Sunday, 26 February 2017

Calvin Klein cotton blouse, Vogue 1878

After all of the slippery, stretchy and sheer things I have been making lately it was pure pleasure to cut out and make this cotton blouse. (Vogue 1878 by Calvin Klein)

The fabric is a fine cotton lawn in a very pale minty green with tiny white flowers all over. I'm afraid that the photos don't really do justice to the subtle shade of green.

This is a straight blouse without shaping and I didn't want to have the same fitting issues as I had with the pussy bow blouse so I made a toile first and was glad that I did. The pattern fits well on the shoulders but was a bit tight everywhere else so I added extra ease on the centre and side seams. The disadvantage with using a vintage pattern is that they only come in one size so I had to add extra to the side and centre back seams.

As I said in my last post this pattern only had one sheet of instructions for cutting out and starting view A. After that it has been mainly guesswork using the diagram for guidance.

I have made view B. It was quite straightforward in the end. I used straight seams for the shoulders, neatened them with an overlocking stitch and top stitched towards the front. This has given me a nice flat finish.

The next step was to attach the facing. I used a fine iron-on interfacing. This was the only real glitch I had. I set the iron too hot and suddenly a section of interfacing shrivelled up, but luckily the fabric was OK so I just pealed it off and cut another piece of interfacing. I will need to be more careful in future.

Next I set in the sleeves. I didn't widen the sleeves at all when I sized up the pattern. By keeping the shape of the arm hole the same the sleeves fitted in easily, I did stitch a row of easing stitches along the seam line but I don't think I really needed them. The cotton frays a lot so I have trimmed and overlocked the sleeve seams on my sewing machine. Having discovered the overlocking stitch I find that I am using it all the time now and I don't know how I managed without it.

I decided to use a flat fell seam for the side and sleeve seams. I stitched this all in one, sewing from the bottom up. This has given me a smooth finish with all of the raw edges inside and I think this is my go-to finish for cotton shirts and blouses.

One feature I especially like is the finish at the bottom of the button band. This is often a tricky area on a blouse but in this case the diagram showed a continuous line of stitching running all the way around, 1 inch away from the edge, and there were a few instructions at the end of the first sheet.

I stitched my facing one inch from the edge, trimmed the facing seam allowance and turned it out. Then I pressed the hem up by one inch all the way round. When I stitched the facing to the blouse I turned a right angle at the neck and the hem giving one continuous line of stitching all round. I admit that I didn't manage this all in one go on this blouse because I was making it up as I went along but if I make this blouse again I will know what to do. It is so neat and so satisfyingly regular. I am one of these people who likes to line up the table legs with the stripes on the tiles or carpet and wants the spots on the table cloth to line up with the mats so this pattern was made for me!

Last but not least I made six buttonholes down the front and sewed on 6 buttons from my collection. I love these shell buttons. I have several sizes and I used the smallest. They shine in the light and pick up the colours in whatever you sew them on to.

So there we are. I feel quite pleased with the end result but if any one has this pattern I would be very interested to know how closely mine resembles the actual instructions. Please leave a comment and let me know.
It was a very cold day for prancing about in the garden in a thin summer blouse taking photos but here we are!

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