My first real experience sewing was as a quilter and I think that the quilter in me informs my garment sewing. I love finding a way to use a scrap of pretty fabric or combine quirky patterns to make a straightforward pattern more interesting. I am happy to piece together scraps to make new fabric to then cut out the shape with the extra seam adding to the design. I am happy when faced with a challenge of not having enough fabric for a particular design and having to innovate-usually!
I decided to make a second sleeveless Beatrix in order to try the fit of the Beatrix using real, i.e. non-previous shirt, material to test the fit before cutting into the garment fabric that I bought for my #beatrixalong blouse with sleeves. After making the first blouse, I noticed that the neck gaped a bit. I played around with pinching a bit of the front bodice fabric in front of a mirror in order to figure out how much to adjust the pattern and I noticed that the drape of the fabric changed for the better with that minor tweak. I tried sewing a tiny pleat into the neckline-which was already finished but I just hand-sewed a few basting stitches-and I really liked the way the front of the blouse looked with the tuck so I wanted to try it out again in a planned way. I also wanted to try sewing the neckline facings instead of using bias binding. So I found some leftover lotus pond fabric and I planned a second blouse incorporating some of these changes.
I realized after sewing the first blouse that I had no problem putting it on with the buttons buttoned so I thought it would be fun to try it with a one-piece back bodice-partly because I only had three matching buttons of the type I wanted to use and partly because I didn’t have enough of the main fabric to cut out the front and back pieces of the shirt in one piece and I didn’t think that the snail fabric would be as forgiving as the tiny stripes in terms of hiding my extra seams from piecing.
I cut the front of the blouse out of the main fabric and used a scrap of light blue chambray that had previously found its way into two ruby dresses for the back one-piece bodice. I measured the finished back width of my previous shirt and added seam allowances. Since the chambray was potentially more stretchy than the quilting cotton, I had the idea to line the back one-piece bodice with a scrap of orange water lily fabric also from Rae’s Lotus Pond collection. I didn’t have a big enough piece to cut on the grainline so I shifted it 90 degrees and the flowers flow sideways which worked fine. I cut the front facing from the same orange fabric. For the button placket, I used some turquoise bubble fabric left over another project. I finished the arm holes with bias tape.
In the spirit of not spending money and using what you have, I found three buttons-one turquoise and two green-in a button jar I was given by my daughter. While the green doesn’t exactly match, it makes the top a little more quirky which I like.
The top is all done except for the hem and I am very happy with the fit and how it turned out. There are two things I would change next time though. One is that I would make the back one piece bodice a little shorter and the button placket a bit longer. The second is that I would loosen the front tuck a bit. I noticed as I wore the first Beatrix that the basting stitches I put in to test the size of the tuck had loosened and I was happier with the looser tuck and the way the fabric draped when the tuck loosened so I plan to try it out on my next project which is my #beatrixalong blouse-to be made all from the same fabric and with three quarter length sleeves. I also may adjust the back, armholes and sides a bit to make them more snug the next time I make a sleeveless version. I did that without planning to when I made the first blouse from my husband’s shirt because I had to scrimp on fabric since I didn’t really have enough but oddly, the fit turned out better.
I am also planning to try the reverse-a beatrix with a button placket on top and a flowy one piece bottom piece. I think that’s a natural and a good idea for when you only have two matching buttons! There are also going to be many more upcycled shirts using those great former banker shirts in my husband’s closet. #wastenotwantnot!
I find that I sew the way I cook. I read the instructions but I make little changes along the way, sometimes without realizing what I did. Hopefully blogging will make it easier to re-create my happy mistakes!