Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Field of Flowers

After such a long blog silence you probably wondered if I ever returned from vacation. I did. Vacation was fun and relaxing, once we got to our destination. We were flying south on the day that multiple tornadoes touched down in VA and NC, which resulted in late flights and missed connections. I have now added “spent a night in an airport” to my life experiences. We arrived in FLA a day late and 200 miles from our original destination city. Sadly I have no sewing related vacation adventures to share. The rental car unexpectedly sped up or veered off course any time I pointed out a fabric store. And all three males in the car chorused in unison “Fabric! You don’t need no stinking fabric”. This is a misappropriation of a line from one of their favorite movies, Blazing Saddles. The original is “Badges! We don’t need no stinking badges”.

Key West is very laid back. We spent our time at the beach, walking around town seeing the sights, sailing, or out on boat fishing. I did not catch any fish and Dad, I seemed to have inherited your quick to get seasick gene.

After three days there we drove up through the Keys to the South Beach area of Miami. South Beach is a whole different world. We stayed in a modern condo in one for the restored Art Deco buildings that faced the beach.
DH is great at finding wonderful vacation accommodations through VHBO (Vacation Rental Homes by Owner) sites. On a whim we Googled the condo owner’s name, which was on the lease, and discovered that Canadian hockey stars invest their money in FLA real estate. Here is a view from the balcony. The beaches were wide and the water warm.
At night there is a parade of folks, all dressed to impress. It was great people watching. Our last day we drove up north as far as Boca Raton, checking out the beaches and towns. The only sewing related thing I did on our vacation was reading. I took along the books Digital Fashion Illustration with Photoshop and Illustrator and Digital Textile Design I received Photoshop software as a Christmas present. Doctoring photos isn’t my thing but designing fabric prints and fashion illustrations really excites me.

For the past few weeks I have been working on the top and skirt from a vintage 1940 Vogue pattern.

But the computer gremlins struck the PC where I stored photos and the draft post on this project. So while my in-house geek squad moves the drives from the old PC to the new one, I'll jump to my latest project - McCall's 6286 blouse.

This is an over blouse with a wide open neckline. It is labeled “easy” but with many darts, a shaped front band, and a portrait collar, I would classify it as " medium". I always have to make shoulder alterations and I am pretty comfortable doing it to set in sleeves. But raglan sleeves like the ones on this blouse, never fit me well and intimidate me from a fitting perspective. I tried drafting raglan sleeves from my sloper and comparing them to the pattern, but the neck line of this blouse is so different that I had trouble establishing the neck point and shoulder point on the pattern for my comparison. So I decided to do a muslin of the sleeves. I wanted to do the alterations on the shoulder, where the raglan sleeve dart was located. So I slit the raglan sleeve pattern on the grain line from the dart point, creating front and back pieces. I added a seam allowance to the shoulder curve, sewed the sleeve pieces onto the bodice and pin fit the curve of the raglan sleeve from neck point to sleeve edge.

I marked the line of pins with magic marker and transferred the shape back into a one piece sleeve with shoulder dart. Success! Here you can see the difference in the original pattern and my sleeve pattern.

The fabric I used is a a medium weight cotton rayon print. The blouse flares out below the waist quite a bit.

I wore it with a belt as shown on the pattern and it looks okay. Without the belt defining the waistline, the blouse length cuts me in half. I am seriously considering shortening it by 2 inches and wearing it without the belt. It will give me a longer leg line. I thought the 10 acre field of dandelions behind our house ( Please Mr. Developer, mow this field before these flowers go to seed) was an appropriate location to photograph this floral top.


  1. Audrey, This looks lovely. I also have problems fitting raglan sleeves, I think because I need a square shoulder adjustment and I haven't worked out how to do this for a raglan style.

  2. it's a lovely top and I like the way you've belted it - to me you look tall anyway so I can't see any problem with its length. When I think of the areas you went to on holiday I think of Carl Hiassen. Everything I know about your vacation destination has been filtered through his unique take on the area...

  3. I really like this blouse on you . The collar is really very flattering . I can see this made up as sort of light jacket with a lady like pencil skirt . Well done and thanks for the sleeve tip . I think I might buy this pattern.

  4. I love the shape of this pattern. If you have left over fabric, perhaps you should try a self-tie belt. The leather looks a little heavy against the summery cotton. But it could just be the photo.

  5. Sounds like a great vacation!

    Cute top, I like it belted. I like the colour combination too. It's classic and fresh looking.

  6. Love it! The print is beautiful and you wear the style so well. Of course, the construction is exquisite, as per your normal operating procedures.

    I can't wait to see what your Photoshop adventures bring.

  7. Great top in a very flattering print/color. I think you look pretty leggy the way you have it styled here and wouldn't change a thing. Looks great!

  8. Very pretty top! I love it the length it is, and that brown belt looks perfect!

  9. Glad you had a wonderful and relaxing vacation.

    Can't wait to see the vintage suit! This is something a little different for you, right?

    The top is lovely. Especially since you photographed it in a "field of flowers!"

  10. I think it looks really nice on you as is! It would be pretty good with a fitted knee length skirt too...

  11. The blouse is lovely, the cut is very flattering- I may have to have that one.

  12. Thank you for writing about your vacation -- always fun to read about different locales! I love the blouse. It is a great style and the print you chose is really fun. I like your idea of shortening the length for a different look.

  13. It looks like you've been busy sewing since you returned from vacation. The top looks so comfortable and summery! I look forward to your photoshop experience and the vintage suit.

  14. Such a lovely blouse! I love how flattering it is, and it has sort of a vintage-y feel to it. Pretty, pretty.