After working on it over the weekend, tonight I finished up my very first blouse. I used the Pendrell blouse pattern, the very first pattern from new pattern designer Sewaholic. I love Tasia's blog, also called Sewaholic, and had intended to join her in sew-along with the Pendrell, but my January got away from me and I didn't get to start it until this past Saturday. I was a bit nervous, but I was reassured by the very detailed instructions that Tasia posted throughout the sew-along. All in all, it went well, even though I did encounter some learning moment mistakes along the way.
With all 67 pages of the sew along posts printed and in hand, I set forth. (Don't worry, I printed double sided). After taking my measurements, I determined that I should cut a size 6 based on my bust measurements. This, my friends, was mistake Number 1, which I wouldn't realize until tonight when I tried on the finished product. But we'll get to that later. I cut out the pattern pieces and laid out my fabric. Let me digress here to tell you how much I love our dining room table. I guess I can't so much call it a dining room, but the dining area of our downstairs. Nonetheless, the table we have is absolutely perfect for that space. One of our first purchases after we bought our house was a Bjursta from Ikea. It includes two leaves that hide nicely below the table top, but can be pulled out really easily. Most of the time I keep one leaf pulled out, but to cut the Pendrell pattern pieces, I pulled out both leaves. In dining table terms, this means it can seat 6 people comfortably (not that it ever sees anything besides my sewing stuff). It almost fit all of the fabric pieces!
For this project, I kept both leaves out so I could have the extra table space to lay out the pieces, since a certain cat that lives in this house insisted on playing with the tissue paper wherever else I put the pieces. Even with one of the leaves put away, there is more than enough room to set up Pippi and Mr. Nilsson for a pretty sweet sewing set up.
Since the chiffon that I chose for the blouse was pretty sheer, I decided to underline it. The great thing about underlining is that you basically are basting the lining fabric to your blouse fabric to make one new, thicker fabric. This is where we come to Mistake 2. The chiffon fabric that I was using for the blouse doesn't have a wrong side. For those of you who aren't into sewing, that means that the fabric looks the same on both sides of the fabric. However, the side that you use as the "front" of your fabric matters when you're attaching an underlining to it! I didn't discover this mistake until tonight either, when I was thoroughly confused when trying to attach my front and back pieces. It was a sad moment. Good thing I'm besties with my seam ripper and got to ripping out my basting stitches.
I hit a few other rookie snags, such as sewing the neck binding onto the inside of the neck instead of the outside, and then, duh, doing the same thing when sewing the armhole binding even though I had already gone through the process of correcting it on the neck. I think I was just getting tired at this point and apparently wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been. Eventually, after a couple of days of sewing, I was done. Behold, my very first blouse.
She'd look a lot nicer on a dress form, but as I don't have one, the table view will have to do. I excitedly raced upstairs to try her on before the start of the much-anticipated Watson Jeopardy! premiere, and then realized that I should have cut the size 4 instead of the size 6. It was too big in the shoulders and chest! I am pretty disappointed, but it looks like it will fit my sister perfectly, so it's not a complete loss. Here's a shot of her inside-out. I'm so impressed by Mr. Nilsson's handiwork.
Check out that sturdy hem! The serged edge is just on the inside so the fabric doesn't unravel over time. The double hem lines below are the only lines visible on the outside of the blouse.
I'm bummed that I won't be able to wear my very first blouse, but making the Pendrell was a great first blouse project and I learned a lot along the way. Especially to make the right sides of fabric if need be!
Thankfully today is also Valentine's Day and Nick got me a giant sized Hershey Kiss that I can go break into and cheer up. Happy Valentine's Day!