Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The 'starting with the fabric' blouse...


This week's Sew Weekly theme had me in a sheer panic.  The theme was 'patternless'....eep!  If you've been following my blog for awhile, you'll know that I am a total vintage pattern geek.  I obsess over love them. I could seriously look at them for ages.  I always start with the pattern.  I'm actually the same way with cooking.  David can just waltz into the kitchen and cook up a fabulous meal with whatever we have in the fridge.  I'm creative in different ways...the um, planning way. lol.

This week I decided the fabric needed to guide me.  What better inspiration could I have for this week than the very Ms. Mena herself?  Or lore specifically a small piece of fabric that I picked up with Mena when I was in San Fransisco.  In fact, I passed over the fabric originally.  Mena has eagle eyes when it comes to spotting good deals and AMAZING fabric.  She brought this lovely flowered blue fabric over to me and said 'I bet there's enough to make a blouse' out of this!  BINGO.  And so I have.


What I am about to describe to you is me breaking ALL the sewing rules.  I didn't drape anything on a mannequin that I carefully measured.  I didn't draw out a paper pattern with a funky shaped clear ruler (btw. I totally don't know how to use those things!).  Yours truly held the fabric up to herself and stuck some pins in it, took measurements and just cut the fabric out.  I know, I know.  I can hear you gasping.  I then proceeded to add two bust darts and pin fit the top together.

I topped it off with matching bias binding on the sleeves and neck.


Now don't get me wrong. I do want to learn proper draping and would love to draft up some really neat designs--however, it was not this week.  I think for something any more in-depth I would need a lot more time!  I am pleased with my simple shell blouse and I know I'll get lots of wear out of it as it goes perfectly with my 1941 high waisted trousers.


I must say that this whole experience has given me a new found respect for folks like Sarai and Tasia who make their own patterns!  What about you?  Pattern first or fabric first?  Do you like to create your own designs or are you a pattern lover like me?

33 comments:

  1. This is a great pattern-less result Debi, what a cute blouse! You'll get lots of wear out of it for sure!

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  2. Great result. I'm a fan of self drafting ... Is so much quicker and no alterations required...l

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  3. Great blouse and well done for going patternless!

    I know exactly what you mean about organisation rather than going freestyle, however I find it easier to sew freestyle than cook freestyle! I haven't done a lot without patterns, but I have done some and I rarely make something straight from a pattern I always change is, so I guess that's patternless to a degree!

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  4. Gorgeous! Love the whole outfit. :-)

    I've done pattern drafting before - the first few years I was sewing, I drafted my own patterns, and was actually scared of using commercial patterns! (Crazy, I know!!)

    But this year, with getting into vintage patterns, I haven't done any drafting for ages. (Admittedly, I never drafted anything particularly complicated.)

    As far as projects go, I can start with either fabric or pattern. Or even a general concept, then find the fabric and pattern that best matches it from my stash. (Which often leaves my sewing area looking like a bomb hit it, with piles of fabric and pattern options all over the place. Hmmmmm.....)

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  5. Well done, Debi! That´s a lovely fabric - and you´ve turned it into a very pretty blouse. I go patternless from time to time, but never anything overly complicated, I would love to take the time and learn drafting, but for now I have so many pretty patterns I would like to try, that I don´t have the time for much else! :-)

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  6. So pretty and well done for giving it a go without the pattern.

    I'm usually a 'pattern first' sewer. I try not to have a stash of fabric and I tend to see the pattern first then match it with fabric. I usually have to bring the pattern to the shop with me too - I'm bad at visualising the finished item!

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  7. I LOVE this blouse. Isn't that fabric pretty? I love the fact that you just followed a very intuitive route. Sometimes things can get unnecessarily over complicated. My hero!

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  8. I'm definitely a pattern first sewer. Unfortunately, I didn't realise this when I first started sewing and I still have some fabric in my stash that has been "aging" for nearly five years now. Now I only buy fabric if I have at least a vague idea which pattern I'm going to use.

    That is a really pretty blouse and I bet you'll wear it loads.

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  9. I love it ! I cant believe (actually I can !) that you just made it using no pattern. Excellent work ! Its such a pretty top too (looks great with your trousers) - and the shape is lovely, especially round the shoulders. Crikey - if you can make this up no worries, imagine what you would be like after a pattern drafting course - dangerous I reckon ! ;-) xx

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  10. A very sweet little top and it looks like a real wardrobe builder.

