Thursday, September 24, 2009

Strong Shoulders

One of the trends this fall, as reported by fashion sources, is Strong Shoulders. "Soft and billowing or big and dramatic, shoulders take a starring role this season." Here are some of the photo’s I have in my idea file.(click on picture to enlarge)
When I look at these pictures my first thought is "Oh my gosh! How did they do that?" Followed shortly by… "Is that wearable in my world?" The techniques used by the designers to create these strong shoulders include gathering, pleating, padding, folding and structural steel (just kidding). The designer versions are pretty extreme. But many of them, when scaled down a bit, are very wearable. Some of these big shoulders are created with big sleeves. Sleeves that create width at the shoulder line visually slim the waist and hips. Plus my shoulders are sloping and on the small side to start with, so I really like this trend!
Even the sewing magazines have articles about big sleeves. Sewstylish magazine had an article titled "High Style Sleeves" that had instructions for modifying sleeve patterns to make two styles of "exaggerated sleeves that capture the modernized shoulder style".

I appreciated the Sewstylish article because it explained how to make the dramatic expanded shoulder in a way I never would have thought of. The original sleeve pattern cap is enlarged considerably. To avoid problems making the sleeve fit into the armhole, the sleeve is sewn over the original armhole. I briefly considered making a dress with this kind of sleeve just to try the technique, but I just didn’t think I would wear it; too afraid something like this would happen.

To satisfy my urge for a wearable wardrobe update, I sewed a couple of blouses with unique sleeves. The first one was Simplicity 2633, a Project Runway pattern for a princess seam blouse with a variety of collar, and sleeve options. I made the version with the short sleeves with pleat details. The sleeves are a modified version of a tulip sleeve.

The fabric was silk linen blend. I originally bought the fabric to use in a bias draping experiment (more on that in a future post). It was too stiff for draping. I washed two yards to soften it up, which didn’t happen, but the fabric took on a slightly rippled texture, which I really liked.


My second blouse, with a totally different sleeve, was made from Simplicity 2501.

I made view D, which has elbow length sleeves with gathers at the cap and along the length, a neckline tie, inset waist band, and a peplum. The sleeve pattern is freakish elongated. The fabric is gathered to a shorter length by sewing a long casing to the center of the sleeve on the wrong side, and inserting a short piece of elastic in the casing. The armhole gathers extend from the armhole front notch to armhole back notch.
The fabric for this blouse was silk print twill. Not the easiest fabric to cut out and sew, but worth the effort. I used silk organza for the interfacing and the sleeve gathering casing. I was really pleased with how it turned out.

Now on to something different!

28 comments:

Very Prairie said...

Both of these are so beautiful on you. The color, the fit, the styles- everything is amazing. Thank you for all the inspiration - I keep adding things you make to my "must sew" list.

Sharon said...

Lovely blouses and an excellent take on the styles for fall.

Sue said...

Your blouses are beautiful and my absolute fave is the silk twill top. It is so feminine and fits your body beautifully. You must be very pleased.

Marji said...

Audrey, fabulous post! I never remember to look at Simplicity. Thanks so much for highlighting these patterns and making them up. Did you see the Anthropologie pics on Stitchers Guild - one of the blouses had that dramatically draped sleeve, and I was mentally trying to figure out the pattern draft. I'm heading out for the next Simplicity sale.
The blouses are lovely. I hope they figure well into your wardrobe plans.

gwensews said...

Your blouses are very pretty. Love the sleeve details. As for exagerrated shoulders-yikes--it's the 80s again!

Sue said...

Beautiful blouses awith beautiful sleeve treatments!

Rachel said...

Those are both gorgeous on you. I just made that first blouse and am planning to get the pattern for the second one.

KimP said...

Gorgeous blouses! Really love the red silk/linen one!

senaSews said...

The pink bluse is adorable. Love, love, love the sleeves!

Trudy Callan said...

I love both of these blouses that you made with their unique sleeves. I am drawn to patterns with something unique about them. You look so stylish and classy in everything you make.

mjb said...

The modified tulip sleeves are just gorgeous!

Isabelle said...

Love your blouses - the details are so lovely. They both look wonderful on you!

Linda T said...

Both are a great look on you! Beautiful fabrics.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I saw your pictures on Flickr and was waiting for the post! Both tops are awesome...and the sleeve detailing is very wearable! You've given me something to think about!

j.kaori said...

Beautiful blouses! The sleeves are really interesting.

Vicki W said...

Great blouses! I especially love the first one.

Lisette M said...

Beautiful sleeves, and very wearable.

Bunny said...

Both blouses are beautiful. That silk twill's sleeves are very flattering to you. Lovely.

Bunny said...

Beautiful blouses and the sleeve treatments are very flattering and unique.

Megbud said...

Wow! Love both of them, and they look lovely on you.

Shannon said...

I am not sure what I think about the strong shoulder. On one hand, I already did it on the 80s and I think it looks ridiculous. On the other hand, those big shoulders really do balance out my lower half. What's a gal to do?

I do, however, know exactly how I feel about your two new blouses. As usual the sewing is impeccable and they look amazing on you!

a little sewing on the side said...

*gasp* I love those tops!! Great post!

Vicki said...

Very interesting sleeve details. Both look fabulous on you. I love the colour of the first one.

Josie said...

I love your blouses, so stylish! BTW I have tagged you with an award on my blog.

Maggie said...

Beautiful blouses! A pattern you maylike is a Plamer Pletsch one from the 80's. It's a cardigan jacket 7663 from their 8 hour line. It has Pleated caps on the sleeves. It makes a really great looking tailored jacket. Looking over your sewing style, I think you would like this one.

katherine h said...

What lovely blouses. I especially love the colour of the first one. Your blouses are an inspirational take on the big sleeve...I'll have to see how i can interpret this trend after seeing your efforts.

Leanne said...

I'd really love to find a pattern for a tulip sleeve (modified or otherwise)... do you have any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled onto your blog when searching for information on sewing gussets (I'm making BWOF 5-2009-117), and am in awe of all of your beautiful sewing! I can't tell you how many times I've browsed through the simplicity catalog, but never noticed how wonderful the sleeves were on those patterns. You look great in your new blouses!