Project Sewn // Week one // Black & White

A hundred and one doodles, four patterns and three muslins later I think I’m officially broken into Project Sewn. This is a big deal, coming from a girl who’s typical stance on muslins is ‘life is too short’. Now I can see they have their place but only when one is chopping into prized woodland critter silk and hoping not to get voted off the island!!
Now I am no fashion illustrator but getting ideas down on paper really helped to reign in the flood of black and white. I narrowed it down from several pages to a few designs and ended up going with my original instinct to keep it simple: Clean lines, blocked shapes. Let the fabric do the talking. Or bleating and scurrying, I suppose.
But lets start at the beginning…this week’s theme was Black and White! Did you sew at home?  My sewing week began with the realization that I didn’t actually have a week. Minus three days of work and it was more like four days…to plan, trace, cut, muslin, sew and photograph. True to calculation I finished with half an hour to spare before photos and only because I covered the buttons at Archie’s circus class and sewed them on at the hairdresser. I found being limited color-wise challenging and refreshing. I had to dig deeper to try and come up with something interesting/beautiful in two colors (if you can call them that) that I actually don’t own or wear very much. But I knew, straight up, it was time to break out the woodland printed silk crepe de chine from Spoonflower. I’ve been saving it for something special!
The next question was what to do it? Something to go with rust skirt was a given. And I wanted to sew a piece that I’d love and wear forever, or hopefully beyond May. I could totally see myself getting swept up in making something ‘comp worthy’ but never wear it again. So I conducted a little change room ‘research’, by which I mean trying on this blouse and had an epiphany! Blouses and shirts, for me, are daywear and it’s got to do with collars and fit. But this one was handsome and feminine, like a girly tuxedo. And a definite after 5-er. I wanted in. Color-blocking is one of my fav trends at the moment and the perfect way to let the print stand out here. As you could imagine it was inspiration overload so I had to cull like a boss to come up with this list:
  • Color-blocked
  • Understated collar
  • Sleeves with placket & cuffs (not elastic)
  • Slim fit body and sleeves (no gathers)
  • A curved front and butt skimming back hem  
PicMonkey Collage24
 Four patterns…didn’t you believe me? This is how you make do sans drafting skills. Pilfer a sleeve from here, pinch a hem from there. Nothing to it. Okay, I lie, there was a lot to it. As well as adjustments to all the parts: sleeves lengthened, width taken out of shoulders, cuffs narrowed, front hem lengthened, seam allowances added to sleeves but not body. Hence the three muslins. The hardest part was deciding on a pattern to use for the base and being time poor it would have made sense to use something familiar. But the Pussybow blouse was all ‘casual’ and ‘shirty’ where I wanted ‘dashing’ so I went with the PPB’s sleeker sister, the Burdastyle High Low blouse. Mostly for its little hardly-a-collar and conveniently lowered back hem.
Oh, so many decisions! What kind of seams? French. Thick or thin cuffs? Thin. Interface both layers of collar or one? One. Should the triangle point up or down? Up. Contrasting buttons or not? Not. Plastic buttons or covered? Covered. What sized buttons? Small and inconspicuous. Should I go vacuum? No. And on it went. I can foresee my sticking point will be knowing when to let things go. With a day to finish the collar, front placket, hems and buttonholes and faced with ‘to French seam or not to French seam’ the armholes, I went the frenchies. Yup, totally busted my butt for beautiful seams that only my armpits will see.
Totes proud of my collar! I ‘stitched in the ditch’ instead of a top-stitch for a neater finish. The sleeve plackets went swimmingly, glad though that this was not my first attempt. They’re not scary but I get confused easily so this tutorial was helpful. This particular sized self-cover button didn’t come with a press in tool so I had to stitch around the outside and pull on the thread to gather the circle of fabric tight around the buttons. A new experience, but probably how buttons used to be made, come to think of it.
And then the pieced back panel whipped my butt! I lined up the edges, sewed to the point, flipped it over to the right side and there was this huge pucker above the tip. I was just like ‘WHAT is THAT and why is it HERE?!’. But after inspecting closely, the mystery wedge looked like it could be pinched out and sewn like a dart. You can’t even see the seam unless you’re looking for it or wondering why that particular deer has a pointy rump. As an after thought I attached cotton stay tape to triangle seams so hopefully they hold their shape over time.
Proud much? Um, yes! For only chucking a modest tanty over buttonhole foot being a jerk and sewing one cuff beautifully then refusing the other. Stitching that buttonhole entirely by hand! Lining up all the color blocking. Getting the rolled hems to sit flat around the curves. Making an army of muslins. What I’m most proud of is attempting something where I had no idea until I tried it on at the end whether it was going to be amazing or not so. What a week! It was intense. It was fun. Now it’s up to you. If you’d like to see my next Project Sewn creation you have to VOTE, right HERE, right now. Do it for the critters!!

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  • Max of Max California ★wrote:

    Nailed it Sophie!!!

    It looks so amazing, the fabric is so you! Quirky and cute and trendy but not following everyone else. I have never seen a top like this before, and I am digging it!

    I love how unique you are 😀

    Go get yourself a glass of wine and have a relax, but tomorrow you best be sewing again!!


  • Tamsinwrote:

    This is amazing. I would totally wear that !

  • Mariewrote:

    Aaaack, absolutely couldn’t love this any more! Excellent fabric choice considering the challenge and the style is definitely ‘dashingly handsome’! I’m just sad that you used 4 patterns to make it, meaning I have no change of immediately copying it! Haha!

