Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Finished Project: Simplicity 3266 (or, Another Green/White Dotted Blouse)

Simplicity 3266
View 3 (shown in blue)

...or, Sue: An Easter Egg Personified.

Welcome to my first project from a vintage pattern! I finally finished the "simple to make" Simplicity 3266. I really enjoyed sewing this blouse, but am not sure it'll actually be a wearable muslin...I'm undecided. My main issue? I feel like an Easter egg. More on that in a bit.

This pattern was fun to sew. The directions were (mostly) easy to follow, the diagrams very helpful, and best of all there were no sleeves to set in!

There was one confusing part, though, where the pattern instructions seemed to want me to make a paper football/accordion strip of bias tape and put it on the armpit seam for reinforcement. After fiddling with the bias tape a bit, I realized I didn't really care to adhere to that step and tossed it. But what do you think, have you ever seen this before? Does this kind of kimono sleeve thing really need such reinforcing?

bias tape accordion fail.
now, magically fold up this bias tape and attach it to the armpit!

Now lets get down to the fit. I made view 3 and right off the bat, it looks like my sleeves are much flappier and less fitted than intended. They feel a bit flappy, too, and I think next time (there will be a next time!) I sew this, I'll make the sleeves narrower. I'll also probably make the waist tucks a little bigger, so the waist area will be a little more fitted.

my dream collar
Next time around, I'll also definitely be doing some adjusting in the collar area. When I showed Tom the finished product he said "it's a '70s collar!" Unfortunately,  that's not quite what I was going for. I'd secretly hoped, despite how obviously large it appears in the illustration, that the collar would somehow turn out more Pan Am uniform than floppy, winged '70s thing. Sigh.

actual collar
Another bone I have to pick with the collar is more...structural? I'd run out of fusible (or any kind) interfacing and for some reason figured, "whatevs, I'll just use muslin" instead of actual, stiff, interfacing on the facing. This makes the collar super floppy and not crisp at all, so I don't really recommend doing that on a shirt like this.

So, back to the Easter egg bit. I love this fabric, I think it's just the bee's knees, but maybe it's better off in craft land than apparel sewing.

Perhaps I'm being hyper critical (who, me?) but, for me, the colors and scale of the print combined with the fabric's quilting weight/lack of drape make this feel a little bit too Springtime craft project for me.

When I saw my finished garment on my dress form, "Easter egg" just popped into my head. When I'm wearing it, I kind of feel like a big, bright, floppy, polka-dotted BLOB (maybe it'd feel less blobby if I tucked it in? ...I'll get back to you on that).

Is it weird that I think it looks better on the dress form?
Things I like about this project? As I mentioned earlier, no setting in of sleeves! Also, I actually had success with the buttonholes (all four of 'em - though the pattern called for only three and then a hidden snap for the 4th), for once. I also had a super time adding contrasting light pink bias trim to just about every raw edge I could get my hands on - or at least the facing raw edge, the sleeve facings, and the blouse hem.

pink and green!

What do you think?

I know this is a topic of contention among many sewers, but do any of you ever use quilting cotton for apparel projects, or is that always a huge no-no?

If/when you do use it, are you usually pleased with the results?

I think the main things I like about it are: it's a breeze to sew with and there are so many cute prints available...if you can pick one appropriate for your project.


  1. I'm a bit new to this sewist lark, but I found an amazing print and HAD to make a dress from it. A friend helped with the pattern, and I made the Space Dress from it, and also bought another silly print - the Broccoli Top was the result. I have bought yet another ridiculous print (tortoises on roller skates, I kid you not) and am as yet undecided what to make, though a friend has said she wants me to wear it to her wedding.....

    You can see my ridiculous taste here.... http://rantygobshyte.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/been-a-while/

    1. Your Space Dress makes me giggle (in a good way)! I love cute dresses made with...unconventional...fabric choices. Also, glad your friends are so supportive! ;)

  2. I think it looks great! Maybe try tucking in the shirt and wearing it with a skirt? Maybe it's a question of styling to help you feel less Easter-eggy. Congrats on completing your first vintage project! I've never made one.

    As far as quilting cotton, I have used it to make clothes, to varying degrees of success. I think it definitely depends on the pattern (and the particular fabric) and how it's supposed to drape, etc.

