TIE BLOUSE: A SUMMER WARDROBE STAPLE

It’s really ridiculous, I have such a backlog of projects to blog about. Some of these go so far back I barely remember making them! And yet some of these have also been the clothes I have been wearing on a regular basis, and it’s such a pity they don’t get a mention here.

One of these project is this Tie Blouse, wonderfully photographed by my spectacular brother that day (6 months ago!) we went for the most hilarious fashion photoshoot in Brockwell Park. Brother – we need to do this again!

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I sewed up this blouse early last summer, shortly after the pattern it was made out of was released. The pattern is the Sew Over It Penny Dress, which last year was absolutely everywhere on social media. No wonder really, it’s a flattering dress with a subtle but unmistakable wink at 1950s fashion and yet perfectly wearable as part of a fully modern style. With the #soipennydress hashtag totally a whopping 1003 photos to this day,  do yourself a favour and have a google around for this dress as there are some really lovely versions around.

I immediately fell in love for the hacked version advertised shortly after the release of the dress pattern, of which you can find an in-depth tutorial here. It’s a very straightforward pattern hack that anyone can attempt, especially if you have been tickled before with the urge to go beyond the pattern envelop styling suggestions and dive deep into the blueprint of a pattern.

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Aside from adding the ties, the process is very much the same as shown in the pattern instructions. There are a few well-thought details that will add some interest in this otherwise super straightforward shirt, like the front gathers os the narrow button band.

I really, really wanted to make this is a broderie anglaise, a fabric I have had a fascination for since I was a little girl. In the one I was so lucky to get (I remember it being the last metre on the bolt or thereabouts) the white on white embroidery reveals floral geometric patterns. I love how this is not too far from ditsy flowery pattern classic of this kind of fabric, and yet so very different.

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I have probably worn this shirt every week both this and last summer an dI’ve found useful to reflect on what has made it such a successful garment.

  1. The colour. As usual, it’s undeniable that a colour that flatter us and fits with many other pieces in our wardrobe will see lots of wear. I know this pure white is one of my best friends and now most of my shirts tend to be this colour. This burgundy-white-blue is a combination I’ve used endless times this summer.
  2. The shape. Not only I find this shirt very flattering, but also very easy to match. It will go with jeans or with skirts (as long as they’re high waisted). It will sit nicely under a cardigan and the ever so subtle see-through effect lends itself with some fun colour pairing.
  3. The material. It’s now obvious (hindsight being 20/20 and all that) that if I am making something for the warm days it will see much more wear if it’s breathable. One of my favourite makes of all time is my Harlequin Dress, but the sticky polyester fabric makes it too hot to wear on a warm summer day and really clingy when worn with tights.

For a impenitent advocate of spontaneous creation, I have to admit that making clothes without a plan is a wishful thinking exercise. If you really have your colour palette honed to a science, and all your fabric has been bought with your personal textile mantra engraved in your brain then maybe that’ll work out. But for this making magpie, leave it to chance will always mean that clothes I love, and I spend resources and energy to put together and look after, will never receive their intended amount of wear.

It’s a really difficult conclusion to come to for me, but one that I hope will change the way I make for the better. Since making this I have had the chance to experiment some more plan-oriented sewing thanks to the Outfit Along 2018 (more info to come soon, I hope!) and will definitely keep tabs on the Sewing With A Plan challenge next year.

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