Sunday, 12 April 2015

Sewing: Sewaholic Oakridge blouse for Victoria

Over the last year I have made a very special friend. An office-BFF, a partner in crime on nights out, a fellow food junkie and just a generally awesome person!

Her birthday was coming up in March and I knew I wanted to gift her something special. For really special gifts to really special people in my life there is only one option - to make something.


(Now, if you are reading this and haven't received anything handmade by me, it doesn't mean you are not special to me, it just means that I'm a master procrastinator.)

So I kind of observed her style. Cuts, colours, materials. Button ups feature consistently in her wardrobe, and aside from a ton of burgundy stuff, she dresses a lot in the classic colours white, black, grey, navy.

I showed her a picture of the Oakridge blouse, said I was thinking of making myself a sleeveless version (I lied) and asked her what she thinks. She liked it. Good.


Next step. Fabric. We were in London together a few weeks before her birthday, so that was a perfect opportunity. First I took her to Liberty, but I pretty quickly got the feeling that was not her cup of tea. Then we went to MacCullough & Wallis. I was genuinely looking for a wide range of fabrics, only one of which would be her birthday fabric. She liked this grey/white cotton lawn, so I got it.




Finally, obtaining her measurements. I told her I was making a spreadsheet of my own and my friends' measurements to keep for any current and future projects and asked to take hers. (I do actually intend to do this, see above point about procrastination.) I asked her this a few days before her birthday, so how she didn't figure out what I was up to, I don't know.

Squeezed this out of 1 m of 150 cm width fabric. I had to compromise slightly and cut the bow band not exactly on the bias, but to be honest, I made another version after and cut it on the bias and I can't really see that it makes a difference.

Gifted her with it on the next working day after her birthday and turned out it fit and she liked it. Excellent!



However, by then I liked it so much I kind of wanted to keep it. So I had no option but to start an Oakridge for myself immediately after. Stay tuned for a post on it.

But first, let's chat a bit about the pattern itself and my alterations.
  • Firstly, there was a serious sizing issue, but I will discuss that in detail in my next Oakridge post.
  • Interfacing. I interfaced the whole button band, as instructed in the pattern. But after I sewed the first button band in place it was clear that even with light interfacing it was way too stiff for my otherwise soft lawn. So for the other button band I did like the Grainline instructions for the Archer shirt instructed, i.e. interfacing only one half of the button band. Result: so much better!
  • I didn't quite get how to attach the neck tie. I read some reviews of this patterns, and noticed that I wasn't alone in that. I fished a RTW pussy bow blouse out of my wardrobe and studied how that was done, then I did the same. So I only followed the instructions up until the bow band met the button band. Then I turned it right way up, pressed, folded in the seam allowance of the inside of the bow band with about 2 mm hanging over the seam of where the outside side of the bow band had been joined with the front and back pieces, pressed, and "stitched in the ditch" from the outside. Or attempted to. Because the fabric was so fine the "ditch" didn't conceal the stitches, so I moved up 1 mm or so onto the bow band and just did really neat top stitching. No regrets, it looks fine.
  • One alteration: I decided to make this sleeveless, so I shaved off a few cm at the shoulders and finished the armholes with bias binding. Easy peasy.
Right, expect my other (selfish) Oakridge on the blog next week. Until then, have a great week!

Me and Victoria in a wine bar in London. Photo stolen from Victoria's Instagram.