    1. Thanks, Donna. I've just got to sew up a blue Ginger skirt to tuck this top into!

  3. I agree with Donna on this - perhaps try tucking it in (note all the fancy ladies on the pattern envelope do it!) This is usually my problem with vintage patterns. They can look so elegant on the pattern envelope but somehow fall flat when you make them. They usually have a lot of ease which makes them appear more boxy and less flattering in real life. So I also think some of the shaping at the waist and sleeves could also make a difference for your next one!

    Regarding quilting cotton - I've made a few clothes with it if I love it, and like Donna, with varying degrees of success. I generally find that the drape is just off for a lot of looser apparel.

  4. Embrace the Easter egg! It's spring, why not?!

    Also, I have sewn quite a few garments from quilting cotton. I guess I don't understand the difference in that and "regular" cotton? My only issues with it is that it tends to wrinkle more easily, and also wrinkles in the dryer thus requiring lots of ironing or interfacing if you want it to be crisp.

    1. The way I (non-expert sewer) like to portray the difference between the two is that quilting cotton doesn't feel like clothes. When you touch it, it doesn't feel like, hang like, or drape on you like anything you're used to seeing in most existing RTW garments.

  5. I also agree with Donna, I very rarely wear my blouses 'outside' of my skirt/trousers. I bet you'll feel totally different if you tuck it in a high waisted pencil skirt! I've made a few things with quilting cotton, mainly for novelty print skirts/dresses which have turned out ok. But I agree with Elizabeth that the cotton i've used gets quite dry. But congrats on your first vintage pattern creation!

    1. Thanks, Vicki. I'm definitely going to tuck this baby in and see how I feel then!

  6. I love it! I use cotton for a lot of clothes, mostly for the wash and wear aspect, and comfort. I just don't have the kind of life where I can wear a lot of finery. I do try to buy "nice" cottons, but some quilting cottons are in there too, I'm sure. It is a confusing label. There are some nice high-end quilting cottons that don't feel bad at all. I guess the trick is in marrying it to the right pattern. Those with more simple lines and structure seem to do well. I made a Sorbetto out of a quilting cotton to test out the pattern, but it really is too thick and stiff. I'll probably only wear it at home.

    1. Definitely a confusing label... I think it really is a case-by-case thing, depending on the particular fabric and pattern.

      I tried the Sorbetto in quilting cotton, too, and it is too thick and stiff (in addition to being a little bit wonky in shape b/c my printer couldn't quite print the pattern to scale :-/ ).

  7. It's a cute blouse! I think you're right in that the collar looks dated though. Don't want the costume effect right? But I think it is wearable!
    I think your next version will blow this one away though :)

  8. I think it's cute! But if you aren't happy, would it be worth the time to trim doen the collar? Or is is time to chalk it up to experience and let it languish a bit in your closet?

    I've had good luck using high-end quilting cotton for dresses and skirts... but I'm not sure I would trust the stiff low-end quilting cottons at my local fabric store! Quilting fabric might just be the one thing that I'm a brand-name snob about! ;)

  9. I agree with all of the above :) I've used quilting cotton before (who hasn't) and I feel it just depends on the pattern. Sooooo many quilting cottons are damn cute, it's hard to steer clear!
    I think this shirt paired with a bold belt and something edgy on the bottom, like a leather mini, would look great-juxtapose the sweetness a bit.

  10. Yeah, I mean, I will use whatever for whatever, I'm really a rule breaker that way. The trick, I think, with quilting cotton, is to use it for things when they drape isn't that important because it doesn't really drape well. I use it for skirts, mostly. It's stiffness is great for a full skirt of any kind, I have found. That's just me, though. I'm sure other people would be clutching their pearls at the very thought.

    I think this looks great! I tuck everything in. Changes the whole look of the blouse.


  11. Personally, I think it's absolutely adorable and not egg-ish at all! Maybe it'll grow on you, especially if tucked in as suggested.

  12. I think it looks very cute on you! I understand your reservations about the quilting cotton, though. A lot of the garments I made in the last two years are made from quilting cotton, and only recently I realized that it may not be the best choice for a lot of garments. It works for dresses or skirts, I think, but most blouses really need more drape...


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