Today I’m going to talk to you about the final stage of finishing the blouse, and the little changes that I made to customise it and make it a little bit more ‘me’. I’ve already altered the sleeves and constructed the bodice, with a little light gathering on both the bodice front and the back, where the main pieces of the blouse join the yoke, which gives a lovely shape to the top.
Here I’m attaching the final piece of the sleeve, sewing a little part of facing-backed plain cotton to the cuff, which will flip over to the inside and give some structure to the edge of the sleeves, particularly important if you are wearing this as a short-sleeved blouse. I’ve left the pleat in place, which I thought was a cute little detail, and it also helps to bring the outside of the cuff in to the body, sculpting it to the body.
On it’s own it gives a nice shape, but slightly too big to be worn like that, and I’d intended to bring the inner cuff in slightly with a bit of elastic, as I’m a real sucker for pushing my sleeves up.
I inserted a little piece of elastic into the gap between the facing and the sleeve fabric, and secured it with a few stitches either side of the pleat. I flipped the facing and sewed it down with a line of stitches all the way round.
It wasn’t the neatest way of doing it – perhaps a blind hem stitch would have been better – but it’s always tricky working with elastic, and this served its purpose okay. you can still see the pleat on the outside, but in retrospect, I would have cut the end of the sleeve slightly smaller so that there wasn’t as much fabric to bring in. I do love the way the sleeves stay where you want them though, I never can get on with cuffs on shirts, I really don’t like having things round my wrists, which is why I struggle to wear a watch without constantly taking it off and putting it on the table (and inevitably losing it).
Another slight alteration I made was to the fastening, ditching the suggested button placement in favour of (whisper it) Kam snaps.
My reasons for this?
Well, I’m a bigger busted lady, and it’s just the worst when a button isn’t quite in the right place, especially as the buttonholes on this blouse are vertical, which in my experience, means the buttons are more likely to pop out at an inopportune moment. Horizontal buttonholes tend to work better for me (remember your old school shirts?), but again, I find it tricky to manage the placement as if there’s just a little bit of pull across the bust, you can really see it.
Also, I haven’t yet tried a buttonhole on my new machine, and hey, there’s the simple reason that I never have enough matching buttons, and I couldn’t be bothered to go out in the rain and get some.
I actually think the poppers looked okay, they’re small, shiny, and look well suited to the fabric. I like the way they remind me of a fancy mens’ dress shirt.
You can see in this picture that the pattern matching is a little; bit off, which only annoys me on the closeups, I think I got away with it overall. Plus, the snaps are just so easy to apply, and you can really have as many as you want without it looking crowded. I opted for about 5cm apart in the end. I like to lie the garment over the ironing board and poke the holes through with the awl, so that it makes a hole through to both sides of the closure. this makes the matching easy peasy, so long as you take your time and keep it secured together.
You can also see here how the studs secure the layers of the facing and bodice together, so that there is no need to finish the internal seam:
On the left here is the line of under stitching, which secures the internal seam allowance to the facing, and keeps it from showing when the blouse is buttoned.
Apologies for the quality of the upcoming pics, I’ll dig out that camera charger one of these days.
Here’s the fitting of the blouse at that point, tucked into a fairly high-waisted skater skirt. I was okay with the fit, but as I’ve said before the cotton poplin looked a little too stiff, and I think there was just too much fabric around the under bust/underarm and waist area.
You can also see here that there’s just way too much fabric around the back, especially the lower back. I’ll talk about this in more depth later on – but I have a weird shape – big bust, small waist, and a goddamn sway back. I guess this is partly poor posture, partly natural, partly to do with having quite a high waistline, but I definitely curve inwards around the lower back, which isn’t great when you’re dealing with a loose cut blouse. If you’re interested in finding out more, there’s a really great tutorial posted by Sew Melodic here.
I know it could all have been fixed with a toile!
Anyway, it’s too late for that now – I’m a “sew first, think later” type of gal sometimes, so I have to try and make the best of what I’ve got now I guess! So you can see here, the difference between the blouse as worn straight, and after my first side seam alteration, which followed the natural curve of the blouse, and tapered from the underarm, in at the waist and kept that shape until the hem.
After the first alteration:
(excuse the messy bedroom and the filthy mirror)
There’s no great secret to this alteration, I basically unpicked the existing seam, and tacked it along a guesstimated line until it felt right. It’s tempting to do this without undoing the original seam, but it’s very difficult to do that without the new line bunching, as it’s tricky to make it lie flat.
Once it felt right on one side, I replicated it on the other side by tracing it across, using dressmaker’s carbon to replicate the line. It was pretty easy to do, and once I was happy with both of the seam lines, I chopped off the excess with my fantastic new overlocker, so the seam was really small and unobtrusive. I also overlocked the yoke and arm seams to give them a really secure fastening and to make sure they didn’t come undone. It also helped them to lie flat, which is always a bonus.
I totally forgot to get some pictures of me wearing it, but I’ll add those when I get a chance.
Here you can see the front, back and a detail of the button (popper) placement by the collar. It looks better when it’s worn, as it pushes outwards you can see that the top popper sits really nicely, I was pleased with that part.
And here’s a picture of the back:
I did actually mess up the hemming and it’s a little uneven at the front – but it’s always going to be worn tucked in so it doesn’t really matter – next time I’ll be more careful though.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this walkthrough of the Mimi blouse, and you’ve learnt a little along the way, as I did! I’m totally hooked on this pattern, so I’ll definitely be doing it again soon.
Thanks for following along,