Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bow Neck Polka Dot Blouse with Ruffled Hemline

It took me a while to decide what to do with this lovely blue and white rayon polka dot fabric. It was passed on from my mom's hands to mine, the day we reminisced over fabric.

I love polka dots, so I'm surprised that I've only sewn one other thing with polka dots. I pondered over this fabric a long time to figure out what I should make with it. And since I'm ridiculously obsessed with not using patterns, I didn't want to mess it up!

I'm happy to say that I love the way it turned out. It has kind of a sailor top flair.

The sleeves were probably the hardest part of this for me. Without a pattern, I think I made it harder than it needed to be. They turned out ok, but are a little more "pleated" on top than I would have liked. 

Here's how this little polka dot number came to life:
  • I used a fitted tank top for the bodice pattern.

  • And used a favorite t-shirt as a neckline guide

  • To finish the necklines, I created pieces that would flip over the back to create a smooth seam on the front.

  • Below, is how it looked after sewing it on, flipping it over and ironing it down. Instead of a zig zag stitch to secure the raw edge of the inside flap, I used fray check.

  • For the hem line ruffle I used a circle ruffle. I love circle ruffles! Gathered ruffles can be a bit bulky, and I wanted a more delicate ruffle. I love how softly it lays. 
  • I used a round lid to create the inner circle and a string and pencil to act as my compass to make the outer circle. I had to go back to high school math for this one! and use the Pi equation to figure out how big to make my circle. Instead of my garbled math explanation, see this easy how-to from Sweet Verbena.
  • Once the circles are cut and opened, you can see how nicely they lay. 

  • Next, I pulled out my hemmer foot and hemmed the ruffles; then pinned them right sides together to the bodice. 

  • Now on to the dreaded sleeve. Really sleeves aren't that hard, but I made it harder. I'm a glutton for punishment.
  • I copied a sleeve I already had taken off something else, but made it bigger. 
  • In order to fit the new sleeve in the armhole, I did a few gathering stitches on either side of the center top of the sleeve.

  • The point is to gather a bit on either side of the top center, until the sleeve fits nicely in the hole. I would have liked my sleeves to lay a bit flatter, but since I cut the sleeves a little too big for the arm hole, it meant I needed more gathers. And since I didn't gather it quite far enough on either side from the center, it gathered a little more than my liking at the shoulder. If that even makes sense. But it will do just fine.

  • Now for the hanging neck bow. This was just the finishing touch I was looking for.
  • I measured how long I wanted the ties, cut a couple matching pieces, ironed them in half, pinned, and sewed.  

  • Turned the ties right side out, ironed them flat, and attached them to the shoulder seams.

One of these days I may break down and actually buy a pattern. I'm guessing it's probably easier than re-inventing the wheel.

For me, it seems to be the challenge and test of my creativity that's got me hooked on doing it myself. But I seem to forget there's always a good dose of aggravation thrown in. But maybe overcoming it is what gets me to push myself harder??

Speaking of aggravation, I'm working on a tank top refashion right now, using a scarf as a sheer overlay. It's had its share of hiccups, but I will press on! Hope to share it if I survive. :)

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  1. another adorable blouse. i love your fabric choices. where do you go fabric shopping?

    1. This fabric was given to me from my mom (as was the blue and white flowered rayon from the previous blouse). We were going through all the fabric she'd had stashed away and wasn't going to use, and passed it on to lucky me!


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