  • Kessemwrote:

    I’m always so impressed with your fabric choices! I Love animal fabrics!
    Beautiful silk blouse – I love it!

  • Kirstywrote:

    Such a great make. It definitely hits the day to night wear. I’m voting for you!!

  • melissa q. at a happy stitchwrote:

    Awesome! What a beautiful top and I always love your cheeky smile. Nice work!

  • Lashellwrote:

    Such a beautiful top. I can see that being sold in any store. Nice work!

  • small + friendlywrote:

    Oh my goodness this tis so very amazing! I can’t get over all the detail, that point in the back is too good. I voted of course, you must win for this!

  • Petite Josettewrote:

    very cool! I love the top fabric, I just might order myself some yardage…

  • Susan Phillipswrote:

    Love this top! The fabric is amazing and the design is perfection! Great job!

  • Mariewrote:

    I really liked your design 🙂 All those details are pretty rad. I think I’ll draw some inspiration from your triangle back part 🙂

    Love from Germany

  • Crab and Beewrote:

    All the work you put into this was so worth it! I appreciate that you chose “dashing” as your guiding adjective. 🙂

  • Dagnywrote:

    For being a button down shirt it has one sexy back with that triangle. I love the collar! I’m not a fan of normal collars on button-ups so I love the open-ness of your neckline. That’s kind of a funky print but I really like it up close. I recently sewed a shirt for my son with triangles like that and got a pucker at the point too so I sewed another seam at the last minute to smooth it out. I never though of a dart though.

  • KWwrote:

    Wow. What an amazing shirt. I’m so impressed with your Frankenstein methods! I definitely just voted for you… and bought that burdastyle pattern. 🙂 I’m now googling how to narrow shoulders.

  • Bronwynwrote:

    Absolutely stunning! I am in love with the fabric, the sleeves, the covered buttons, the triangular back….just awesome!

  • anu*mikiwrote:

    It’s gorgeous!

  • Caroline Hulsewrote:

    love this look on you! that fabric is adorable– i can see it going with many outfits!

  • Jenniferwrote:

    OMG!!! I love love love it. I have voted and hope you win as you deserve it with all your hard work.

  • Katwrote:

    Oh my goodness! This is freaking amazing. God I wish I had your sewing skills. You look totally stunning in this top.

  • Iliska Dreamswrote:

    Love the fabric! You done an amazing job!

  • Vanessa@Designs By Sessawrote:

    So chic!!! Love it!!!

  • Simple Simon and Companywrote:

    Totally loved reading how you constructed this blouse. Which I would totally buy by the way…love the style color and print!!!) You are awesome!

  • becstitcheswrote:

    Very cute! love it, voted for ya.. good luck x

  • feelincraftywrote:

    Looks beautiful! I love the fabrics you used! Amazingly detailed! And you are beautiful!

  • Kellywrote:

    Beautiful! Every detail on this shirt is just perfect.

  • Nancywrote:

    So much work put into this shirt and it looks amazing on you (I voted for you too, twice actually;))!

  • Inna Swrote:

    You have my vote! Very unique and unusual design!

  • schmidtenwrote:

    This blouse is stunning…the design, the print and how well it is executed…I wish one day I can sew at this level of perfection too …

  • Neuswrote:

    Voted!! What a lovely blouuse, and what a brave girl! It’s great all this mix of patterns! I’m sure that you’re going to wear it a lot!

  • Madalynnewrote:

    You should definitely be proud! You’re into colorblocking right now and I’m into conversational print. This fabric is amazing! I think I could use it as the lining of one of my bras.

    Your execution is on par too. You go girl!

  • Cailawrote:

    Well, wow! It’s gorgeous and so are you! This is something I would die over in the store.

  • Sabrawrote:

    The design that went into this top is awesome. I love that you totally reinvented the button-down. I mean really, triangle back? Yes, please!

  • Reana Louisewrote:

    OH. MY. GOD. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. /most useless comment ever

  • Rosalindwrote:

    yeow, voted! Great job – your armpits appreciate the french seams, I know they do.

  • Amberwrote:

    Amazing! I love hearing about all the planning, designing and finessing that went into this project. Well done! 🙂

  • gingermakeswrote:

    I LOVE this! It’s FANTASTIC. Like, I want this exact same shirt RIGHT NOW. Well done, girl!

  • thimbleandcork.comwrote:

    Holy guacamole I NEEEEED this top. It’s gorgeous! So interesting! I love love love it.

  • Helenwrote:

    Wow! This is stunning! I love the fabric and what you’ve done with it! Such a beautiful blouse. Great job! I’ reading this too late to vote though, sorry!

  • zosews.comwrote:

    Damn! Everything you make is ridiculously fabulous. Including this shirt. I can’t believe you pulled off the whole thing in a week!!!

  • Laurawrote:

    This is amazing! I have admired that fabric on Spoonflower for a long time and I love how you’ve combined it with a solid. Makes it go a bit further and gives it such a unique look as well. Can’t wait to see next week’s look!

  • Raewrote:

    you are amazing!! love it

  • Lydia Meiyingwrote:

    I love seeing my patterns on projects like this!

  • Quinnwrote:

    I’m still making my way through your blog, and though I really and truly love almost every single piece you make, I just had to comment on this one. I would wear this so hard! It is beautiful; impeccable even. That deer pattern is something I’d be scared of and I’d say there is no way I could make it look anything other than silly, but you command such a knowledge of how to use pattern. I want that shirt so badly! Any chance you’ve drafted a whole pattern out of your pieced together patterns that you’d be willing to sell me?

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