New Sew: Tiki Blouse

After seeing other sewists’ super cute results posted all over Facebook, I had to dig out my copy of Simplicity Retro 2154 and give it a go.

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I’d been a little hesitant to sew this blouse, although that’s basically the only reason I bought the pattern. I wasn’t sure how that collar and pussy bow would look with my big ole titties. Per the photo below, I think it looks great!

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I opted to cut a 22 above the bust and a 24 below. I shortened the pieces on the “petite” line — yes, it says that on the pattern. I had my standard problems of being narrow shouldered in a pattern that assumes otherwise in larger sizes. I took up the shoulder a bit. In future, I would shorten the shoulder even further, possibly cutting the size 20. The back of the neckline also seemed awfully high so I might look into adjusting that also. Finally I don’t think a sleeveless blouse should have the armhole extending beyond point of shoulder so that would also need a modification. I opted to finish everything with bias tape versus facings. Had I finished the armhole with facings I might have ended up with a wider seam allowance which would have fixed the point of shoulder issue. Since, I hate facings with a passion, I can just trim that part instead. I suppose I could tighten the fit overall by nipping the waist a bit more, but I don’t think it’s a huge problem that needs correction.

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Construction on this blouse goes fairly fast. The basic shape is straight forward. The collar and bow, while fussy, are not difficult. Since this was a test garment I did not interface the collar. The roll of the collar wanted to collapse a bit, so I think in future, light interfacing as suggested would be wise. Due to the nature of the construction, the bow is sewn down and can not be removed before washing. I’m curious what kind of mess that will be to iron after washing.

The fabric was a small piece that I got at my favorite weirdo fabric wonderland. I maybe had 1.5 yards?  It was definitely less than the pattern called for. I squeezed the collar and bow pieces by ignoring the grainlines. I definitely wouldn’t have had enough fabric for facings so it’s a good thing I hate them.

I’ve become a little obsessed recently with proper underpinnings. This is something that is standard for me with “historical” fashion but I hadn’t actually given it that much thought for retro garments. I did a little experiment to see how different bras would look under this blouse.

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On Left: “pointy” old fashioned bra                                       On Right: modern plunge bra

To my eyes, the pointy bra gives a much better look. Beyond being true to the era, the pointy bra puts everything in the correct place so the bust darts are exactly where they are supposed to be. While there is nothing wrong per se with the modern bra, seeing them side by side, the round modern bra shape just isn’t ideal. The fit issue at the shoulder seems more obvious, probably because the bust placement is changing the slope of the upper part of the bodice. The lower line of the modern bra sits closer to the body, affecting the drape of the blouse below the bust. Consequently I look perkier and thinner in the pointy bra. It might not be right for a tissue tee but the pointy bra is the winner for this blouse.

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I finished sewing my blouse at the 11th hour, right before I was off to a party. My friends are serious about their tiki culture and cocktails. Look at this amazing and delicious Coronado Luau Special they made for me! It even had a handmade umbrella / lantern pick. Clearly I made the perfect blouse for the occasion.

You also might have noticed my other new fashion statement. My hair is pink! It’s had elements of pink before but it’s never been all pink. It’s so fun! I’m still a little surprised when I look in the mirror but I definitely love it.

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