Thursday, 26 December 2013

Make a Garment a Month - My December Garment

Ottobre 5/2013 No. 3 Leo Bohemian blouse

I used to wear peasant style tops in my younger days and when I saw this one it immediately went on my want list. I have been subscribing to Ottobre for over a year now, and though each issue has designs that seem very "me" I haven't yet summoned up the courage to trace a pattern off and test the Ottobre fit.
Picture from the magazine
Now, my body looks nothing like the model in the book, so I was a bit worried, but I have learned quite a bit about pattern adjusting lately, so I traced off a size 42 (European sizing) at the shoulders, which corresponds to my high bust measurements, and graded it out to a size 46 at the underarm and hips. When I measured the pattern pieces there seemed to be enough ease for me.

I chose a sheer polyester print from Darn Cheap Fabrics for my test garment. The pattern recommends poplin. This poly was tricky to cut out - very slippery.
The first thing to do is the placket. I've never done piping before. I used a gold lycra from my dance stash and fussy cut the red from the print. It turned out better than I expected!!! So I carried on. Ottobre instructions are succinct, but not too hard to follow.
The pattern has a few other features that are new to me. Sleeve plackets are a first. The fabric made this trickier than it needed to be. It was impossible to distinguish right side from wrong, so even though I thought hard, I sewed the plackets on the same way!! You can't tell with this print and fabric, so I didn't unpick, but I'll make sure I mark the wrong sides next time.....

It's been ages since I did a yoke, and I did quite a bit of spatial gymnastics before I was game enough to sew front to back to enclose the yoke. It was simple in the end, but I wanted to make sure no unpicking would be required. Once I had joined front to back, I was starting to really like this top, and wished I'd taken more care with finishing off the seams. Because it was a test garment, I was being lazy. I tried sewing French seams for the sideseams and sleeves - another first. I was happy with the result and will do this next time I'm working with a sheer fabric.

The sleeve cuffs are buttoned. The buttonholes were a disaster! There is plenty of room in the cuffs for my hands, so I just sewed the buttons on through the cuffs. The print covers it all up so it's not even a "Design Feature".

The instructions called for a narrow hem, but when I finished it, parts of the hem were flared out, so I decided to overlock a rolled hem. Thread choice was tricky as the print is large areas of different colours, and I settled on a tan colour in the upper looper, a grey in the lower looper and the steel blue thread I had been using in the sewing maching for the needle. It turned out very nicely.

I was so happy with this top that I wore it on Christmas Day (with my new denim skirt from my Sure-Fit Designs dress kit). In the photos I'm wearing a navy cami under it. I'm looking forward to experimenting with other colours underneath.
I'm thinking of making another one. I have some bone coloured viscose in mind, which will look totally different. I might also see how it looks loosely belted.


  1. Beautiful colours and the blouse shape allows them to shine.

  2. Great job! Lots of firsts with a great result. Definitely make another one!

  3. Leonie, polyester chiffon is really difficult to work with, so you did a really great job in making this work - it has a lot of detail, so the slippery fabric would not have made this easy. Must be your experience with dance costumes that helped with this :) It really looks lovely :)

  4. I love the print and the way it turned out -- and I think you are very brave to tackle this fabric :) It looks really bright and lively on you!

  5. You always feel such a great sense of achievement when you tackle new techniques. Congratulations. Your blouse is lovely. Cheers, Karen

  6. Lovely top and gorgeous fabric. Looks great on you.

    I have private messaged you at Pattern Review for your email to send the StyleArc Voucher.