Sunday, March 9, 2014

Miss Violet Takes a Break: Colette Violet

Hello, beloved sewists! Do you see a certain sparkle in my eyes? Or, perhaps, you detect a lightness in my typing? There's a reason for them both. We're on Spring Break! The week ahead holds nothing but sewing, time with my love, and the Veronica Mars movie. Thank goodness for it, because I've been at my wit's end, between dissertation deadlines and copy edits on Cairo. I feel behind on everything, but email, sewing, and blogging specifically. 

Luckily, time is now in abundance! (A week of it, anyway.) First up on the agenda was finishing a project from February. Colette's Violet blouse has long been a nemesis of mine. It was the first collared blouse I made, way back in 2011, and an utter disaster. I didn't know how to do an FBA, so just added width, and the collar was a mess of wonky curves. And yet...

I loved the pattern. It's everything I wanted a shirt to be! Loose fitting, but not boxy. Sleeved, but not clingy. Retro, but not dated. It demanded another attempt. 

Of course, I wasn't going to expend beautiful fabric on such an attempt. The Violet hadn't quite sold me yet, even after a proper FBA and tissue fitting. As if it were lingering for just such an occasion, I had an ink-splattered cotton voile in my stash. This is one of those fabrics that I just don't understand. Why did I buy it? It's fine, I suppose, but not remotely my style. I don't like abstract prints. Dots, flowers, and stripes are my jam, but amorphous splatters in cool colors? Meh. So much meh. Worse, I can't even blame early sewist delusions. 

I bought it in November, with a gift certificate. What a waste! I'm thrilled to have it out of my stash, not making me question my sanity. 

In order to combat my fabric indifference, I picked up some contrasting sapphire blue buttons from JoAnn's. Initially, I'd considered doing a collar in the same color, but decided against it. In retrospect, of course, that would have been awesome. I was aghast at my first try-on of this blouse. The collar completely blended into the shirt, thanks to these damned busy splatters, and I looked like a giant mass of ink spots. It wasn't a good look for me. This Violet would be damned to the back of my closet with its predecessor. 

So, I considered.

Remember how I wished for more embellished pieces in my wardrobe? It was the only thing that could save this blouse, without major surgery. Thank heavens for the blanket stitch! I bought some coordinating blue embroidery thread and spent two episodes of Almost Human (Which, by the way, is awesome. If you love good SciFi world-building with a side of social commentary, this is the show for you!) stitching a blanket stitch around the collar an sleeve hems. 

It was infinitely better! Suddenly, the details popped and outfit possibilities swirled in my head. In fact, the teal Peggy sitting on my sewing table will be perfect with this piece. Huzzah for saved projects!

Construction-wise, this was quite easy. There were some fitting issues to contend with, mostly due to Mary of the Past cutting this pattern, instead of tracing it. Were I to buy the Violet today, I would cut a size 12, then do an FBA. As it is, I had to contend with the straight size 16. Ergo, the shoulders were comically big, the back was too blousy, and my darts still aren't quite where I'd like them. They need to go another 1/2 inch in, to prevent bust pooling. 

Honestly, though, I'm happy. I have a perfectly wearable, practically cute Violet. Huzzah! 

The details...

Things I Loved:
  • The blanket stitching! Seriously, embroidery saved this project. That was a well spent pair of hours, kittens. 
  • The buttons! I love a button, always, and these pop quite nicely.
  • The collar! It's practically perfect in every way. 

Things I Changed:
  • Added an extra button, to compensate for the FBA lengthening. 
  • 1.5 inch FBA, though I should have done a 1 inch, honestly.
  • Took in the shoulders by 1 inch.
  • Took out 1 inch of sleeve cap ease.
  • Blanket-stitched the details.

Things I Would Change, If I Made It Again:
  • Reposition the dart.
  • Lengthen another two inches. 
  • Expand the back gathers, to prevent stress points.

Tips & Tricks: 
  • Interfacing is so important with this pattern. I used a featherweight fusible interfacing for both the collar and the facings, which stabilized the buttonholes and the under-collar. 
  • This pattern runs really short. I find all Colette blouses end uncomfortably high, but this one especially. If you have a long torso or prefer blouses to end below your pants waistband, plan on lengthening this one. 

Notions & Fabric: 
  • 2 yards of ink-splattered fabric
  • Seven 1/2-inch buttons
  • Embroidery floss
  • Featherweight interfacing

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