoother than most cheaper threads; it seems to sew up much better and rarely twists or breaks. Always seems worth the extra pennies!

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    1. Interesting point about the thread Tania, maybe I should stick to Gutxrmann from now on and not risk it when I see a bargain! Thank you!

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  3. The fabric is gorgeous. I think your choice of pattern was perfect for it. I wonder if the threads were different weights and that is why you had trouble with them. I am not familiar with Moon threads though.

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    1. Good point Sarah, I can see how a different thickness or weight of thread would affect it's ability to push through the fabric...it's crazy to think that a difference we can't see with the naked eye would make that much difference isn't it! Thanks!

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    1. Thank you! The fabric is so gorgeous, I'm pleased that I decided to stick with a TNT pattern for it

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  5. Lovely blouse! And thank you for once again posting a very detailed post. I really enjoy reading your posts and often get ideas on how to do something better.

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    1. O that's lovely to hear thanks Kathy! I often think I waffle on too much and try and edit down but all the little details are what I like to read about on other blogs and I think it's important to be open about your sewing experience so others know what to expect if they try similar. Glad to know it's appreciated. Thanks!

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  6. Love moon thread for overlocking (particularly if you want a colour you aren't likely to use regularly) or hand tacking, but I find it just breaks or loops in the machine if I try to use it for normal sewing. I've had several friends with the same problem, I think it's just cheap thread unfortunately... I always use Guterman for proper projects. The moon thread sometimes comes out for the muslins, but if I'm sewing a lighter fabric or a long seam, I inevitably regret it.

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    1. That's great to know thanks Liz. I often use Moon thread in a lot of projects and haven't had many problems so far but maybe I should splash out and treat myself to Gutermann if it means garments will last longer!

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  7. That top is to die for Fiona! That silk is just the kind of floral I love, dark background with a bright pattern and the bell sleeves just add that extra oomph. I've been looking at Laurel on Sprout as it holds a print so well. I think you might have convinced me to take the plunge!

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    1. Hooray! I've spotted some great prints on Sprout for the Laurel, just bear in mind that I did need to alter it to be happy with the fit and most other people do to if blog posts are anything to go by.
      The print jumped straight out at me as it's just my sort of print too! Thanks so much

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  8. Beautiful top. The simple lines of the Lauren really let the gorgeous fabric sing. But I really like that you added the cuffs, they look great! That was really interesting about the thread, I'll have to keep that in mind!!!

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    1. Thanks Suzanna! I'm pleased I kept the pattern simple to show off the print.

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  9. Beautiful blouse! The fabric is lovely, I can only imagine how nice it is in silk. :-)

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    1. It is such a gorgeous fabric to wear...but slightly tricky to sew. Thank you

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  10. Gorgeous! The cuffs are really cute.

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    1. Thanks Evie, I'm pleased I finally got round to trying this version with the cuffs and think it works in this fabric!

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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!