This weeks Crafty Bloggers Club post is from Emma, you can find more of her makes on Instagram @happysew16
2019 has been an exciting year for me. I have written my first guest blog posts and also joined the team at Crafty Sew and So as one of the tutors. Initially I started to help cover Sarah’s maternity leave and once she’s back I shall be joining her to co-teach some two day jeans workshops and also be part of the tutor team at the Crafty Sewing Camp weekend at the end of July at Beaumanor Hall.
When Freya invited me to do another blog post I took my time and looked at all the gorgeous patterns on the beautiful new pattern wall in the shop. I decided to try a designer I’d not made before and found the beautifully illustrated range by Experimental Space. I loved the gorgeous pattern designs, they are so pretty and the designs are very feminine and a little different from a lot of the other indie companies.
I looked at the Rosalee dress, but as I didn’t have any black tie events in the diary and it’s a long time to summer decided that it would only get minimal wear so I decided to try the Evelyn blouse. It features a modern silhouette with an interesting pleated front and collar detail. It has a v-neck and cute cut out v slits on the sleeves.
I chose this gorgeous viscose print from Crafty Sew and So, and made sure to wash it before cutting out. This fabric's out of stock now, but Crafty always has a great selection of viscose to choose from!
In October we had a lovely week away in Wells Next the Sea and in preparation for potential inclement weather I took some projects to work on - our cottage had a gorgeous hardwood floor that was perfect for cutting out!
Once home I got to work sewing. I always say to my learners that working with a new pattern designer is like picking up a book by a different author. It takes a while to get into the groove of how they write their instructions and understand the flow of the method and order they do things!
I took my time and read through them several times before starting to understand the stages and then got sewing. The Evelyn blouse is designed for all the seams to be enclosed meaning the blouse will be as beautiful inside as it is outside. As a long term overlocker user this was a very different method for me, and whilst I was tempted to take the easy option I thought for the purpose of the blog I should follow the instructions as written.
The first stage is creating the pleat front. The instructions were very clear, but I did struggle with getting the edges of the pleats level either side of the neck edge. The instructions comment that the fabric won’t look logical but to trust the process and it will work. However when adding the stand collar i did find it quite tricky and it took a couple of attempts before I was happy and had no raw edges peaking through. As this is quite a focus of the design I was conscious that if I wasn’t happy I’d be very aware of any mistakes!
I finally got to a stage where I was happy with the collar and moved on. The shoulder and side seams are both French seamed and give a lovely clean finish.
Next stage was the sleeves - the pattern piece is for half the sleeve that is cut on the fold of the fabric - there is no difference between the front and back sleeve head. You need to cut four sleeves in total which made laying out the pattern pieces a challenge. If I was to make this again I’d trace the pattern piece out and cut two paper full sleeves so I could cut two pairs of sleeves in one pattern lay.
The sleeves are joined together at the side seams and then each pair is joined on the round at the hem edge. The v shape is clipped and trimmed so when you turn each sleeve right sides out you get the cute notch. So far so good!
On the instructions you then set the outer sleeve section into the bodice, and once done you fold under the seam allowance on the inside sleeve head facing and machine topstitched around the sleeve head to keep it in place. This is where I deviated from the instructions. This method is a tailoring method I learnt when making jackets and coats (where the lining would be hand stitched around the set in sleeve) and with the beautiful soft drape of the fabric and the relative small sleeve head opening I decided this would be a recipe for disaster! Instead I tacked both sleeve layers together to form one layer and inserted this into the garment and overlocked the inside seam allowance.
I must admit inserting the sleeves caused me some head scratching. Normally I’d expect there to be more fullness on the sleeve head that needs gentle easing into the body, however on this it was the other way round. There was more fabric on the bodice side and I had to ease the sleeves in the opposite way to normal. But, once in they sit fine as the gorgeous fabric is forgiving and presses like a dream.
Finally the hem has a really pretty gentle curve that is flattering around the hips.
Overall I’m very happy with how it’s come out and pleased that I challenged myself with a new designer. However if I wasn’t blogging this, with the struggle on first the neck edge and then the sleeves, this would most likely have gone onto my UFO pile! I am an experienced dressmaker, but often a lazy one. I tend to go for projects that are quick and easy. But saying that, I felt good wearing this with my newest ginger jeans on Christmas Day, and on the back of the challenge it gave me, for 2020 I’ve decided that I’m going to choose more complex and challenging projects that will take more time and concentration to complete!
“Crafty Bloggers Club Contributors are given products and materials to test from Crafty Sew&So. We hope you enjoy their honest and impartial reviews of the products. All opinions are their own.”