Friday, May 4, 2018

Dress Like Your Grandma FO: White Mimi Bouse

I am so happy to be posting about my entry in the Dress Like Your Grandma Challenge :) This was one of the big deadlines I hoped to hit this year and I made it :) WOo hoO! I'm going to jump in my blogging queue a bit because I want to get my posts up before the deadline (which was extended to May 12th, by the way). I'm going to post about both of my items separately, so check back soon for info about my skirt. Today is all about the shirt :)
My plans for this outfit all started with the photo of my grammy at the top of this post. I chose this picture because 1) I liked the style of the outfit 2)I've been meaning to make a white button up shirt and 3) I knew I already had appropriate patterns and fabrics to make it all happen. Given my hatred of fake sleeves (you may know them as cap sleeves), I knew I would want to change that part of the inspiration at the get go. This made me think of the Mimi Blouse from Love at First Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons' Tilly Walnes. I've wanted to make this shirt ever since the book was released - it was the main reason I bought the book, in fact. I had tried to make the pattern once before and made a straight size 8 (the largest size - just going by the fact that I always need the largest size on a regular size pattern) a few years ago with disastrous results. It was huge everywhere, the neckline was too low for my garments, and the fabric was frumpy to the max (thus why I never showed the blouse here). Not feeling motivated to get the pattern out to trace another size at the time, I just folded everything away in the book and left it on my shelf. I knew this project would give me the motivation to finally pull the pattern out and give it the work it needed. I altered the neckline first, then I made a (wearable) muslin first, showing some changes I needed to make. I'll be posting the muslin after posting this outfit.
So the Mimi Blouse is a button front blouse with a front and back yoke. The blouse gathers into the yoke at the front shoulders and along the back. The blouse has a very cute collar and a gentle v to the neckline. The sleeves are slightly gathered at the top and have a pleated detail at the sleeve hem. I love all the little details of this pattern. I'll tell you about my muslin next week, but suffice it to say I went into this version with a slough of adjustments to make:
  • size 7 body, length, and sleeves
  • size 6 shoulders, arm scye, and bust width
  • raised neckline by 5/8" 
  • 1/2" narrow shoulder adjustment
  • 1/2" height added to sleeve cap
  • 1/2" hollow chest adjustment
That may not sound like much to some, but several of these adjustments I've never done before, particularly on something with a shoulder yoke and collar like this has. Each of those adjustments had to be done on multiple pieces to make it work. It was a bit daunting, but I'm happy it worked out fairly well. I decided to make this version entirely with French seams - it was a total pain and time suck, but it really paid off. The blouse looks just as nice inside as it does outside. Look:
I made sure to really go all out with finishing on this since a) the fabric is fairly sheer and b) this fabric loved to fray and I want this to last. My pride and joy are the French seamed sleeves (I've never even attempted this before).
Just check out how good that looks :) I was quite pleased. I was worried that French seaming the gathering would be a headache, but I found the double seams actually helped me to get the gathers more even (something I always struggle with because I hate gathers and do them very infrequently).
The blouse is actually about hip length so I could easily wear this untucked with pants or a straight skirt as well as tucked into my higher waisted skirts like above.
I love the relaxed fit in this fabric. This is a white rayon viscose I picked up when my local Hancock Fabrics was closing down a few years ago. It's a bit more sheer than I would like, but I've just kid of accepted that will be the case with a drapey white fabric and I don't let it bother me that the button band facing is so visible on the front, lol. This fabric has a lovely weight to it and really drapes so nicely. Totally worth seeing the facing.
I particularly love how this fabric drapes at the shoulders, yet it holds a crisp press to keep the collar looking nice. I'm very happy with my neckline adjustment - 5/8" doesn't sound like much to raise the neckline, but it was just enough to keep things covered for me. I think that it's really my hollow chest that makes necklines like this too low, so I adjusted that as well and I am really happy with the difference it made. The collar also lays so much smoother (which you will see was a problem on my muslin soon). I'm also really happy with my narrowing of the shoulders - it's still a bit wide on me, but I think this just looks like a style choice. I went with plain white buttons in my thrifted stash because I want this blouse to be a "go with everything" item.
I really love the sleeve details on this pattern too (though looking at this pattern made me think the sleeve needs more adjusting - why is the hem dipping so much in the back? lol). I tried a risky alteration when I narrowed the shoulders and I wanted to make sure the sleeve still had enough room to show the gathered top, so I added 1/2" to the top of the sleeve cap and I think this worked out really well. I also love the pleat at the hem, though I seem to have pressed it too much here, whoops! Once I wash this, I'm sure the pleat will fluff back up a bit (and all the holes my lines of gathering stitches made will close up too - this fabric really didn't like to have stitches pulled out).
So that's the blouse portion of my Dress Like Your Grandma outfit :) I'm sure my grammy would be pleased. She loved a white button up shirt with a nice collar, so I think she would appreciate this one. I'm glad I was able to do her style justice but incorporate mine as well. Now I have a great basic item to pair with all the prints I love that I don't have a shirt to wear with! Woo hoo :) Now if only I had two kids to dress up with those Colonel Saunders ties...

Fabric: 1.5 yards white rayon viscose - $7.50
Pattern: Mimi Blouse from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes
Notions: white thread - $0.50, Pellon SF101 interfacing - $0.75, 6 white buttons - $0.25
Time: 8 hours
Total Cost: $ 9.00

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