Valley Blouse

If you haven’t begun your Sew My Style project for July yet, learn from some of my difficulties and read this before you cut out the Valley Blouse!  Mine has come together ok, but not without some wrestling.  In particular, the keyhole section of the instructions could do with some further explanation.IMG_3140.JPG

There is a tutorial on the Califaye website to help with the sewing the keyhole, but I think that even before you get to that section, there is a potential pitfall, which you could avoid.  The cutting layouts show the ‘keyhole liner’ piece being cut on grain, but I would recommend cutting it on the bias. It is near impossible to get a piece of cotton with no stretch to conform neatly to a curve.  If it were cut on the bias, this would be much easier.  I ended up with a couple of small pleats at the middle of the liner when I tried to get all the edges enclosed.

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After my experience with the Basics Pocket Skirt, which was a little large, I decided to follow my instinct and cut the size small this time, even though my measurements put me in the medium.  This was definitely the right choice, because the fit is pretty much spot on.  There is enough ease to make it flowy, but without drowning me in fabric!

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This fabric is a cotton Swiss-dot, and is possibly slightly heavier weight than the pattern is intended for, because the gathers don’t drape as well as they could.  That said, it is very comfortable and perfect for summer.  The fabric is from Fabworks and is a lovely blue and grey combination, and at just £4/m it is another bargain!

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I used little hexagon shell buttons from my stash and made actual buttonholes.  I think that they are just great for setting of the simple pattern.

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In the pattern, it suggests that you use French seams for the sides and the back yoke which I did.  Just bear in mind, that with 1cm seam allowances, this does make your French seams very small and a little fiddly.

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I’m not sure about how full the sleeves are.  I might take the cuffs off, slim the sleeves down and then put the cuffs back on.  I do quite like them rolled up like this though.

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I followed the instructions fully this time and there are a couple of neat tricks for things like enclosing the front yoke seams.  This shouldn’t be too new to you if you have made a yoked shirt before, but take you time if not.  This is probably the most complex pattern from project sew my style so far, but it is still very manageable if you take it slow.

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Califaye Pocket Skirt

This simple skirt is my May offering for Project Sew My Style, and is from another new-to-me designer.  It is based on the Pocket Skirt by Califaye, but I have made quite a few tweaks along the way!

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First off, I used this tutorial by Mali to swap the patch pockets for slash front pockets.  Because I have made quite a few simple skirts before I didn’t really use the instructions provided with the pattern other than to skim through, and so I did change the construction order slightly.  Unlike some indie patterns, the instructions here don’t seem to be the simplest to follow, and there are only a few illustrations which might make this a bit tricky for a new dressmaker, even though a simple skirt should be very manageable.

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I used some linen from Fabric Godmother for my skirt which I bought at the same time as the challis from my Bridgetown Dress.  Unfortunately it is now out of stock, but I love that the random pattern means no need to match seams!  The linen was a little thick to gather smoothly especially where there were several layers of fabric around the pocket.  I think really I might have been better off with something a bit thinner, but the linen is beautiful and will be fantastic as the weather warms up.

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For such a simple garment this was not trouble free.  I cut a size M based on my measurements, but think I should have stuck with my instinct and cut a small.  I had to use the elastic in the back waistband to cinch it in to fit.  That has made the back of the skirt a bit more gathered than it should be and I’m not sure how flattering it is.  Perhaps after a few washings the linen will soften up.

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I was also not very sure about the length! I have used the 5cm hem as directed in the pattern, but I think it might be making the skirt a little too short.  I ended up wearing it just below my natural waist to take these pictures to get the length that I felt comfortable in, but I’m not sure that that flatters my figure either. Maybe I just need to lower the hem a bit!

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I decided to add a contrast exposed zip to jazz the skirt up a little as it is such a simple shape.  I think I might use the next Sew My Style project (the Briar top by Megan Nielson) to make a simple white t-shirt to wear with this.  I already have some modal cotton jersey from Girl Charlee which should be really soft and lovely for this.  Definitely looking forward to the summer sewing!

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