Thursday, November 17, 2016

Always Wear Clothes You Can Paint In

What does one do when she shows up where her dad is working at a rental property with ice cream for him, in her nice church clothes, and he asks her to help him paint? Wanting to help her father, this nice daughter (who comes bearing ice cream, after all) figures out a way to protect her pretty clothes. She searches behind the seat of her truck and finds a sweatshirt to protect her newly made blouse. Then she constructs an apron out of some shop rags found in her dad's truck toolbox. Once the apron is held together by a couple knots and half a dozen straight pins found in the depths of her purse, she is ready to paint!!

And paint I did! My apron and sweatshirt worked admirably, not a speck of paint made its way onto my skirt and blouse. What skirt and blouse, you ask? These:

Look at that pretty, newly painted outside wall behind me! It looks great with the green tin roof!
Over a year ago, my grandma gave me two yards of this light blue floral striped quilting cotton I'd been admiring in her sewing room.

I've been hoarding the fabric ever since, trying to figure out the perfect shirt design for it. I've come up with a few ideas, but nothing that could actually induce me to cut into this fabric. I really wanted to make sure I didn't waste my pretty fabric!

Finally, I came to the conclusion that perfect doesn't really exist and I'd get a whole lot more enjoyment out of actually wearing the fabric rather than just seeing it sitting in my stash, so I picked a pattern and went with it. 
I decided to use Butterick B6217. When I first saw this pattern I wasn't too impressed by it. Then I saw a couple versions other people had made and it grew on me. So I bought it, then it sat waiting to be used. I wondered if I would actually like the finished blouse. Finally, I decided to just go with it and hoped for the best.

Now, the pattern called for 2 yards of fabric and it used every bit of that due to those large pattern pieces for the bias-cut bust ties. It has been my experience that patterns don't usually actually require the full yardage listed, but that was not so with this one. Good thing I had the full 2 yards rather than just a yard and a half. Even with the right amount of fabric, I made a minor cutting mistake and I didn't have enough fabric left to fix it.
I accidentally cut both of the front facing pieces the same rather than opposite each other. So, in the finished shirt one facing piece is wrong side out. Oops! At least it can't be seen when the shirt is worn!

I got the shirt sewn together in one afternoon and I love the finished product for several reasons.
First, I often have to adjust arm holes or they gape due to my bust size. No adjustments were required for me on these armscyes (aka armholes)! Now, the armscye is rather small so I read in several reviews that people had to make them bigger for the shirt to be comfortable. For me though the smaller armscye was a good thing, no gaping and an excellent range of motion!
Second, I have wide shoulders and typically forget to adjust patterns to accommodate that. This time I remembered to add an extra inch of width to the shoulders. The fit is wonderful and makes the shirt so much more comfortable that it otherwise would have been! 
Third, the shape. The shirt is fitted with 8 darts total. It's easy to slightly adjust those darts to make the shirt fit different individuals perfectly. For example, I just had to take the front darts in an extra 1/4 inch each to prevent the shirt from being baggy.
And finally, this shirt is just plain pretty The shape, combined with details like the neckline shape, petal sleeves, and the bust ties, combined with the materials I chose to use, results in one very pretty shirt.  I decided to use pearl snaps down the front of the shirt rather than buttons because I loved how they paired with my fabric. 

I do have one complaint though, I accidentally overlapped the petal sleeves to the back rather than the front. Uhgg, I need to take time to fix that one of these days.  

Before I even got around to making the blouse I knew exactly which shirt in my closet I would pair it with; the navy linen maxi skirt I made back in June, right before I went to El Salvador.
In May I came across this skirt on Pinterest and decided to replicate it, with a few adjustments.

My best friend's mom had recently found several yards of navy blue linen at a garage sale. So, she bought it and gave it to me. As soon as I found this skirt I knew what that navy linen would become.

I decided to use McCall's M6993, a reprint of a 1933 pattern, because I liked the overall shape of the skirt, especially the high waist. I used the yoke of view A and the non-pleated shape of view B. I cut the hem into a point at the front and back, then drafted my pattern pieces for the lace band and the bottom ruffle.

A friend had recently given me a lace sundress she didn't wear anymore, so I cut the lace band out of the skirt. I cut matching bands out of my linen to go under the lace.

If course, I added pockets (though they don't lay quite as well as I would like). The skirt closes with a lapped zipper in the center back.

The finished skirt is more tailored, ruffly, and just more "me" than the inspiration skirt. I fully intend to bring this and my new blouse on the World Race next year.

I love the completed outfit. It looks great and rather tailored, but it doesn't restrict movement or get in the way of doing various activities. As it is, it can be worn to church, and to climb trees. Also, with an apron (made out of shop rages) and a sweatshirt, it can even be worn for painting!

Yep, it's a pretty versatile outfit, perfectly suited to my life! (As it should be since, after all, I did make it for myself.)

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, between my dad, brothers, and me, we got that house completely painted that Sunday afternoon. You can't beat family working together!

What am I going to do without these guys next year?


  1. This is lovely! And your skirt is Much Better than the Pinterest one!
    your fixes for paint coverings sounded to me like some of those stories from novels like Grace Livingstone Hill. Such as:The heroine needed a hat when she escaped from the farm where the German spies were making her slave for them. So, she took off her apron and folded it into a very chic hat. No one on the train even suspected her to be out of the ordinary. One lady even asked her where she got it!
    (if you know the books, a lady at my church when I was growing up had the whole collection of which I borrowed most!)
    I read this post after the one with your sister and had to laugh at you hanging about and climbing on the tree compared with her still liking to swing. ;-)
    Sandy in the UK

    1. Thanks! No, I haven't read those books. I might have to check them out.
      Yes, my sister and I, We're quite a pair :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! And thank you for the navy linen too!