This month’s blog tour, hosted by Melissa of Mahlica Designs is all about “Sew Long Summer”. It is a bit of a play on words, and can have a couple of different meanings. Here in Australia we are at the end of winter and are heading towards, what is normally a very long summer, so whilst those in the northern hemisphere are saying “so long” to summer, I am instead preparing for a summer that will be sooo long. And, as I am all about sewing for myself these days, and intend to be making almost all of my summer clothes, it will indeed be a “Sew Long Summer” for me!

The first summer item that I have made, is this blouse:

Why a Blouse?

Throughout most of the previous year I have had quite a big change in the style of clothes that I wear – meaning that I am finally completely out of maternity wear! I have been sewing for myself more and more, and discovered such a big world of independent pattern designers and also, come into the concept of a capsule wardrobe. In the last 6 months or so I have made myself quite a few skirts and pants, and throughout the colder months of winter I have matched them up with warm cardigans and jackets, but heading into the warmer weather I need coordinating items so that I can transition through Spring and into Summer. I wanted tops with a bit more structure than a knit t-shirt, as I am finding that I quite like a properly fitted bodice on me. And I am happy to say, that my properly fitting blouse is just as comfortable to wear as a t-shirt, but it looks so much more polished and put together.

Note: the pants that I am wearing in these photos are my Designer Stitch Ravanna Wrap pants that I made earlier this year.

The Pattern

This pattern is Butterick B6217, a “Patterns by Gertie” retro summer top. I used the view C neckline with the view B sleeves. I chose this particular neckline because it has such a nice shape to it, without any ‘fussiness’. Although recently I’ve seen a version that someone else made up with the view B insert at the neckline and I loved it, so I think I might need to make that version as well. Which I will be quite happy to make more of this blouse, because I just love the fit.

I am a bit of a fan of Gertie’s patterns, and I have made quite a few of her designs, however, this is the first time I have made up one of her line of Butterick patterns. I found the pattern to be quite easy to fit and make, and I especially love having a facing for the neckline finish.

Fitting the Pattern

As you can see from my photos, I am rather…ahem…busty, but I also have quite narrow shoulders and a rather “potato-shaped” middle, so I find that an FBA (full bust adjustment) isn’t necessarily going to give me a good fit. In this case, I started with the size that matched my full bust, graded up a size towards the waistline, and graded down 3 sizes heading up from the bust point towards the neckline and shoulders. I had to draw a new front facing to match the adjustments I made to the neckline, but this was quite easy to do.

The Sleeves

I used the sleeves from view B, which are short sleeves with gathered sleeve caps, mainly because I’m not usually a fan of petal sleeves (view A) and I want to be able to wear this blouse to work, so I’d rather it not be sleeveless (view C). However, when I made my toile, the gathered sleeve cap was very full and overly … puffy, and I felt a little bit overwhelmed by it, so I swapped out the gathers for a little pleat instead. The sleeve is still quite big, and almost a little bit ‘boxy’, but I’m okay with it. If I do make another version of this blouse, I will try the petal sleeve.

Final fitting…

Overall I’m really happy with the fit, the front darts are quite long, but they sit well and suit my shape, likewise the twin darts in the back give a bit of shape and definition to my waist. The length of this blouse is also really good – it sits at the perfect sweet spot on my hip, so this blouse will work with a variety of different skirts or pants.

The Fabric

This fabric is Gregorys Garden by Jane Sassaman in Wasp Fuchsia. The fabric itself is beautiful, its really soft and perfect for a blouse because its not very see-through. I’m really not a fan of having to wear a slip for modesty under sheer clothes, especially in hot weather, to me it kind of defeats the purpose of having lightweight clothes? I really like this print, it has just enough white space to make it easy to mix and match with almost anything. However, I had a bit of trouble working out the pattern placement. The wasps are very evenly spaced, and I wanted to avoid any unfortunate pattern placement – especially at the bust point. I also didn’t want to have odd-looking darts with part of the pattern disappearing, and I really took my time with the front closure. I opted to have a small part of the wing, because I’m okay with that, but I didn’t want to have a weird column of half-bugs down my front!

In the end, I cut out the fronts in a single layer and chose to mirror them, pretty much exactly. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. The vintage buttons are from a mixed bag that I got from Grandmother, they were the only ones that I had enough of to do the job, and as it turns out, they are just perfect.

…and a happy accident at the back, I ended up with perfectly centred wasps in between each of the twin rows of darts at the back – I don’t think I could have done that if I tried!

Sew Long Summer

So there you have it, I am looking forward to a ‘Sew Long Summer’, with the first, of what I plan to be many, blouses this year. Thank you for reading along, I hope you have enjoyed seeing this blouse, make sure to visit the other awesome bloggers on this blog tour:

Sewing by Ti
Sewing Vortex
Sewing A La Carte
Very Blissful

My Heart Will So On
Anne-Mari Sews
Adventures With Bubba and Bug

Tenilles Thread
Sew Haute Blog
Sewing with D

Indulging Mom
Anne-Mari Sews

Little Heart Threads
Ronda B. Handmade
Tales of a Tester
Sewing à la Carte
Tales From A Southern Mom

Thanks for reading!

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