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. :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?