It’s funny how habits can change. While I’ve been learning to sew wearable garments, my purchasing habits in terms of ready to wear clothing has shifted too. My weight has changed a lot over time, which often resulted in a lot of wardrobe changes. In the beginning I stuck to cheap, fast-fashion options because that was all my budget could allow. But I often hated the fabric, and was disappointed with how quick things were to stretch, wear out or break. I started visiting op-shops more often, often finding some quite wonderful pieces.
But as part of this shift towards op-shopping also came a shift in how I wanted my sewing to be. I wanted to move to second-hand patterns where I could, because sometimes I found fascinating treasures in them – like custom sized bodice pieces cut on old newspapers, or lovely little notes. And it also gave me a sense of connection to purchase a pattern direct from someone’s own beloved stash. I have one particular shop I go to and investigate thoroughly every few months, and that was where I picked up this pattern. I had found a tie-front top which gave me glorious 50’s vibes at a local op-shop and all of a sudden I was a tie-front top fan! I saw that this blouse had a sleeveless, tie-front option and that it had my size! View D, size 14 it was.
I cut it out of this dark blue fabric I purchased at an op-shop near a friend’s place, and paired it with these cute as 20c buttons (also second-hand!). I was startled at how simple the construction was. The front facings are actually made by folding the front sections over twice, a method I love because it allows for thickness, stability and completely enclosed ends to prevent fraying. This was also my first time dealing with a collar band, and I am a complete convert. I don’t have a lot of experience with collars but I have often found them a bit tricky. Using a collar band made attaching the collar an absolute breeze!
However, I found the size 14 was far too big, and the design for the ties was not practical. I’m not actually sure how they were meant to tie up, given they weren’t really long enough for that to be possible. So I beseeched my mum, asking for her help in pinning and altering this top to fit me so it wouldn’t get put aside as a future fix-me-up that might never get sorted. At the time I was about a week away from going up to visit them, so the timing was perfect. Over the course of several days we pinned, unpicked and re-stitched. Mum helped by pinning enormous darts in the back and pinning the sides. I unpicked the armhole facings, tightened the armholes, and stitched it all in to make for a more snug fit. Then with her assistance in measuring and gauging drape whilst on me, I shortened the hem of the whole shirt by almost 2”.
I now have a perfectly wearable, very comfortable, button up blouse! It goes to show that it is very handy if you have someone else close by who can help you pin and take in. But it also convinced me that my next savings goal in terms of sewing supplies should be to put aside cash for an adjustable mannequin. I’d love to have one set to my measurements which I can pin prospective patterns to in order to gauge fit more accurately. For this pattern, and many others, I did try it on several times throughout the process. But it was very hard to see how it would hang until I was at the stage of adding buttons. And even then I thought I might like simply wearing it out. It was only once the buttons were attached I realised all I wanted to do was tuck it in!
Pattern: Simplicity 9014
Views Made: View D
Pros: Very easy to put together, collar band makes collar construction very easy, instructions were very clear.
Cons: Ties are not really long enough to allow for proper tie-front action.
Would I recommend it for beginners: I would recommend it to beginners, because it’s a very straightforward thing to make and the collar band simplifies collar construction.
Would I sew it again: I wouldn’t, if only because I am happy having only one in this style.