The Orla Blouse

Bonjour!  This week is the Orla blouse from Tilly and the Buttons. 

Last weekend, my friend from undergrad came to visit — she’s been a photographer for a while and is currently taking a documentary photography course to learn some extra skills etc.  When she was visiting, she took some photos of me in full-blown dressmaking mode.  Of course, her being there put me into full-blown dressmaking mode and kicked my butt into high gear — I finally got up the courage to make a blouse that I’d been putting off sewing due to the higher difficulty of it.  And while it was difficult, it wasn’t as difficult as I had expected it to be. 

I was wary about the collar, since I’ve never before worn a Peter Pan collar in my entire life.  But I went with it anyways!  While I wasn’t a fan of it at first, it definitely grew on me the more I wore the shirt around the house.  

I made the sleeved MUCH shorter than in the pattern (the pattern had the sleeves at a minimum of elbow-length sleeves). Actually, after these pictures were taken, I shortened the sleeves another 2 inches or so to a near-cap sleeve length.  With the stiffness of the fabric (despite how thin it is it’s actually a little stiffer than I would have liked) the pleat in the sleeves made them puff up quite a bit. 


Another problem I had was my own fault.  I didn’t realize the shirt was supposed to be a tunic-type blouse — When I make something that goes over both my top and hips, I span 2-3 sizes.  When I cut out this shirt, I only cut it out in the smaller size, so when I tried it on in the middle of my sewing session, I couldn’t get the shirt down over my hips to where it was supposed to be.  So instead of a tunic, I cropped the hem until I had a normal-length blouse to work with, and then did a normal fold hem instead of the special hem that came as part of the pattern.  I also tailored the waist in farther since there was no flare to the shirt without the rest of the hips for the not-a-tunic.

Sometimes I think I sew much better when I’m terrified of what I’m sewing.  In this instance, I had never sewn an exposed zip before.  Even more daunting was the fact that the zip is in a contrast color, and therefore any mistake you make or crooked seam you sew is just that much more obvious.  I probably spent a whole hour folding, ironing, pinning, unpinning, pinning again, and finally sewing the zipper on.  And to my delight, I didn’t mess up the zipper!  Hooray!

This project was definitely a test in my ability to tailor clothing to myself when the fabric isn’t stretchy enough to form to my body by itself, and while this fabric has a great bias stretch, it’s completely not stretchy with the grain, so there was definitely more tailoring involved than needed with something like the Agnes or Coco patterns.

Well I’ve still got plenty of patterns left to tackle!  The next one will most likely be the new Dominique skirt (the straight one) — I’ve got a great olive green twill and some brown buttons to decorate the front.  After that, it will be the Mathilde blouse, a Francoise dress, and a Martha dress. 


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