Double Peter Pan collar blouse AND my grand unified theory of sewing
So, speediness is not what you come to this blog for. It’s taken me just over six months between talking about sewing blouses and actually sewing one. What can I say, I’m a tortoise, not a hare.
It’s from the original Built by Wendy Sew U book, which was all the rage on the internet, about 5 years ago. I’ve made two versions already, and for this one I wanted to try something a bit different – drafting up a double Peter Pan collar.
The top collar is made from left-over denim from my Beignet. The bottom collar, and main fabric, is some really beautiful shirting from Shaukat, which my mum kindly donated to me after a shopping expedition to South Kensington.
Okay, so in some ways this shirt was successful. I love the fabric, I like the way the collar turned out, and the insides are neat (I overlocked them). But in another way it was a failure – the fit. If you’ll forgive me, I’m going on a bit of a diversion here…
The Yes I Like That grand unified theory of sewing:
To my thinking the most challenging (and interesting) thing about home sewing is that you have to combine three elements, which are completely separate in your average high street garment. They are:
- Design. I’m using this word widely, to include: the garment style (whether you buy a pattern or draft it), the fabric and trimmings you use, and the design elements you add or take away.
- Fit. Including learning what good fit actually looks like (and I’m definitely still learning).
- Making. The actual sewing and pattern-making. All the little tips and tricks and manufacturing skills.
As a home sewer, you’re in complete control of all three. Which is liberating. But also a bit scary.
To me, 1 + 2 are the most important. I find pure technique pretty boring. I like problem solving, but I like having something nice to wear even more. I want the final product to work.
It was the second element that failed here. The first two versions I made fitted well, but the shoulders were wide. For this one I trimmed a tiny amount (honest!) off the armholes and sleeve tops. Well, that tiny amount must have added up, because this shirt was incredibly tight across the shoulders, resulting in a V-shaped wrinkle which was super obvious in the first set of photos I took:
I managed to partially fix it by sewing into my armhole seam allowances and it’s not so tight now. The V-lines are still there, but not as prominent. Overall, I’m happy.
The more I make, the more I learn, but it does all seems to break down into these three elements. The hardest two are the fit and matching the right fabric to the right pattern. I’ve got gorgeous fabric sitting in boxes because I just can’t visualise the perfect garment to do it justice.
I’d be interested to know what you think. What’s the most important aspect of sewing for you? Do you think there’s more to it than just these three elements?
(P.S. one more thing! I lined the cuffs with denim as well for a little surprise…)