It's been a gradual project that I've taken my time with (a novel concept, for me). Well, I sort of finished it the other night, and I'm quite disappointed.
NOTE: This is the true colour of the shirt. Because of lighting issues and some adjusting, the colour in the pictures range all over the place.
You might notice the lack of buttons on the front. That's because I can't be bothered to put the time and trouble into making them right now. Once I had the entire thing together, I tried it on and discovered a few things:
1) The sleeves are too long!
I'm pretty certain I don't have stubby arms (chubby, maybe, but they're not short), so I don't get why these supposedly 3/4 length sleeves are actually about 1.5 inches short of being full length. There is a tab sewn on the inside of the sleeve (not shown) that allows you to roll up the sleeves, but I'm sort of disappointed in this. If I were to make this blouse again (questionable, right now), then I'd definitely shorten the sleeve about 2 inches.
2) Uh...Hello there belly, you're not supposed to be showing:
Yeah, I'm not a fan. This may be the biggest deal breaker for me. Maybe having a touch of belly showing might be appropriate if I were 18, but at 30, I'm just not crazy about this. And those pants are about 1 inch below my belly button, too. I guess I could wear a cami underneath, but the whole point to this project was to make a light, airy blouse for summer. I don't want to wear a hot cami underneath! Granted, when the belt is tied up at the front, you can't see it, but that's not the point.
3) Speaking of the belly area, the 'v' shaping at the bottom is really unflattering!
I've tried this top with various jeans and skirts, and I can't find any combination that makes that front inverted 'v' look flattering. It looks like my hips were too big to keep the front at the bottom closed! Maybe I'm being overly critical, but it reminds me of too many tops that don't account for hips on a woman, and pull open as a result (sorry for the not-helpful picture). I think this part is a miss for anyone who is a little more curvy than average on the bottom.
4) Major fabric pooling at the upper back region
The collar looks weirdly high here, but that's because I've pulled down on the front a bit. Usually the collar sits a bit lower on my neck.There are 4 vertical darts in the back, and they cause some fabric pooling across the upper back. If I pull the front of the top down a lot, it sort of goes away, but not completely, and then the front of the shirt hangs weird. Maybe the darts need to be extended upwards, or maybe even let out a little bit? No idea.
It's really hard to take a picture of your own back.
5) Slightly too small
Okay, so I admit, I've put on a bit of weight the last couple weeks (I blame thesis stress), so the whole thing is a little snug. That's my own fault, and maybe I'll dislike this less when (yes when!) I shed a few pounds again. I cut a size 16 according to my measurements (at the time), and it seemed to hold true to size. I'm...just not the same size anymore. Ooops!
Despite all this, there are things I do love about this shirt. I adore this fabric. It's a lovely turquoise swiss dot with an interesting texture to the fabric. The neckline is just lovely, and I'm pleased not to have major cleave problems. It screams for a pretty pendant or something, eh? Maybe a lacy necklace like this one by Disney at Ruffles and Stuff.
I'm not normally this red, at least not before summer time and the sun and I have battled it out (I usually lose).
I'm also kind of stupidly proud of these cuffs. Even without interfacing to stiffen them up, they turned out really lovely. Look at that placket! (Please excuse the different buttons. I was trying out different button styles. If I ever finish this, I'll be using the white glass ones shown here.)
I finished all inside seams except for the dart at the top of the sleeve at the shoulder. Everything was done by french seams, including where the raglan arm attached to the bodice. French seams are remarkably easy to do and looks quite nice. Especially if you use matching thread (which I only did for half the project because I was too lazy to go buy turquoise thread).
French seams everywhere! Note how I (totally unintentionally) arranged it so that the side seam and sleeve seam flipped on opposite sites to reduce bulk? I need to remember that for next time. Also note the ugly contrasting white thread? Ooops.
A heads up, though. If you're not a fan of handsewing, you're going to hate this. You're supposed to slipstitch the front facings and the collar down. I actually enjoy it, and worked on it while watching a tv show (or two).
Look at all those darts! Eight vertical darts in all! Here's a tutorial for lining up the seam lines.While I found the instructions to be decent, overall, the collar was a bit of a headache. All I can say is make sure you draw on and line up the markings perfectly. Mine went on alright (after a small but curse-filled battle), but there's some mistakes. Like a seam showing on the collar below (that, while visible, thankfully blends in).
My dear lovely readers, I'm walking away from this blouse. For now, anyways. Maybe I'll come back to it later on and shorten the sleeves, add buttonholes and buttons (I have the buttons already in a baggy and pinned to the shirt - yay organization!), and play around with the back darts.
For now, I'm moving on to a couple, much more simple projects. Keep an eye out for more summery garments!
Happy sewing all!