I've finally finished my first blouse; the Mimi blouse from Tilly Walnes' brilliant Love at First Stitch. If you don't have a copy (and are interested in dressmaking) I would thoroughly recommend it. The projects get progressively more difficult as you move through and the Mimi blouse is the penultimate project. I've focused a lot of my sewing energy on dresses recently, so a blouse required learning a few new skills. And working with viscose for the first time. Oh, and did I mention it was a present for my mum? No pressure then.
Here are a few things I learnt along the way.
1. Viscose moves (a lot)
As viscose is a natural fibre I thought it would have the rigidity of cotton, but be a bit more drapey. In fact, the fabric I was using was slippy and stretched as I worked (that may have been due to the quality of the fabric). I had to be very careful how I handled it, so it didn't stretch as I sewed. I think the hem may have done that slightly.
2. Collars are tricky
As the collar piece is curved, it moves in different ways depending where the grain of the fabric is at different points on the curve. Combined with the tricky viscose this could have led to a very wonky collar. My way of dealing with that was lots of pinning and some very slow, careful sewing. I pinned the centre first, then the ends, and then everything in between, as evenly as possible. I sewed very slowly and kept checking as I went. I don't think I'm speedy Sewing Bee material.
3. Covered buttons look stylish
Even my cheapish eBay kit did a great job of these super classy self-covered buttons. You get a little gismo for pressing them, which was really fun and satisfying. I ended up using two layers of fabric as it was quite thin and one layer wasn't enough to stop the metal showing through. I will definitely be making more of these.
4. Sleeve length can be adjusted
My mum wanted a longer length sleeve than the pattern, so I measured her and adjusted the sleeve to a half length. I kept the width and the pleat, which has made for a fairly roomy sleeve, but it works with the style of the blouse.
5. Fitting on others is a different skill
In some ways easier, but I had to make sure that I marked up the adjustments properly as I couldn't just keep trying it on myself. I did set my adjustable dressmakers dummy to my mum's measurements, which helped. Hope the finished thing fits!
6. I love French seams
That is all.
I'm pleased with this for my first attempt. Think I need to make another though, to iron out some of those imperfections. Short-sleeved cotton lawn I think. And for me next time.