I love remaking patterns and I have numerous versions of my favorites. The moment I saw the theme for the final IPM2015 contest, ‘One pattern, two takes’, I knew exactly which pattern it was going to be. I’ve been dying to make it for ages, but could never decide which version I wanted. So now I’ll have them both!
Pattern: Deer and Doe’s Datura Blouse. The first version I made was with the Peter Pan collar, and the second version was with the triangle cut-out neck.
Fabric: Both are very light weight cotton. The version with the Peter Pan collar is a plain black. While that might sound boring, I’ve been trying really hard to increase the number of simple block color tops I have. And if I am honest, it feels so chic and sophisticated, the simplicity of the black with the cut and Peter Pan collar. I think I need to move to Paris now and drink wine at lunch.
The version with the triangles is a right old contrast to that, I immediately wanted to used this printed lawn I’ve had in my stash since the Knitting and Stiching show as I thought it was the perfect, subtle match to the neck line. I took so much care cutting it out, to ensure the print was perfectly centered and I was able to pattern match. This took a lot of time and hurt my brain. But the results are worth it I think.
The Directions: I had been a bit daunted by the pattern as reviews are extremely varied, which may have been one of the reasons its taken me so long to get around to making it. For the most part I found the instructions clear and easy to follow. However on my first go the directions for stitching the shoulder edges left me perplexed indeed. However I found a great photo tutorial on The Drapery which I felt showed a step that wasn’t quite clear in the Datura instructions. Now I love the technique and think the finished results look so professional. The rest of the instructions were clear and straight forward. Even on the triangle cut out neck line, I found the instructions easy to follow.
Finishing my seams: As most of the seams were hidden in the lining, the only seams I needed to finish were the side seams. Having spent so much effort, especially on the shoulder seams to ensure everything was smooth and nicely hidden, it seemed criminal not to use French seams on the side – so that’s exactly what I did. Now my ‘insides’ are quite clean!
Alterations: I made the whole top in size 38 (despite my waist measurements aligning with a 39) as looking at pictures of peoples’ finished versions, I decided it was quite roomy. I think it was the right decision as the hang and fit of the top is just right. As the buttons were not functional, that I wasn’t going to be making any unnecessary button holes. On the black version I used four buttons (as I had four in my stash) and on the printed version I used three. I love the button detail on both. You can quite see it in the pictures, but the buttons on the black version have mirrors in the design.
I also gave myself extra room on the hem as I prefer my tops a bit longer and instead of using the bias binding around the bottom I just did a normal hem. However as it is quite curved I sewed to rows of stitching which I used as my fold lines, which helped reduce the puckering. I love the shape of the hem and how it falls.
My first version, black with a Peter Pan collar, didn’t require any bias binding (as I committed it from the hem). For the second version, with triangles, I used Colette’s tutorial for making continuous binding as I felt it wasted less fabric than the technique suggested in the pattern.
Total sewing time: I had initially been quite worried about getting these two finished in time for the competition. Although we were allowed to start sewing in May, I had spent most of the month out of the country for work, so have been sewing each entry in the week of the specific theme. Plus I then went away for four days this last week again for work (saying I have to sew doesn’t seem to fly as an excuse for getting our of work trips I’ve found). But these beauties came together so quickly.
My first Datura (the black one with Peter Pan collar) took 4 1/2 hours. The second one (with triangles) took 5 1/2. While I didnt spend so much time trying to work out connecting the sleeves, attaching the bias binding around the neck was quite time consuming. I think next time I’ll make the bias binding on the neck a bit tighter across the triangles and sew it by hand instead of top stiching.
I’ll be sure to make this several more times and figure it will be a great way to use of my scrap pieces of fabric by mixing and matching!
As usual there are more photos on my blog Thimble & Threads.