My Hearts A Flutter

No not a spring time malady, but the new Pattern




by Louise Cutting.  Her latest, but I hear rumours she has more in the works.  I loved this shell as soon as I saw it.  I can see many possibilites for simple changes to keep it fresh, new and  different looking.   I’m sure that I will use this blouse over and over again.  Her Pure N Simple Shell

struck my imagination the same way.  I made the PNS 4 times last year alone including one variation as a long dress. I expect both of these to be classics in my wardrobe and closet for years. 


This MHAF pattern though has me capture not only for the shell but for the over blouse as well.  I started seeing the overblouse in mind.  I was seeing it in a specific fabric with a specific embroidery used tone on tone. 


I had already been considering fabrics for a summer 6 PAC.  A printed knit and a solid woven fabric happened to land on top of each other during a minor fabric reshuffle/reorg.  I might not have considered using the two together other than that moment when they landed together.  In a few days, I hung the 2 on seperate hangers in my closet and then began adding a few others for consideration.  I probably have 10-12 fabrics hanging together now.  I will not use them all, at least not all right now. 


My plan is to work on the Summer 6PAC which is a basic wardrobe for summer.  It will consist of a wrap (the overblouse), 2 tops, and 3 bottoms.  1 of the bottoms is done.  The TJ906 brown jeans-style pants completed a few weeks ago.  The other 2 bottoms need to be shorts.  Summer requires shorts.  My sewing plan is to complete the 6PAC basic wardrobe and then add lots of jeans and shorts.  Why? Well as I recall I have numerous tops that will be acceptable for summer.  They are still in storage and I will have to review them and be sure that they are still attractive.  Notice I said nothing about fit.  They fit last year.  Since last summer I gained 3 pounds and lost 9, net loss 6 pounds.  Until I’ve reached a 10 pounds loss, last year’s clothing will fit me.  Will I lose that much.  Yes, I certainly hope so.  I am trying.  But even if the blouses are a little large, most will still be wearable, at least initially.  On the other hand, or maybe at the other end, my bottoms didn’t fit last year and I’m sure they won’t fit this year.  Not even if I lose 20 more pounds.  Again, why?  Because in the last 9 months, I’ve discovered that I need a longer back crotch extension then most patterns and RTW provides.  Every pair of pants I tried on were sucked into the butt vortex.  Until I completed my JSM trousers, I had not a single pair of pants that fit to my satisfaction.  I have 3 pair of pants now that fit   and 3 patterns with which to create more.  I plan to replace all but the last 3 pairs of pants. 


But back to the lovely MHAF and the Summer 6PAC.  The overblouse kept appearing in my mind in this sheer:


I wish you could see the sheer stripe in person.  All is transparent, the lighter strip has 2 gold threads which add sparkle and shine but still are subtle, sophisticated and appropriate for many activities.  This will be my overblouse.  I belive this sheer stripe is nylon, but it stood up well to the high-medium heat and steam from my Rowenta.  As I considered using it as an overblouse I began to reconsider the embroidery.  Would an embroidery limit it’s use?  I wanted the overblouse to work with every other garment in this 6PAC both now and as a future colorway.  Much as I wanted the embroidery, I decided that it would be better to place embroidery somewhere else and keep this plain.  Let the gold threads be it’s embellishment.


The 2nd fabric shown at the bottom of the photo is a cotton/poly crepe.  I think more poly than cotton. It crawled away while cutting out requiring triming and re-aligning with the pattern multiple times.  It will be the first iteration of the shell.  Since I decided not to embroider the overblouse, and this was a plain fabric, I decided to embroider the shell.  It then took me a week just to narrow my choices.  I stitched out 3 different embroideries trying to decide which I liked best and which colors to use.  Surprisingly, some colors were just better, much better as constrast. 


So all is traced, altered and cut.  I did have to make my narrow shoulder adjustment.  The shell is embroidered and I’ve begun sewing the Overblouse.  I decided that this time I would do the sheer fabric justice.  I’ve used sheers in the past and have always been just slightly disappointed with my finishing.  This time I set the serger for a 3-thread rolled hem and planned to do all the sheer’s seams with that setting. 


However as I read the instructions and started putting the overblouse together, I really think Louise chose some finishes because they are design elements and embellishments in themselves.  I hesitate sometimes to not follow her directions. I did not use templates.  I am collecting Steam-ASeam and it’s equivalent in as many widths as come on the market.  Yes, yes you can find 1/4″ and 1/2″ nearly everywhere.  Clotilde sells a 3/16″  and Louise has a fabulous 3/8 ” width called Vilene.  I used the Vilene every place she said to use the 3/8″ template and I used 1/2″ SAS everywhere the directions called for a 1/2″ template.  Otherwise, this sheer and probably the crepe will too, crawl and slither away.  Press the vilene in place, then without removing the paper backing, fold the fabric the width of the tape, and press again.  This fabric was crease resistant, so I turned it over and pressed the other side as well.  Then remove the paper backing and finger press into place, and finally steam generously. The result is wherever the fabric was supposed to folded a specific amount, it is folded exactly the specified amount.  I did have one glitch.  The center fronts are to be folded and pressed into place; and then unfolded and the miters stitched into place.  After I’d glued the sheer  trying to unfold simply unravels.  What to do?  In the directions, after stitching the miter, you fold everthing back in place and then top stitch.  I skipped the unfolding, miter-stitching, and refolding; and just top stitched.  When I reached the miter, I pivoted my foot and stitched along the mited fold, catching the edge to keep it permanently in place.  Reaching the fabric edge, I rotate the fabric, stitched back in exactly the same topstitching along the miter, reached the end of the miter and pivoted to complete the topstitching on the remainder of the blouse front. 


Worked for me. Whew!  And then I did a faux pas with the iron, managing to spill some nasty looking water on my ironing board, which was of course immediately sucked up by the ironing board cover.  I sighed. Removed the cover and put in the wash, shut down the sewing for the day and watched TV. 


Stay tuned.  Hope to have more to share.


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