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Friday, August 16, 2013

This Collar “Will Be The Death of Me” Black and White Blouse

As a person I try to never stop learning. Recently, I decided that I was going to teach myself couture sewing methods. One person’s response to this plan was “Oh, well I’m glad you chose something SO easy Laura.” :) Couture is in essence custom fitted clothing made for a specific customer. Many times the work is done all by hand. 

In this case the customer was myself. :)


Cute summer top 043


So why did I decide to do this? Well, it is all the fault of this dress I saw at Colonial Williamsburg. It was completely hand sewn and I WANTED it in the worst way. Granted it’s not something I can wear to the grocery store (or can I :) but it would make an EXCELLENT Halloween costume and I knew it would take at least the five months I had to do so.

Summer Vacation 2013 1065

Now the problem was/is that my skills at sewing clothing were as rusty as an old needle. I needed to start with the basics and work my way up.  So I began with the Yankee Doodle Dandy Blouse that I shared HERE. It was a straightforward, easy to sew pattern with darts and seaming. I kicked it up a notch by learning how to edge with bias tape.

Cute summer top 006

And for my next trick…

I wanted to make a blouse with set in sleeves, button holes and a “this just might be the death of me” collar.

Oh that collar!

I’m not gonna lie, there were tears. I read the vintage pattern instructions 800 times and could not understand WHAT the heck they were talking about.

Desperate times called for desperate measures. I am, for the most part, a visual learner. So I got on Youtube and found…

10,300 “how to attach a collar” results.

Here’s the result.

Cute summer top 044


Did you see the edge of that jazzy sleeve? I added bias tape to the edge as well as the bottom of the shirt which you can’t see because it’s tucked in.

Blouse 002

One generally rule about couture sewing is that the inside of the garment should look almost as good as the outside, so all the seams inside this blouse are finished.

Blouse 001

Now let’s talk about the fabric.

I am going to let you in on a little secret. I rarely, if ever, wear black. (All of my friends and family members who know me in “real life” are nodding their heads saying “It’s true.”) But as a side note you can pretty much find touches of décor black in every room of my house. I found this fabric when I helped clean out my moms house. Contrary to my general nature of avoiding black I HAD to have it. It features rows of houses and a lady wearing a big skirt. The designer in me just loves this vintage cotton print.

Blouse 006

The buttons were also found in my mom’s sewing stash. They are vintage black plastic with a rhinestone center. Fancy, but I think they work.

Blouse 004

I have worn this blouse twice. The first time it was worn untucked over red ankle pants with black ballet flats ala Audrey.

The second time was with Mr. Décor and paired with a bright purple J. Crew skirt I found last year at an outlet and a black belt and Target sandals. He approved.

Cute summer top 043

I have since made a blouse for my friend Jenny and am currently working on a lined dress with a zipper that I will share with you next week.

I wanted to leave you with a thought provoking blog post and cartoon I found HERE. It was written by an amazing woman who taught herself a new skill and made a huge career change.

What will your next life hold?



Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Amazing job on that!! Looks WONDERFUL!!!!

Lady of the Woods said...

Bloglandia is quite amazing. I just got off one blogger who made my cry and my heart swell! the very next is this one who is making me crack up with tears still wet on my face! because I'm teaching myself to sew, and I mean from step one. I use only a straight or zigzag stitch which is all the machine I have does but I'm trying to figure out EVERYTHING by back engineering them by eye! and I have some of my pieces in separate posts, but it is not easy! I abhor using patterns and I want to design most of what I wear and the rest is what I SIMPLY MUST HAVE if I see a picture. I tell myself "if the Medieval people can do it without youtube or internet so can I", so I'm doing it. also I have no one around who sews and the one who does, doesn't have time for anything. So I teach myself. Also the inside seams have to be nice for me too, and the French seam works well. My style is easy because unlike yours, all of what I wear is loose and flowing, thank God! otherwise I shall go mad...but I am doing OK. Today off to finish another blouse and try to begin "figuring out" a Kimono, modern style, which means I have "creative license" to make it just the way I prefer it LOL :D Good luck to you, really!

BluBabesCreate said...

I'm impressed. It's hard not to rely on my mom all the time, but I've learned to sew for myself.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Gosh, I havn't made clothes in years, you amaze me. Love both of your tops, and the collar looks fabulous. Hugs, marty

Denise said...

Your blouse turned out great Laura, and I love the collar! I think it's great to always be learning; it keeps your mind young and alert. Now I can't wait to see your Williamsburg dress when you've finished it, and I have no doubt that you will. :) I enjoyed your post; hope you have a great weekend!


Denise at Forest Manor

Blackberry Lane said...

Wow! Incredible job on the blouse, Laura. That fabric/buttons are just delightful. Wishing you and your family a nice weekend. Mildred

Cherie said...

Very nice tops! I just starting sewing again after a 12 year hiatus, and find I still love it! Love your fine techniques and design touches, great job!

Karie's Chic Creations said...

Love that adorable blouse. Great job. Amazingly, I have been thinking I need to brush up on my clothes sewing skills. I once sewed everything I wore and my daughter wore. I haven't done that type of sewing for years. Well, you have inspired me and I am going to start sewing for myself. Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Karie

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Your doing such great work Laura!
I love that blouse and fabric too, so cute on you!
My sewing skills are rusty too and sure understand that wanting to tear your hair out part.
The last thing I made were curtains and a skirt for Addison and both were easy.
You inspire me!
Hugs friend,

Liz Hockamier said...

AWESOME! I bet this was adorbs with the red ankle pants. I actually used to do a lot of sewing.... but it wasn't for the art of it. Your hand work is wonderful.

Loved the cartoon.... makes me think of Marty! :)


GSGreatEscaper said...

Laura, you must watch the video above. Perhaps you will change your century! Monet is calling you!

Lorrie said...

Great job on the collar! Some sewing patterns have terrible written instructions.
I'm off to look at that video.

kateprs said...

Wow, I'm incredibly impressed! I have absolutely no sewing skills, but I wish I did!

Kate @ A Journey in Style