Hello my friends! It’s been awhile. No long apologies or anything like that—I don’t blog as much as I used to. Sometimes it comes in fits and spurts and then sometimes I just can’t be bothered to take umpteen photos and cull them and whatnot. Please don’t tell me you’re disappointed I didn’t ever blog about this topic or you wish I posted more or why don’t I do tutorials or or or, etc. Yes, people do that. Do not put that pressure or those demands on someone for their free time and work. At the end of the day I’d rather be making something, and I’ve always made it very clear this isn’t my job and I don’t make a bean from it. I do it when it’s fun and I feel like it. Which isn’t usually often. So now that I’ve suitably lowered your expectations… 😉
I actually got some photos taken so it’s time to start showing off a few projects. Huzzah! While I did sew a lovely thick wool bouclé pencil skirt as my latest Mood Sewing Network project, I’m completely seasonally inappropriate here today, sewing for warmer months while it’s winter. I do have a vacation coming next month but even if none of these things end up accompanying me, it’s a good excuse for out of season sewing, right?!
I finally, finally, FINALLY sewed a version (two—meaning another blog post soon!) of the Charm Patterns Rita blouse. I started on a muslin of it eons ago but somehow got distracted. No idea what changes I wanted to make all those months later (if any), so I finally just dove in. And boy am I tickled. Given a lot of recent discussions in the sewing community about the long overdue need for more inclusive sizing for plus size sewists (who are more the norm, especially in the U.S., than those of us who don’t ever have to think “will I fit in this size range?”—see this post from Cashmerette), I really hope Charm Patterns will consider expanding their sizing. Thankfully, many indie designers are re-assessing their plans and goals to serve more people. I hope Charm Patterns does too.
I live in blouses like this in the summer. I wear and try out different blouse styles, but I always come back to this. It’s the one reliable style that’s comfortable, I love the way it looks, and seems to go with so much of my wardrobe. So I wear a preponderance of peasant blouses in warm months.
My first foray into attempting to find ones I liked RTW several years ago were the ones from Pinup Girl, but those are quite low cut in comparison and I just could never get over how ridiculously puffy the upper back (the gathered part) was. I then found the Rosarito peasant blouse A Classic Paradise sells and bonus, that has a comfy shirred lower back. I like those a lot and wear them frequently. (I think another retro shop sells them but I’m spacing who, so not sure where I actually got them from at this point.)
But you know me, I still wanted to make my own! And I wasn’t ever happy with any peasant blouse I tried to make before. So the Rita blouse pattern was my ticket. I was thrilled when the pattern was released.
I sewed it up according to my measurements on the envelope (thank you for finished measurements), even though the cup size I sewed doesn’t correspond with my actual bra size. I appreciate when patterns have cup sizes, but unless they tell you the finished measurements, it can be useless due to sister sizing of cups/bands. I wear a D but if my torso was wider I’d end up a band size up and a cup size down. So in this pattern, I went with a C cup because the measurements were listed, so I could make a more educated assessment of size.
The fabric is Robert Kaufman Carolina Gingham in the 1/8″ check. It’s just perfect for this and I think I may need to snap it up in all sorts of other gingham colors. If only they had this exact base fabric for solids! Sigh. I’m never really happy with my seemingly endless quest for non-sheer, blouse-appropriate solid cottons. But I’m totally going to wear this like a solid.
I made no alterations to the pattern other than swapping out the invisible side zipper for a lapped side zipper. Yeah, it’s a little more bulky, so sometimes it does that little bunchy zipper thing above your waistband (if you wear things tucked in and especially if you have a short upper torso). But honestly, I only care about that when I’m trying to take a blog photo or something and that’s not real life. In real life I wear it and don’t think about it.
And take a look at the back, no puffiness here!
The only thing I’m still fussing with is the ease through the body. The pattern calls for about 2″ positive ease, which is about what I have, but particularly because I have the aforementioned short upper torso (meaning not a whole lot of room between my boobs and waist), blouses tend to wrinkle up a lot there for me (same deal with the zipper as I mentioned).
Sometimes less ease helps this, sometimes it doesn’t. Here, I have some basting stitches in the princess seams taking it in at least 1.5″ and I think I may go back and make those stitches permanent. It’s also kind of one of those things that never looks perfect and you just have to live with it. I commiserated with several fellow short-torsoed folks on Instagram about this, when I was sharing this in my stories. I’m not a vintage model, I’m not taking a deep breath before every photo nor standing stock still in the perfect pose that lengthens my whole torso and make it look like a perfect fit… again, real life folks. It’s a blouse, it fits well, and I’m super happy with it. Maybe someday I’ll hack the pattern to have a shirred back but… gah, I hate doing shirring.
The skirt I’m wearing it with is actually one I sewed last summer, using a gorgeous vintage barkcloth. I managed to have juuuuuuuuust enough for a full circle skirt and I love it. I made it at the end of summer and I haven’t even had a chance to wear it out yet! At least, not that I recall. Summer was awhile ago! Though I’m looking forward to wearing this exact outfit once it warms up. Eventually. Someday. Months from now.
Overall, I’m really very pleased with the pattern and the blouse, and I can’t wait to make more. This was one of my biggest sewing pattern wardrobe gaps, and it’s great to have that filled!
A flutter sleeve variation in rayon challis was my second version, which you’ll hopefully be seeing soon as I already took those photos. 😉
Rita blouse – made by me
vintage barkcloth skirt – made by me
Bakelite earrings and bangles – misc.
vintage plastc necklace – a gift
shoes – Rothys