Monday, May 14, 2012

Steampunk-Flavored Blouse: Done!

Please don't ask me what was going on with my hair. It looks like my head is on fire, except that the fire is...hair.

I am so in love with chevrons now.
Huzzah for me, for I have finished my first blouse! Complete with a front placket and cuffs and a collar and everything! And you know what? It wasn't nearly as bad as I was afraid it was going to be! And I'm also almost done with my vaguely steampunk Edwardian walking skirt as well! Isn't this amazing? Not a floral-patterned bed sheet dress in sight! Although to be fair, the skirt is made from donated curtains.

I already wrote about the construction of the main part of the blouse, complete with tricky sleeve construction. Finishing the cuffs and collar was fiddly and time-consuming, but not actually that difficult. I think I know, now, why my mom made so many blouses when she was a young seamstress. I'm claiming this blouse as my Sew Weekly inspired-by-a-family photo challenge, even though I don't have a specific photo of my mom in a home-made blouse like this; she has plenty of pictures in blouses she made herself. I will post a full write-up of the construction of those pieces as soon as I can, but in the meantime I'm just so thrilled with how this outfit is coming together.

How perfect is it that a lady at church would be getting rid of old, huge curtains in such a wonderfully steampunk color palette, and they weren't even polyester monstrosities to boot! They're actually 70/30 viscose-poly, and they say in huge letters to DRY CLEAN ONLY; I ignored this directive, of course (I'm not going to pay good money to dry clean free curtains), and washed them in my bathtub in cold water and mild detergent (to be perfectly forthcoming, Method hand soap, in pink grapefruit, in case that matters) and hung them up to dry. Walnut was concerned to see these giant dripping things in his bathtub, but he got over it. Which is good, because let me tell you, these curtains badly needed washing -- not because they were dirty, but because they smelled like a candle store had wandered into them, gotten tangled up, and then died inside. Seriously, when I opened up the bag I felt like I was being physically assaulted by potpourri. Anyway, now my skirt is pleasantly, faintly sweet-smelling.

You can see here the weird shape of the waistband.
The skirt is a simple four-gored skirt, originally based on the OOP Simplicity 8375. I made up a size 10, my usual for Simplicity patterns, only to find the waist grossly oversized. Rather than take in all the seams, I settled for pleating the back to make a vague bustle-ish thing, which looks quite nice with all the stripes, in my opinion. The pattern calls for a simple long rectangle for the waistband, but between the shortness of the blouse back and the weight of the bustle/train, I knew I needed to have a waistband that would be much higher in the back. I ended up drafting this chevron thing, which looks nice in the front but needs some help in the back. I still need to figure out how to fix the closure so that it looks better, but at least it's high enough to cover the bottom of the blouse. I am also still waiting for my American Duchess Astorias to come in so that I know where to hem the skirt; it just hits the ground in front right now when I tippy-toe. I'm considering adding horsehair braid to help the hem stand out, but I'm not sure how that would work in the back with the dragging train.

I still want to make a shoulder-strappy-holster-vest-type-thing to round out this outfit, and then once I throw on all my various dangly things I'll be well on my way to a full-on steampunk detective outfit! The only reason why I chose detective, by the way, is because of my birthday magnifying glass from Anthropologie.

I'm technically not finished with the skirt, so I won't write up a summary just yet, and I'll put the summary for the blouse in the construction post. You're welcome, Shayna.

The awesome thing about the weird sleeve construction is what a wide range of motion I have, all without ever having to set in sleeves or make gussets! I seriously want to put this sleeve construction into everything now. And again, please ignore my hair.

29 comments:

  1. so much fun! that skirt and blouse make a great combo.

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    1. Thank you! They are indeed fun to wear!

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  2. method hand soap. i love you.

    I WANT THAT SKIRT GIMMIE THAT SKIRT

    erm, excuse me. ahem. this outfit looks like it should be on a mannequin at FIDM. you go, girl. seriously awesome.

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    1. I will immediately submit my application to be a mannequin in their exhibit. I can be the kind that stand super still until somebody walks by, then I suddenly come to life and scare their pants off!

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  3. Cool make, it looks really great together!

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  4. It looks awesome! I especially love love love the skirt, it's perfect with the blouse and the pleating in the back was a great idea. The longer blouse front is for that Edwardian "pigeon breasted" look---probably needs the right type of corset to achieve ;)

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    1. Thank you! The pleating is my favorite part too, so it's a happy accident that the pattern runs so large. I think I could've done the pigeon look, if I pulled the blouse out more in front and didn't interface the heck out of the button placket. Even so, would it absolutely kill them to add a couple inches to the back?! :)

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  5. Love the steampunk-esque look! The shirt and blouse look great together.

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    1. Thank you! I'm just so glad that the donated skirt fabric worked out for this outfit!

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  6. This outfit is glorious! Absolute perfection together.

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  7. I can't believe how well everything goes together. This outfit is fabulous! A quick question since you raved about the sleeve construction - are these patterns available to non-pattern testers? It would be fun to try out the sleeve construction myself.

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    1. I know VPLL has released some of the patterns from the project already for sale to the general public, but since this one doesn't have instructions it probably won't be for sale anytime soon. Why don't you just sign up to be a pattern tester? People are still joining up and there's no requirement to test a pattern a month anymore.

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  8. OMG I love this outfit! Especially the skirt! Fantastic! That's a lot of exclamations marks, sorry :)

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    1. Thank you! I love exclamation marks! Especially when they're directed at me! Unless, of course, they're angry ones ;)

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  9. You are so talented and look stunning in that get up.

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  10. Oh my! I love this outfit! You look incredible and I can't wait to see it with all of your various dangly things and your magnifying glass! Congrats on finishing your first blouse! Oh, and I love the skirt! I even like your on fire hair! Thanks for putting the blouse summary in the construction post;)

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  11. Oh, and thank you for letting us know that you used pink grapefruit Method hand soap. It matters! Thanks for always making me smile! You're so dang witty!

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  12. This looks really nice. I finished my shirt too, from the same fabric! They are sooo different!

    http://flekka-challenge.blogspot.com/2012/05/challenge-14-rossa-shirt-finished.html

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  13. FABULOUS!!! The whole outfit looks amazing - the work you've put into it really shows :)

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  14. So Brilliant! So, so, SO brilliant! I love it all - the blouse, the skirt, the stripe matching, the little bustle-thing. Even your hair adds to it!

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  15. Great outfit. The skirt is fantastic and your blouse sets it off to perfection. Well done...and it's done....which mine is not so now I am a little jealous

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  16. Absolutely beautiful. I love the color combination and the chevrons in the skirt just sets it off. You look great in the outfit too. Now you gotta steampunk it up. LOL
    Great job!

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