Monday 7 May 2018

Gertie's Rita Blouse- Version One

I eventually plucked up the courage to purchase the pattern, after seeing the finished tops on a friends blog.  I have wanted to make this pattern for a long time, but I never thought my skill set would allow me to complete it.  It did, however, take me a whole month to talk myself into starting said pattern (I printed it in draft mode, to save ink, and then cut the pattern out and then paper clipped it together and left it lying) it then took more weeks of umming and ahhing about the best fabric. In the end, I decided on a beautiful red (my favourite colour) cotton poplin; fabric that I had received in my Sew Hayley Jane subscription box, last year. I then grabbed the pattern and the fabric and set about laying out and pinning the pieces in readiness of cutting it out. Then a funny thing happened as I was laying out the pieces I noticed that number 2 of 7 was missing, I was positive I had printed the pieces, as I had highlighted not only the written instructions but the pattern pieces too (the pattern comes in different dress and bust sizes, but not all the files need to be printed off). Do you believe in fate? Because I do! I noticed as I was scrolling through the files to print my missing piece, that the three parts I had already pinned to the fabric were facing the wrong way, the pattern required the pieces to be placed face down. Imagine if I’d not noticed and just cut all the pieces out. The only saving grace in this scenario is, I had tonnes of fabric left over after cutting out, so, the three pieces could have been cut out again. 

Anyway, let’s look at the construction of the piece; there are six bodice pieces; three panels each for front and back, a bust and back piece and two sleeves. The construction of the bodice advised using princess seams (a technique I’d never used before) you can see it being used here. The pattern also stated an overlocker was also adequate, this is the technique I used. I was curious about the princess seams though,  hence the link to the video. The princess seam or overlocker seam stabilises the fabric and allows the material to be manipulated into more of a curve or fuller piece. Without being stabilised the fabric would essentially go baggy. Think of the curves of a woman's lower half, and how the waist skims out as you move down the body to the hip. This is principally the shape we are making with the pattern. Isn't that so cool! I have to admit when I first looked at the pattern I thought 'why does it need so many pieces?' Now I know. I'm learning something new every day.

The bust and back construction used a technique that I had used before on my gypsy swing top; the two lines of machine running stitch to achieve gathering. This was super easy. I then jumped in to do the zip. This initially took a lot of head scratching until I realised I was trying to put the zip in the wrong way.  I also couldn't find my invisible zip foot and when I did find it, it didn't fit my Janome*, even though it's meant to be universal.  I ended up using a regular zip foot and ripping out the stitching two or three times, as it wasn't close enough to the teeth. I got there in the end.

Then I jumped straight into the sleeves. Relatively easy fitting them in, and then the fun part; threading the elastic. I was able to ruche the sleeves on my own, but Paul helped me with the neckline.

All in all a fantastic pattern, easy to follow, clear instructions and a beautiful end result.

*I also found out my Brother machine has a low shaft, while my Janome is a high shaft. The snap fitting is also a whole 1mm bigger, sigh, on the Janome, this is the reason the universal feet don't fit (sad face).

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