During England’s Lockdown 2.0, life has carried on pretty much as normal for me. Normal now being working from home, my craft room doubling up as my office. Being in the same room all day means that sometimes the motivation to craft eludes me (card making has taken a huge back seat for now), but I decided that this year I would make a Christmas outfit. Originally I planned a dress but suddenly decided one day to draft a blouse, based on my Sure-Fit Designs block, using fabric from Abakhan’s “buy-by-weight” section. The fabric is a really light cotton (I think) so didn’t cost much at all. Then the plan evolved to include a “wearable muslin” pair of trousers using bargain fabric from Fabworks Online. The wearable muslin would be based on the Sure-Fit Designs block I started many moons ago and which was pretty good at first fit.
The main blouse design came together really quickly, as I knew I just wanted bust darts but no waist darts at the front to allow for Christmas pudding! I reduced the size of the back darts and I’m really happy with the fit. As the bodice is very simple I decided I wanted statement sleeves so I watched numerous YouTube videos about how to draft balloon sleeves. But at the last second I bottled it & decided that they would be too voluminous so I reduced the size – and now regret it as I think they’re a bit “meh”!
Then came the cuffs . . . . I drafted normal, 5 cm cuffs and tried it on. Disaster – the sleeves were too short! The obvious way to fix it was to draft longer cuffs but did I want just simple, longer, straight cuffs? Of course not, no point in making it easy on myself. I wanted close-fitting, tapered cuffs. Five – yes, five – attempts later, here you can see one of them in all its glory. Am I pleased with them? Hell yes! Can’t even wear a watch they fit so closely.
And on my “to do” list for the Christmas/New Year break from work is to make sure my sleeve block is drafted properly . . . .
The hem was originally planned as a straightforward curved, narrow hem. But an accident with the duckbill scissors, which are supposed to prevent you cutting your fabric in the wrong place whilst trimming the excess, resulted in me cutting the fabric in the wrong place. But only days before, I’d watched a YouTube video by Sew Essential which showed a different way of finishing knit tops, and realised I could use that to finish this top by adding an extra strip of fabric to the bottom. The extra detail means you’d think it was intentional and I’m really pleased with how it turned out (and as an added bonus, it was really quick to do!).
So, onto the “wearable muslin” trousers, which by comparison were quite a simple project. I wanted narrow leg trousers but my SFD “pants” block results in straight, quite wide-leg trousers. I used a commercial pattern to work out how much to taper the legs although as I don’t own any trousers like this, deciding just how narrow to make them was largely guesswork. After the first fit I decided I needed to take in the waist a little more, and to do this I added a couple of extra 1cm waist darts at the front, 2.5 cm towards the side seams from the existing darts.
Initially I made a faced waistband, using some of the blouse fabric as the facing, but felt the waist was too high, so I replaced the waistband with a Petersham ribbon waistband. This is something I would DEFINITELY do again as it was quick, simple & really easy to achieve a good finish. A hand finished hem & they were done.
I’m sure I’ll tweak my trousers block a little, although I’m never quite sure how trousers are supposed to fit and as these were comfy to wear all of Christmas Day I think I can safely say that they were another success.