Saturday, 14 May 2016

Matchy Matchy - Flamingo Blouse and Jacket

Hello! Today I'm delving into the 1930's and the 1990's by way of patterns, mixing them all up, and linking them together with the magic of fabric. 

I made a version of the long sleeved blouse below about 20 years ago, before I really understood about altering a pattern correctly to fit:

I remember I added extra width to the front and back, but the armholes and neck were all wrong - I wore it anyway. It didn't really work; I wore it a few times before I gave up on it and just resolved this pattern wasn't for me.

Now I know better - I know how to grade a pattern up to the correct size, and then adjust it for my specific figure. And now I know it's wise to make a muslin/toile, something I never used to do. I was too impatient, and I just thought it was just a waste of fabric.

Out came the rulers and the tracing paper and I traced and slashed and adjusted until I had something that looked right. This was fairly involved, and I'll probably cover it in another blog post. I made a toile out of some old curtains that were in our house when we moved in:

It came out surprisingly well - the fit was pretty good, and just a few minor adjustments were needed, like a wider front facing allowance and so on. 

Now for the fabric, which was this beauty below:

I picked this fabric up from Hamid's on Ridley Road Market in Dalston, for the lovely price of £1 per metre. You'll notice that the flamingos are at a right angle to the selvedge, which I thought was weird; surely you'd want them to run parallel to the selvedge? This meant I had to break all the sewing rules and lay the pattern out on the cross grain - I didn't want sideways flamingos!

I said earlier that I used to find toiles annoying because I'm really impatient - I just want to get to the sewing part and then the wearing part! But the toile was really helpful in that it made the sewing go really quickly - all the fiddly bits had been worked out in the practice run, as it were.

Here it is:

There are some really nice little details on the blouse, like pleats in the sleeve head and the tucks at the shoulder:

Pleats on the sleeve head

Tucks running from the front shoulder to nearly the bust
I didn't really fancy using any of the closure methods on the packet - a zip looked too bulky, and who has time to make all those rouleau loops? I just extended the centre front to create a self-facing band with buttonholes:

Once the blouse was done, I was left with a pretty sizable amount; I suppose cutting it crosswise didn't use as much up? I'm on a mission to reduce my pile of stash fabrics, and I had the perfect use for the rest of it: a jazzy lining for my replacement Burda bomber jacket.

I made version A, but without the unnecessary shoulder/yoke section

I made this jacket once before a couple of summers ago, as detailed here. I absolutely loved this jacket, and wore it non-stop in the milder months - it was the ideal weight for summer evenings. But in a moment of confusion, it was left on a train - the first time I've ever lost a piece of clothing! I did everything I could to get it back, which mostly involved filling out a Transport for London lost property form, but it was not to be. Someone out there has a custom made bomber jacket; I hope they appreciate it!

Anyway - I'd been meaning to replace it for a while. With the weather improving a little, now seemed the right time. And because I had the previous blog post to refer to, I didn't really have to think much this time round. Here's the finished item, made with fabric from the Textile Centre on Walthamstow Market:

I only deviated from my original version in a couple of places. First, I used exposed zips on the front pockets, rather than the welts I used before:

Cheeky flamingos peeking out!

I love exposed zips - so easy, and they look so impressive!

For the second moderation I added a little placket to the front of the jacket, to sit behind the zip. I noticed this piece is usually present on the classic MA-1 bomber jackets and Harrington's, but for some reason is often left off of domestic sewing patterns. I just guess-timated the size and length; I had it stop short of the zip top a few inches, for no reason other than I liked the look of it:

And here's the flamingo lining:

And together with the blouse in all it's flamingo glory:

Again, this has proven to be one of my favourite jackets and I've worn it almost every chance I get. I'm thinking I'll have to make more in other colours, or maybe tackle a satin embroidered version. 

I'm off to ponder all of those possibilities - see you soon!