This month’s project for #sewmystyle is the Valley Blouse by Cali Faye. The pattern is a billowy, long sleeve peasant blouse. The pattern calls for a light, airy fabric such as chiffon, swiss dot, silk or my fav, rayon. I bought a mint rayon (who would have guessed) from LA Fabrics. When I hear mint, I think green more than blue but this is definitely more on the blue side.
The sizing of this shirt is strange. I made a small but the sizing dictates that I should make a large. I understand that it needs to be roomy but a large would have been entirely too big and completely unwearable. Be sure to check your measurements properly against the pattern pieces before beginning this project.
I have never completed a shirt like this so I relied heavily on the instructions. The pattern does suggest using French seams since the fabric necessary is so light. I complied and did so on the side seams and back placket. The rest of the seams I ended up serging because I could not figure out how you’re supposed to French seam using a gathered portion of fabric as the fold over bit.
One thing that super annoyed me about the instructions was that it kept telling me to “finish the edge”. I don’t always read pattern instructions but couldn’t it at least give me a suggestion? If I serged the edge, you would see it through the light fabric so what the piss? The only spot that it looks bad is on the back facing. I used a zigzag stitch on the edge and a bit of fray check. That looks like shit. I left it but did stitch the facing down to the shirt, which you’re not instructed to do but it kept wanting to flip up and I was going to make sure that booger stayed where it belonged!
The sleeve cuffs are a bit weird. You leave the end at the wrist open so it looks like a regular sleeve and cuff with a button. I’m used to other patterns where you cut a new slit so it’s on the outside of your wrist. This one is at the back of mine. I put the button hole stitches through both sides of the overlapping cuff pinning them together. I knew I could slip my hand in and out so no worries on ever needing to unbutton the little button. I also stitched the top stitches where the cuff overlapped together because they were trying to angle away from each other. It bothered me. No one would ever notice that I did this extra bit of stitching but it made me happy to not see the twist it was trying to achieve.
The front placket and in the front shirt piece calls for a keyhole. In every picture I looked at of completed blouses, you can not really see this feature so I said “screw you giant keyhole”. I really didn’t want to fiddle with the little piece of fabric that was supposed to finish the cut edge. Squirrelly rayon and a thin fabric pattern piece coming together and me being happy about it? Hell no! I did leave the front plackets split from one another so it created a noticeable keyhole. Ha! I like it and it was worth the effort because you can see it. I also added a little loop of fabric to place my button in rather than add a buttonhole. Yes, I know that was a fiddly little bit of fabric but it would cause me a lot less grief to add than that giant keyhole.
My favorite thing about this shirt? The sleeves! They’re large and you can feel the wind catch them as you walk. And yes, I kept flailing my arms about even as I walked because it’s too much fun!
The blouse definitely walks a thin line of being able to be a dress. It’s quite long. I folded the hem up a bit more than it tells you. Another fiddly bit is getting the hem to lay flat since it’s a rounded edge. Folding up that much of a fabric onto itself does not go easy. There’s a small bit (I won’t tell you where) on my hem that has a small pleat in it because of this. This is why I use bias tape on rounded hems because it will move around the curves appropriately.
I believe July’s garment is a success. There’s small things that I would change about it for next time like the neckline seems really open but this shirt is not a style I would normally wear so maybe I’m not used to it. I have to say when I did wear it out I didn’t fidget with it as much as I imagined I would. The length is a bit too long and I need to figure out a better way to deal with that back facing. I’m curious to see how other sewists finished it off.
We’re now over halfway through the yearlong sewalong! You can still check out all the details at Bluebird Fabrics. Keep your eyes peeled for discounts on the patterns. It seems that shortly after the month is finished a discount will pop up. As always, you can check out the finished garments from me and other lovely sewists on Instagram using the #sewmystyle hashtag.