Birdy Lottie blouse

Hi everyone! Can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last post! I have been doing quite a lot of sewing – there’s a warm wintery Cambie that I just can’t quite bear to finish (I’m so over winter right now!), and a few other things in the pipeline. Anyway, I’ve got at least one finished project to show you today:

My new birdie blouse! Please excuse the wrinkles - I had worn this all day and didn't fancy ironing it again... lazy!
My new birdie blouse! Please excuse the wrinkles – I had worn this all day and didn’t fancy ironing it again… lazy!

I bought issue 2 of Love Sewing back in June for the gorgeous pattern on the cover: the Simple Sews Lottie Blouse. It’s a loose-fitting simple bow blouse, suitable for beginners. I thought it would come in handy as a quick, easy stash-buster, that would also fill a wardrobe gap of chic work blouses… and I was right!

This blouse was on the front cover – so pretty! Image from: http://www.lovesewingmag.co.uk/learn-to-sew/sewing-news/item/309-love-sewing-issue-2

I made this over a few short sessions this weekend – I cut out in front of the Sewing Bee on Thursday, sewed up half of it on Friday night, and finished up on Sunday night. Even taking time to get all the bias binding nice and smoothly topstitched, it only took about 5 and a half hours in total! I’m really pleased with the result.

I made a couple of Sorbetto tops last summer, so I used the pattern pieces to gauge the fit of this blouse, as finished measurements weren’t printed on the envelope. I cut the 12, grading to a 14 at the hips. This is also the sizing I would have chosen if I’d just been following the size chart, so it does come up fairly true to size! As the fit is loose, I didn’t make any fitting adjustments. It hangs a bit oddly at the back if it’s not tucked in, but I’m probably always going to wear it tucked in with a high-waisted skirt, so that’s not a problem!

The pattern is marked as ‘ambitious beginners’ which I would say is about right. There were a couple of parts which irritated me a little about the drafting of this pattern. The main one was notches – or rather lack thereof. For the neck bias binding, the instructions say to bind between points a & b, but there are no notches marking this on the pattern pieces, meaning I had to guess where they would be. The same happens with attaching the collar/ necktie. I initially didn’t attach it to enough of the neckline, and so the necktie looked really weird. I went back and sewed on a few extra inches, which made it look better. I have marked these points from my finished blouse on to the pattern, so I have it ready for next time!

My other main annoyance was that only part of the neckline was bias bound. Although this doesn’t show through, as it’s covered up by the necktie, it does irritate me that there is a raw edge in my otherwise neatly bound and French-seamed top! I zig-zagged it as this fabric frays like nobody’s business (and at that point, I couldn’t be bothered making more binding!). Next time, I would make enough biding to cover the whole neckline.

The raw edge of the neckline - so annoying!
French seam on the shoulder, and raw edge of the neckline – so annoying! Luckily it hasn’t frayed too much so far.

Now on to my fabric! This blouse is certainly a stash buster – it used only 90cm, including making the bias binding for the neckline and armholes. The necktie really does need a full width of 60” wide fabric, mine came up a little bit narrow so I shortened it by about two inches from the middle.

I am usually a massive fabric snob, and I much prefer sewing with natural fibres rather than polyester. This poly is so gorgeous though that I couldn’t leave it! I wouldn’t want to wear it in anything close fitting, but in a loose blouse, it’s fine. I probably will only wear in coolish temperatures, as even though it’s loose, polyester is not fun in warm weather!

I used a tip from Sew Busy Lizzie on stabilising fabric with gelatine, as the fabric was so shifty. I’ve got a quick tutorial and some hints ready, so look out for that in the next few days!

Me in my new blouse! If I look a little pained, it's because I was FREEEZING. Thanks to my colleague for taking the photo :)
Me in my new blouse! If I look a little pained, it’s because I was FREEEZING. Thanks to my colleague for taking the photo 🙂

Despite my slight gripes with the pattern, I really love this blouse, and it came together so nicely! I will definitely be making more!

Cost:
Fabric: 1m birdy fabric (from Sew Over It) £10
Thread: £1.70
Pattern: Free with Love Sewing
Total: £11.70

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