What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring (okay, here in Utah it’s really been spring since about February, but April is Officially Spring) than with fabric covered in flowers? Admittedly, this fabric is not your typical floral: it’s a fairly large print and completely lacks any pink or red at all. I simply can’t resist blue, that’s all; it’s an addiction. The pattern is Sewaholic’s Oakridge bow blouse, which is another garment to go in the “office wear” section of my closet, which is presently rather lacking. I’ve had a goal for a while now to sew more office-appropriate clothes, in anticipation of actually getting an office job. Piece by piece, I’m gathering a wardrobe! This blouse is meant to fill a more feminine space than my previous Granville button-downs.
The fabric is Fabric.com‘s Picasso rayon poplin. It has a lovely hand and drape. The combination of the drapey fabric and the loose cut of the blouse sometimes gives me the feeling of wearing pajamas, actually, which I suppose is a good sign that it’s comfortable! It’s also quite cool for a long-sleeved shirt, so it’s versatile enough to wear most seasons.
The construction on this… well, it had its ups and downs. This was a project that could have been so much better if I’d just paid more attention, but I didn’t and it shows in ways I wish it didn’t. To start with, in my efforts to get optimal print placement on the front (no giant boob-flowers!) I failed to consider how much fabric I actually had. I ended up piecing the bow ties because I didn’t have enough fabric to cut them correctly; my ties are 4 pieces instead of two. I also should have shortened the sleeve and moved the bust darts in the same way I did on my Granville shirts; the patterns were drafted from the same block, so I knew they needed the same adjustments. It’s just that when it came to cutting, I plain forgot.
I did remember to alter the cuff, which is good because I think the sleeves would have been completely falling off otherwise. My preferred cuff length doesn’t let the sleeve go over my hand. This meant I had to pleat in the extra sleeve width. I made the cuff narrower to compensate for the length of the sleeves, but next time when I remember to shorten the sleeves, I’ll use the full cuff width.
The fabric is pretty shifty, which is normal for something with this kind of drape. I hemmed it using a self-fabric bias facing instead of turning-twice-and-stitching; in my experience the facing is a little easier to keep under control and prevent the hem from twisting. I french-seamed some of the insides, when I remembered (I was really scatterbrained during this project!) and serged the seam allowances when I didn’t. Instead of buttons, I added pearl snaps. I might go back and add more; I think I spaced them too widely for this fabric (4″ is my standard for button-downs, but the drape on this allows the front to gape open more easily.) The pearl snaps look nice against the fabric, and they’re more fun than buttons to do up.
I think I have to make this pattern at least once more, if only to correct my mistakes on this one. I may change the neckline a bit next time, though… this is definitely a gaper. Don’t bend over too far. The weight of the bow really pulls the shirt down, so I think this might do better with a higher neckline—possibly a mandarin-collar with ties. It would also be interesting to test this with a fabric with more body—I think one could get fairly creative with the neckline and ties.
My next work in progress really doesn’t count as “office wear” and it’s pretty intensive… I’ll be hard at work for the next couple of weeks!