Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring For Cotton: The Blouse and the Sewing Notebook

I finished my Simplicity 1538 blouse this week, just in time for the Spring for Cotton finale!

1948 Simplicity Blouse pattern and polka dot fabric.
It all started with the yellow polka dot fabric, and the 1948 pattern that I have made twice before. Both of those are blogged on here. Well sort of. My view 3 can be seen here, and my view 1 with short sleeves, view 3 collar and no pocket can be seen here, at the end of the post.

Fabric, bias tape and the novelty buttons.
I carefully chose some novelty buttons, for which I have a definite fondness, and opted to bind all my seams with a matching single-fold bias tape. (This makes for pretty seams, but I am definitely going to try some of the rayon seam binding next time!

Grading book, Grading ruler and pattern.
Using Connie Crawford's grading book and ruler, I graded my pattern up one size (that's a full 2 inch grading). It was definitely worth the money!

Fully graded pattern
It was a little time consuming. I also messed up a total of three times before getting it right! The first time I hadn't done the lines correctly, the second time I was moving my pattern in the wrong direction, and the third time, I was using the wrong pattern piece. I learned though- yes I learned NOT to try doing this at night- after a long day!

After shoulder and side seams, with pinned on collar.
Once I had the pattern pieces done, I was able to cut them out and start on the blouse pretty quickly. Some of that was thanks to the new rotary cutter and self-healing mat I purchased!

Bound seams and hem.
I bound all the seams with single-fold bias tape, and used it for the hem too.  I machine stitched it in place since it will always be tucked in. It does make for slightly bulky junctions, which is why I said I would love to try the rayon seam binding next time!

Still have the fronts, sleeves and collar to finish.
I took my time. I refused to sew after about 8pm (which is when I start to get tired and mess up!), and the blouse gradually came together.

Buttons added to front.
I was ecstatic when I got to add my buttons- they looked just as I hoped they would!

Everything but the sleeve hems!
The last thing I did was the hems on the sleeves. Those are not bound, just double folded and hand-hemmed.
Finished blouse.
And then I waited a few days to wear it! It's such a lightweight cotton, it is perfect for spring or summer wear. Here I am wearing it with my 1960s wrap skirt. The sun was rather bright this morning, so my hat is shading my eyes!

Blouse back.
And a back view. Surprisingly, the seam binding helps give the sleeves a little shoulder structure- especially since I left out the shoulder pads. I had intended to make my own, but decided in the end to leave them out. I kind of like my blouse as it is!

There are a lot of side view photos of the blouse, because I apparently was unable to look directly into the sun for my photo!

While I am here, I thought it might be nice to take a peek at my sewing diary. I never know quite what to call these- notebooks, diaries, journals... but it is a handwritten record of the project. 
I spent some time the other day trying to find other people's notebooks, and I pinned those I could find, but none were quite like mine.

Most of the time I record everything about the project on the blog, but that is not very convenient when I want to see something when I am sewing. So I decided to make a hard copy too. My notebook started out as a sketchbook, but I decided I didn't like that very much. It has no room to rearrange things!
Then I remembered the tiny 5" x 8" binders I had bought some time ago. I purchased some 5" x 8" index cards, and I was off.

Sewing notebook, front view.
The binder is plain. I am still debating whether it will stay plain, or whether I will sew it a cover! I created tabbed dividers from some cardstock I had around the house. And I added some decorative tape to the tabs after accidentally writing on the wrong side of them!

The Simplicity 1538 blouse project pages.
Currently I am dividing my notebook into categories- so far blouses, dresses, ideas and fabric. Or something like that - it will probably change. You can see the blouse project recorded above and below. I also added the issues I had with the fit of the other blouses and the changes I made.

And the rest of the blouse project pages.
My former project recorded in the sketchbook, was my 4th July 1930s dress from a couple of years ago. I had the fabric, the pattern and my thoughts about it all down.

The 1930's 4th July dress.
I stapled the old sketchbook page onto an index card, where I also glued a photo of the finished product- cool huh?

4th July Dress completed project.
 Some fabrics in my stash are also recorded in here- so I can remember what they are and how much of them I have - and how to take care of them if they have special instructions for washing. This piece is a piece of rayon. And these were in the sketchbook too...

Fabric pages.
I also have some pages of sketches and ideas there, but forgot to photograph those.
So there you have it, a quick view into my sewing notebook. I'm hoping I keep the habit up, because it is kind of fun having the resource at my fingertips!

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