I’ll start off by saying, I know, I know, it’s been forever since I’ve updated.  I’m not going to make any promises as I’m now working two jobs, costuming a play, and trying to move to a town 30 miles closer to my main job.  I am busy, though that’s the understatement of the year.

Butterick 5334 (view B)

Fabric $6

Lining $4.50

Thread $1.75

Zippers $0

Total (for two blouses) $12.25

$6.12 per blouse

Several months ago a shopping buddy of mine and I found two bolts of lovely 100% silk in the bargain department of our local fabric store marked down from $19.99 per yard to $6 per yard. And on top of that, all bargain fabrics were 50% off the mark down price. One bolt was a pretty ivory, the other was a lovely dusty rose, and both were 54 inches wide, a bit wider than standard fabric. I had no plans for it at the time, but I bought a yard of each because I simply couldn’t pass up such a deal. When I began putting together a list of how much fabric I would need for each garment in my trousseau, I noticed that the simple sleeveless shell I had chosen as one of my summer professional blouses only called for just under a yard of fabric. A light bulb went off in my head as I connected the summer friendly silk in my fabric stash with the simple but elegant pattern.

When I sat down to begin cutting out the pieces for these blouses, I have to admit a bit of happy delight when my good sewing scissors first began sliding through the silk. There’s really nothing like it, it feels completely different in your hands than anything else. Fabric manufacturers may try to imitate silk, but once you’ve seen and worked with the real thing, no imitation will ever fool you again. It’s like the difference between butter and margarine… once you’ve had butter, margarine just doesn’t quite satisfy any more. Ok, I think I’m done waxing poetic about real silk now.

One of the interesting things about this pattern is that there are only two pattern pieces. It’s structured to look like a princess seam blouse, where a curved seam runs from the arm hole around the point of the bust and down to the hem line in front and a similar curved seam runs from the armhole to the hem on the back. Instead of using 4 pattern pieces like a typical princess seam, the two pieces have a slash and dart that runs where the princess seam would normally be.

Dart – A construction technique where one layer of fabric is stitched to it’s self to shape the garment closer to the body, the stitching tapers out so that the fabric lays flat at the end without creating a pleat.

Slash – A cutting line indicated on a pattern where there is no space between the two pieces, often used in large or long darts to reduce fabric bulk. These two techniques are used in this pattern to create the illusion of a princess seam. Pros: easier to make minor alterations to, fewer pattern pieces to lose track of, gives excellent shape to the garment. Cons: requires extensive use of marking tools, requires extra time to baste the darts, makes extensive or detailed alterations difficult.

I’ve never been a big fan of ironing, but this project reminded me just how important pressing is to the quality of the finished garment. Without good pressing, the lining would show on these blouses, which would be noticeable because I wasn’t able to make a perfect color match with the lining. Without a good press job, the wrinkles that set in while the fabric was tucked away waiting for a project would mar the finished product. And without good ironing skills, this blouse would LOOK like an amateur made it, not a skilled seamstress. That’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid.

P.S. I did make both blouses, but for the sake of time and actually getting this posted today, I only included a photo of the ivory one.  It’s kind of a pain to drag the dress form downstairs, set it up, dress the dummy, and take a photo.  Plus it’s been raining off and on.  And I don’t want you to see how much of a mess my sewing room is.  🙂

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