    I make my own simple t-shirts and the odd skirt without a pattern BUT I totally don't know what I'm doing so it's hit and miss!

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  11. I love to create my own patterns, but it can be a lot of work, so I can understand why you'd want to stick with your vintage patterns. For patternmaking, I think, you have to love the process as much as the result. I find it to be more like solving a puzzle.

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  12. I totally understand the using pattern thing and actually love the process, so I wont be joining in this week BUT I love this top, so simple and beautiful fabric.

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  13. Great result! I'm the same as you, I need a pattern and in the kitchen I find it more enjoyable if I have a recipe . I also have a husband like yours who can turn leftovers or bits from the fridge into a lovely meal.

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  14. I'm totally a pattern girl too! I'll buy fabric without a pattern, but I never cut into it without a pattern. Your blouse turned out beautifully, though. I might go patternless in the new year.

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  15. Gorgeous! It's amazing sometimes how great something this simple can be. Sometimes I go pattern free and just cut, sometimes I draft a pattern, and sometimes I use a pattern. But since I am trying not to buy much new fabric, I do find that if I want a successful, wearable garment the fabric dictates the design.

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  16. I always set out to find fabric that will fit a specific pattern, then fall in love with a fabric that's totally wrong for my chosen pattern and end up going with a different pattern. For me, I think it's always fabric first:) Love your blouse!

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  17. Throughout most of history --and still in much of the world -- clothing was constructed "patternless." I studied pattern drafting, and will still very occasionally start from scratch. Modern, commercial printed patterns are still available cheaply, so I lazily rely on them almost all the time. I usually have fabric first, tho. Your blouse is lovely, fits you well, and is not far removed from the sort of shirt/blouse that civilized persons have worn for millennia. Good job.

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  18. Well I've been sewing at least 55 years and I have to say I have never did what you did here. I have always had a pattern and never had a clue how to do w/o one. Actually I have a hard enough time fitting patterns let alone something I just draw up! I love your material it seems to have 'fairy lights' in the photos.

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  19. I think this looks fantastic!! Love that fabric - I'm glad you were able to use it in such a versatile piece!

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  20. Really love that fabric! So pretty!

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  21. Very cute blouse! That's how I started sewing, just winging it. Then moved on to butchering patterns. Now I'm in the "work a pattern properly" phase, with my eyes set on draping & drafting!

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  22. Supes cute! It fits you magnificently! Nicely done!

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  23. Great blouse Debi! It looks like it will be a good wardrobe staple. I do a combo of fabric first and pattern first - sometimes I see a pattern I must have, and same with fabric!

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  24. Oohhh!!! Well done - I have never been brave enough to 'self draft', but often wished I could. Certainly not outside your comfort zone now, is it??? Great work.

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  25. Oh my word - no pattern? I could never do it, but your blouse turned out wonderful. I love how well the bias binding goes with the fabric. Like you, I admire Tasia and Sarai - but I will stick with patterns made by people more talented than me.

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  26. Cute, and brave! I'm a pattern lover here, though I have self drafted a skirt or 2.

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  27. YOU GO PATTERNLESS GIRL!!

    the top is perfect. i love that you just eyed it up and cut. you know i like to go patternless-- but sew weekly, and your vintage passion, has renewed my thirst for patterns!

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  28. Sounds like someone's ready for some draping projects!

    I've drafted pants (a lot of work, IMHO) and a simple skirt (easy peasy), but since I have limited sewing time, I mostly use patterns. Someday, in that fantasy where I have unlimited sewing time, I'll draft and drape. But for now I get more than enough inspiration from patterns and fabric.

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  29. I'm just like you- I need to plan it out to the last detail! I much prefer to let the pattern guide me, though I do have some fabric that I bought first in the hopes that it would tell me what it wanted to be.

    I do want to learn pattern making and draping though. I haven't made time for it yet!

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  30. lovely fabric! and the shirt looks so good!

    I like self drafting but even then I start with basic blocks. I've never just thrown some fabric on and started pinning! How daring! I really want to learn how to drape properly, though.

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  31. I guess you don't need patterns anymore (:
    It's lovely!

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  32. Very nice and quite brave! :) The color is just lovely on you.

    Maria

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  33. Such a cute blouse. I feel like I have a duty to serve when I'm faced with a gorgeous vintage pattern. (Thank you for the inspiration by the way!) But I also would like to learn how to drape and draft. It would be great to turn a vision of what I want into reality! Have a wonderful Christmas Debi x

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I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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