Around this time I would watch Lauren read blogs, but I had absolutely no idea what a blog was. I too eventually started reading blogs, mainly sewing-related ones. I thought that it was amazing that people sewed most of their and their kids' clothing for fun. My mom would sew our Halloween costumes, but our everyday clothes were ready-to-wear. I was impressed and wanted to sew more. I talked to Lauren about this idea and she too took more of an interest in sewing. Her sewing machine was inoperable, so that meant that we would need to use mine. Not an issue, I just didn't know how to use it. Of course Lauren figured it out pretty quickly and then taught me how to use my own machine.
"Pretty Blouse" on Sew Mama Sew and immediately knew that's where I wanted to begin. Thanks to my stubbornness, I had to start the project right then. I didn't want to spend time shopping for fabric; I just wanted to start. Luckily Lauren had a bin full of fabric and she let me use whatever I wanted. I didn't know the difference between fibers and picked fabric based on the print alone. Lauren warned me of the consequences, but I didn't want to pre-wash or iron my fabric; I was ready to start cutting. She told me I should at least wait until we went to her house so I could use the cutting mat and rotary cutter. But since my mom never used those items, I didn't think I needed to either. I just started. I sewed together the yoke and shoulder seams, but I became frustrated and stopped after that. For several years this project sat in my "unfinished bag".
paint chips, this unfinished blouse moved across the country with me. Once I was all settled in, I realized that if this project was worthy enough of being shipped across the United States, it had better get finished. I pulled out the unfinished top and the other untouched pieces and just stared at it. What was I thinking? It was so obvious this quilting cotton hadn't been washed and will most likely shrink. I couldn't even sew a straight line then; the seams were so uneven. The fabric was fraying because I didn't use sharp scissors. This Pretty Blouse wasn't going to turn out so pretty.
Thankfully I got frustrated and stopped sewing when I did. I decided that I needed to unpick everything I had managed to get my hands on, and just start over. Not only did my sewing skills improve in the past five years, but my measurements changed as well. I laid out all of the already cut pieces and cut them down to one size smaller. Even though I knew the fabric would end up shrinking once the finished garment was washed, there was a big difference in the bust measurement between the small and medium sizes. Because this top is only fitted at the bust and I had plenty of wiggle room even with the smaller size, I went ahead and chopped the pieces down. The edges were no longer frayed and I already felt so much better.
I used French seams throughout and like always, I think this made the finished piece look a thousand times better. The only real issue I had whilst sewing were the silly sleeves. Since I was using French seams, I knew I needed to first sew the sleeves to the bodice, wrong sides together. I knew that and I still messed up three times. That was not fun to seam rip, but it had to be done.
Once I set the sleeves correctly, the rest of the top was a breeze to finish. I ended up taking about five inches off of the length. I have a short torso for my height, and I think this top looks a lot better on me when it's shorter. All I had left to do were the neck binding and the hem, which I could've easily finished in less than a day. However, I procrastinated once again and let my unfinished garment stay incomplete for way too long. After being hung up all alone in the corner of my room for well over a month, I finally sat back down at my sewing machine to finish the blouse. My favorite little detail to add in handmade garments now is a cute little tag made from a piece of twill tape stamped with the correct size. I think the tag makes the piece feel more fun, but even more importantly I really appreciate the functionality of it. Now I no longer have to worry about recording which size I made for each handmade garment.