Sunday, 31 May 2015
Love At First Stitch, Mimi Blouse
Anyone who knows me knows I am a fan of getting a bit nautical, and I've been after some fabric with anchors on for a while now. I have also been on the search for something I was inspired to make Tilly and the Button's Mimi Blouse out of. So I felt like I'd hit the jackpot when I found this anchor-print fabric in Abakhan in Manchester. Found in their offcut section downstairs at about 3 meters, it still cost me under £10 with the houndstooth I bought for my latest Lottie Blouse!
I'd been putting off this pattern for a while as it seemed to have a lot going off- facings, gathers, tucks, sleeves, buttons and a collar... Seemed like a lot could go wrong. So I set aside my Bank Holiday Weekend so I could have three solid days so blouse making. Only to find I had it finished with a whole day to spare!
I was worried that the collar wouldn't lie flat, as I ended up cutting each half separately and sewing together instead of cutting on the fold so that my anchors were facing in the right direction. In the past this has spelled match-up disaster, but I was very careful with my seam allowances and tried extra hard to be as accurate as possible. Tilly's tip of cutting the under collar a smidge smaller than the upper collar was great! This helps pull the seam where the two are joined to the underneath of the collar so it is less visible. Will definitely be using that one again. If I make the blouse again I think I will alter the collar to a peterpan shape and possibly make the back of the collar a little wider. I feel much more confident in making and attaching collars and their facings than I did a few days ago.
The pattern is pretty keen on gathers- I am particularly fond of the gentle gathers in the back piece attached to the yoke. I have considered maybe making the yoke longer where it attaches to the front bodice and having my front gathers a little lower- maybe adding some piping to the seams and adding some yeehaw country and western patches/embroidery(!!) to the shoulder/chest area. One of the great things about this pattern is it is just so versatile! There are plenty of little tweaks and changes that would be relatively simple to make that could completely transform the whole style of the blouse. Thicker fabric could make it a bit more shirty- I've already taken to knotting up the front and wearing it like a 50's work shirt (that didn't take me long!), I imagine that would look pretty cool as a sleeveless version. Also, with a button opening at the front, there is quite a bit of allowance for taking the side seams in a bit If I fancy something more fitted. So many ideas!
Knowing that I was likely to be tucking the blouse in quite a bit, I omitted the last button at the bottom to save me from being lumpy under my work skirt. I realised this was an even better idea when I tried on for the first time and needed another button on the top to a) stop the collar sagging and b)protect my er, modesty. I'd only bought six buttons so was pretty lucky I hadn't used them all! My mother looked pretty horrified that I was going to add another button hole to the top- I think she would have prefered me sticking it with blu-tack as that would be much less risky! But I'd done five already that went very well indeed (110% concentration there- almost forgot to breathe...) so was prepared to add another. She was concerned that just bunging on another button to the top that wasn't the same distance apart from the others was a bit of a dodgy idea. I said that two at the top wouldn't bother me, made a 'keep out' joke and I seemed to talk her round. It definitely looks better with a button at the top than it did before. Next time I make a Mimi I think I will play around a bit with the button placement, with this in mind!
Big thanks to Tilly for such an amazing pattern! I had such a great time making this and realised I had come such a long way from when I first bought the book and was terrified just by the idea of interfacing! Can't wait to make more Mimis!
Currently listening to: The End, The Doors