Friday, 7 August 2020

Floral Challis Tudor Blouse

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Stitch Witch Patterns Tudor Blouse in Floral Rayon Challis from The Fabric Store with Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

This is another slightly spontaneous sewing project which wasn't initially on my plans for summer. I don't usually have a tendency to jump on a pattern the instant it is released. I'm one of those sewers who likes to sit back and see it made in a few different fabrics and on a few different body shapes first. Particularly when it is a pattern from a company I haven't used before. However, I've been totally sucked into the square neck with big sleeves trend of this summer and when Stitch Witch Patterns released the Tudor Blouse I knew it was for me! It felt slightly more accessible as a way to dip my toe into the trend rather than a full on dramatic dress. Plus I'd identified that I needed some more tops to go with the high waisted skirts and trousers in my wardrobe.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Stitch Witch Patterns Tudor Blouse in Floral Rayon Challis from The Fabric Store with Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

The fabric is a beautiful floral rayon challis from The Fabric Store which unfortunately looks like it has now sold out. I could absolutely envision the top in this print but deliberated over using the fabric for a while as I thought the challis might be too lightweight and drapey to work for the sleeve. The sleeves would definitely have more of a dramatic shape and impact in a crisper fabric but I actually really love the softer look of this. This one has already become a real workhorse in my wardrobe so I will definitely be making up a more structured version in a cotton lawn or poplin anyway too! Don't you think this would look so good sewn in Ankara?!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Stitch Witch Patterns Tudor Blouse in Floral Rayon Challis from The Fabric Store

The top is really straightforward to assemble and is finished nicely with a facing at the front and back as well as a nice deep hem. You create elastic channels at both the top and hem of the sleeve and insert the elastic before sewing up the underarm seam and attaching them to the bodice. This works well at the shoulder but next time I'd probably create the cuff channel after sewing up the underarm seam so you don't end up with bulky bits of elastic in the seam allowance/ I opted to hand stitch down this flappy little bit of seam allowance and also hand stitched down the seam allowance where the sleeve meets the neckline so I didn't get any unsightly bits poking out. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Stitch Witch Patterns Tudor Blouse in Floral Rayon Challis from The Fabric Store with Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

I did find the sizing a little confusing as there are options for full bust and small bust sizes but I could only see one set of measurements on the pattern and no further information about cup sizing...I took a punt at the smaller cup size in a size 8 at the bust and 10 at the waist and hips, then measured the pattern pieces to be sure once I had assembled the PDF. Luckily this turned out spot on. I also got confused when the instructions said to use the 'button guides' to mark your buttonhole placement and ended up making mine up before realising they were in a separate folder with the pattern download! Note to self - when making your first project from a new to you pattern company make sure to look everything over and read all the instructions before you start - different companies do things differently!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Stitch Witch Patterns Tudor Blouse in Floral Rayon Challis from The Fabric Store with Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

The fit overall is great and for me personally includes a nice amount of ease. It is fitted without being tight to the body and sits really nicely. I did shorten both the elastic over the shoulder and around the arm which is probably to be expected as I am quite short in the shoulder and have quite skinny arms! I'm not usually a big fan of elastic in clothing, particularly elasticated waistlines as I don't like how they move about and ride up to unwanted places sometimes. However, the elastic on this works great and is very comfortable. I haven't had any problems with the sleeves slipping down off the shoulder but if you did (as is potentially likely with a wide low neckline front and back) you could add that slightly sticky silicone elastic or even bra strap holders. Bra-wise I can wear a balcony style bra with quite wide set straps with this - non need for strapless. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Stitch Witch Patterns Tudor Blouse in Floral Rayon Challis from The Fabric Store with Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

This is actually the longer version of the blouse just tucked into my high waisted jeans. I was tempted by the cropped length but ultimately saw myself wearing this top at work and didn't fancy flashing my midriff as I lifted stuff about. My jeans are my third iteration of the Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans and I absolutely love them! This pattern is such a gem. I'm certainly not done with it and all its plentiful variations yet. This is the View C wide leg in the cropped length with purple topstitching! I've previously made the shorts and straight leg variations. This time I chose a denim with just a little bit of elastane content which makes them SOOO comfortable! I love the rigid high waisted fit of my previously pairs but they don't half take some wearing in to make them comfy. These are super soft straight off the machine! To accommodate for the stretch in the denim and keep the figure hugging fit I used a 1" seam allowance down the side seams. This worked a treat although the fit around the crotch has taken slight hit, I'm seeing more wrinkles in this pair and they feel like they could do with shortening a touch through the back rise. Something to remember next time. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

Back to my Tudor Blouse, I ended up using these pearly blue buttons because they were the only thing in my button box in the right size, quantity and vaguely correct colour. I'm not completely happy with them and in fact since taking these photos five of them have been removed and used on the set of Carolyn Pyjamas I just finished! I think an off-white button to match the flowers might work better and stand out a little more than the blue.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Stitch Witch Patterns Tudor Blouse in Floral Rayon Challis from The Fabric Store

Over the course of the pandemic the one thing (I'm talking sewing-wise obviously) I've found problematic is getting the right buttons and zip colours for my projects as these are things I'd usually buy in person with some of the fabric to hand. Now we can venture out to the shops again I'm still a little stuck as there is no-where local to me with a wide selection of either. I used to buy my buttons and zips while I was shopping for work in London, in places like MacCulloch and Wallis and John Lewis. But as the theatre industry has ground to a halt I'm not show shopping or even going in to town. Has anyone got any tips for notion shopping without access to those big haberdashery stores? I'm in Surrey about an hour out of London.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Stitch Witch Patterns Tudor Blouse in Floral Rayon Challis from The Fabric Store with Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

I'm delighted with this whole outfit and know both garments are going to see a lot of wear. My wardrobe could still do with a few more tops like this. What are your favourite top patterns for with high waisted trousers and skirts?

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Stitch Witch Patterns Tudor Blouse in Floral Rayon Challis from The Fabric Store with Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans


6 comments:

  1. Oh I love this! I think it's beautiful in the soft, drapey fabric, and that neckline is gorgeous. I've never considered a pattern in this style but I think that's an oversight on my part! Can you please do a blog post about working in theatre and advice for people who want to get into that kind of work? I know it might be very different post-covid but I loved your costume-designer appreciation Insta post. Happy sewing :)

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    1. Thanks Helen! I'm pleased that you agree that it works in the softer fabric - I was nervous I would have made the wrong choice and wasted this beautiful fabric! I really recommend it as an interesting top pattern
      Thanks also for the interest in knowing more about my job! I'll definitely try and find time to write a post about it if it is interesting! It certainly is a very different industry at the moment but I can certainly speak about what it was like previously. I did do a short interview on The Foldline about it a little while back if you can find it on Google!

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  2. Super cute, it looks really good on you : )

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  3. A very successful sew! I think I would have worried about the straight-across neckline dipping in the soft fabric, but yours is good and straight. The sleeves are lovely, and it might be surprising to see them in a more structured fabric after seeing this first!

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    1. Thanks! Yes the facing is interfaced so that helps give the neckline a bit of structure. I'm quite excited about a voluminous sleeve!

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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!