Sewing can provide a lot of satisfaction. Sometimes, it can also provide ample humor though too.
Such was the case of the brown fabric with white dots and the pattern for a peasant blouse I bought. I used it for sewing up the muslin of the pattern.
Now keep in mind, I hadn’t bought the brown cotton fabric with the white dots because it was totally awesome and had great feel, which is why I like to buy fabric.
I bought it because it was dirt cheap, and a great fabric for sewing a “muslin” out of.
So what is making a muslin? It’s a test garment, usually made from throwaway fabric, although sometimes it is made up to be a wearable muslin as well. It’s always cheap fabric. Ideally, it has the same general characteristics of weight and drape as the fabric intended in the final fabric, so if you are sewing a knit top, you would use a cheap knit to double check the fitting and make adjustments prior to cutting out and assembling the fabric. Making a muslin is the time to make any alterations to the pattern, as well as to learn any new techniques used in sewing the pattern.
I live in the South, and I like both sewing and wearing cotton and other woven fabrics that tend to be cool and lightweight. I’m also menopausal and deal with chronic pain, so the key here is cool and lightweight!
I had chosen the peasant blouse pattern from Hot Patterns because it looked like it would be both easy sewing and easy to wear. I had hoped that it would also be easy to modify into a blouse with short, loose sleeves for summer wear.
So, I whipped out my $1 a yard cotton weave fabric and started sewing that pattern.
Oh, is it hideous!
The measurements on the package are slightly off—I should have made a paper version first to check general fit. So, the blouse that made me feel like I was sewing a tent really isn’t that far off from tent-like proportions. I’m already plus sized, so I sure was surprised that it was TOO big.
It’s also on the short side. I’m not afflicted with a very long torso, but I am on the long side of “normal”, at least according to clothing manufacturers. This is more noticeable since I have gained weight and joined the plus crowd too. Apparently, you are supposed to have a shorter torso when you are wider of girth. To hit my ideal length, I’d need to add 3-6”, which is a substantial alteration in length for a blouse.
At least I can get the extra from the width, in this case.
Then, there is the narrow collar. I’m not too crazy about how that looks after sewing it in. It uses a different-than-the-usual construction method of sewing the raglan sleeves, front, back and collar and the end result seems…messy? That method would work better with lighter fabrics with more drape, but this cheap cotton fabric has too much body, resulting in an odd effect at the neckline after sewing it.
It was so awful when it was done that my husband didn’t expect me to finish it off by sewing in the collar and cuffs. Believe me when I say that if my husband thought I was sewing something hideous, it’s got to be pretty awful. He has zero fashion sense, for me or anyone else, himself included. He will wear things made out of fabrics that make this brown fabric with white dots look like designer stuff.
I joked about it with my daughter on our phone conversations. I said I was sewing my personal tent. Then, when I was there, I brought it along for her to inspect as well. She agreed that it was hideous, but questioned my decision to keep it as a work shirt for cool weather and camping. She actually thought it was too awful even for gardening or the woods!
We then played a horrible trick on my poor son-in-law. We told him I had been sewing him an “old fashioned” shirt, especially for him. We then got him to put it on and model it for the camera. He had to be “nice” about something someone had been sewing just for him, right?
Yeah, I know…pretty awful, huh? I was impressed, he never commented on its hideous nature, and I know he was thinking it—even if he hid it very well!
Here’s the photographic evidence that I speak the truth, both of sewing the blouse and conning a poor innocent son-in-law into modeling it.
Now keep in mind, I’m no fashion guru. My biggest criteria for clothing is that it is comfortable to wear followed by easy-to-put-on. I think that this shirt, after washing out the sizing and making it nice and limp, will likely qualify. It will still be hideous though.
I don’t care what my clothes look like, in general. I’m not trying to make a fashion statement in my every day attire. I do care how I feel when I am wearing something though. This isn’t feel-good fabric, even if you are inside of it instead of looking at it from the outside. It’s hideous from inside of it too.
I’m disappointed in the results, and I’m not sure yet whether I’m going to be sewing this blouse up again. It was easy to follow by using the combined directions with the YouTube videos showing how to assemble and sew it. I’m also uncertain about using video tutorials for sewing directions. I’m kind of old fashioned, and really like diagrams and written directions for sewing too. Still, after having spent uncounted hours puzzling over a set of directions with diagrams for sewing a pattern, the video tutorials are a nice addition, even if cumbersome to watch. I mean seriously, who has a computer alongside their sewing machine? I may be among one of the first who wants it all lined up together!
P.S. Remember that the blog is moving to www.exogenynetwork.com at the end of the month!