Finished Object: Annelise Blouse

(Worn with my favorite hemp skirt, the tiny girl gets so excited about photos)

Annelise first covered my back nearly two weeks ago, she’s the first thing I made in my fevered wardrobe-in-a-week sewing.  She traces her pedigree through Wearing History’s Smooth Sailing blouse married to an exotic Japanese double gauze cotton.  It’s actually two layers of thin fabric, pad-stitched together to make one breezy fabric substantial enough for a blouse or perhaps a dress.  We have various prints at work so I took it for a test drive.  I marveled at the doubled fabric and then promptly forgot about it.  Easy to sew.

(Don’t mind my face, I’m trying to explode a gecko using death rays from my eyes…)

I first made this from a man’s shirt.  It’s wearable, but doesn’t fit me well enough.  The fault was mine, I thought the pattern came from a modern block when it is from a vintage one.  Had I done the appropriate flat pattern measurements, I would have approached it differently.  After Lauren of Wearing History graciously answered some of my pattern questions (I adore the online sewing community!), I realized I should approach the shirt as I would a 30’s pattern.

That meant (for me) working from a 34″ high bust (I usually work from a 32″ to fit my back), altering the front for a full bust, playing with the armscythe/sleeves, and factoring in a little wearing ease.   Some reviewers have reported tightness through the arms, which I think is to be expected from a 30’s pattern.  In this case, I used Zemelda’s sleeves (because I know they fit well) and altered the armscythe on the fly.

Due to the interesting nature of the fabric, I left out the interfacing.  It’s as cool and delicious as possible.  The stripes are slightly irregular and not precisely on grain.  That happens sometimes with printed stripes, rather easy to do if you think about it.  In this case, I chose to align my grainline with the stripe rather than worry too much about grain.  Dear little pockets.  I put my bus card in one of them today.  Talk about handy!

While a common cut for the era- late 30’s/early 40’s- this is my own first whack which I feel fits me properly.  I’m like Goldilocks- this one’s too big, that one’s too small, this pulls at the back.  It’s about getting the right amount of ease for my body and lack of girdle in order to achieve the “look.”  I bought a piece of Liberty cotton covered in a scrimshaw design of clipper ships to make this shirt ages ago, I finally feel confident cutting it.  I may even use huge era-appropriate buttons.

Part of the joy of blogging my sewing is turning the work inside out.  This is by far the cleanest, prettiest convertible collar I’ve ever sewn, thanks to Sherry’s Convertible Collar Tutorial.

I wore this all day running errands downtown and got a lot of looks.  To me, this feels like a really normal shirt, am I missing something?

Update on Trash Wars 2011: I applied for a mini-bin at the council today.  Thanks, Emmi.  My husband plays up being blokey through over the fence chatter to the man of the house next door, he says he’ll discuss composting.  I know it bugs Husband, too.  Between that and having a tiny bin the problem may well be nipped.


  1. I think you got a lot of looks because this shirt makes you feel good and when you feel good about yourself, you probably glow and send out happy vibes to everyone around you. I love this shirt on you, the colour with that skirt is perfect!

  2. Oh my gosh, it looks amazing!! The fabric looks so comfy! Love it with the longer sleeves. The stripes are too cute! Love!And many thanks again for the review! :D

  3. Good idea with a small bin, I was going to suggest putting it out as late as possible, but if your rubbish collection is at 6am like ours is, that might not be convenient…I love your blouse! Although it's authentic looking it doesn't overly scream vintage, so those funny looks must have been what SewSister said. Love those dinky bus pass pockets.Thanks for the mention, and I'm glad you liked the collar method – it's nice and tidy isn't it?

  4. Maybe you mentioned this before, but I guess I wasn't around to see it, but you got a hair cut! It looks really good, I like the length! Makes for great swishy-hair photos when spinning! :DI really like the (probably deceptive) simplicity of this blouse. It looks vintage, but also looks comfortable and wearable. Also, thanks for the link for the collar method. I'm bookmarking it for future reference when I next tackle a collar.

  5. Nice! I was going to work on this blouse next but was scared off by the pockets. You've definitely inspired me to work on it. :)

  6. The blouse looks gorgeous in that skirt, that's probably the cause of so many looks. The fabric is beautiful and the detail of the pockets gave the endpoint. Great!

  7. It's wonderful! I love it with your rust colored skirt. I was wondering about Sherry's tutorial. Is a convertible collar something different? I still have a bad taste in my mouth after my shirt dress. I've been avoiding collars altogether.

  8. Gorgeous shirt, and goes beautifully with the skirt (and cute daughter). I bought this same fabric – online – and isn't it a dream? I made a top too, which unfortunately turned out a wee bit tight across the shoulders if I want to actually move, but I wear it lots anyway because apart from that it's so lovely to wear.

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