Thursday, 3 February 2011

Finished Pendrell blouse

I finished my third sewalong today with the completion of the Pendrell blouse – yes!  This was a great sewalong, run by Tasia at Sewaholic: fast paced, good, clear photos and tutorials and lots of great advice.  There’s also a Sewtionary on Tasia’s blog where she unravels the mysteries of various tricky sewing techniques by means of step-by-step tutorials.  It’s really useful stuff, if like me, you get a blank head full of cotton wool every single time a pattern calls for under stitching a facing to a neckline. I don’t know what’s wrong with me  - I’ve done it countless times but still there’s an absolute vacuum in my brain every time it comes up!  

And so, on to the Pendrell … a little peach of a pattern, well designed and clear and a pleasure to follow and use (in the same way the Collette Patterns are).  This would be a perfect first project for a beginner as it’s easy to sew together and there are no closures (zips, buttons etc), just a neckline bound with stretchy bias binding. It’s a loose, drapey fit but is given shape by the cunning use of princess seams right down the front and back of the blouse.  I chose view B, but omitted the seam ruffle as too many ruffles make me feel like Dog Toby from Punch and Judy.  As I’ve mentioned before, Sewaholic patterns are designed for the pear-shaped figure.  I’m curvy, but not pear-shaped so I sewed a bigger size than usual to accommodate by bust and waist and decreased the hip on the pattern to bring it more in proportion.  I still had to take in the side seams at the bust and waist quite a bit, so I think for my next version I’ll try the next size down.

The fabric was one of the Innocent Crush voiles from Anna Maria Horner.  There was a lot of excitement from other bloggers over the summer about them and I can totally see what all the fuss was about. Ooh, what a lovely, buttery (Anna Maria Horner's word, not mine) feel this fabric has, and it’s so drapey.  Because the Pendrell is cut quite long, it’s perfect for tucking in.  
Ooh, lovely trousers, where did you get them?...
As an experiment, I thought I’d try on my Sencha blouse and tuck it into my new 1940’s strides as the Pendrell looked so flattering. Crikey, what a difference in the feel and look of the fabric.  In my naivety as a rookie seamstress, I used a medium weight quilting cotton for the Sencha.  Having now sewn with voile, the quilting cotton feels like it’s been in a bath of starch for a week.  It's so stiff, what was I thinking?!  I still like it and will wear it again, but I’m afraid it will be forever afflicted with bad, stiff fabric syndrome.

Sencha blouse, now suffering from bad fabric syndrome
This is a great, versatile blouse which I'm sure I'll wear a lot over the coming months.  As well as teaming with my fine slacks, it also looks good untucked with jeans.

Casual, jeans wearing girl
I've already planned my next version....

So, I’m now in the unusual position of only participating in one sewalong - Casey’s Swing Dress.  I’m planning to sew up my muslin tomorrow, but her post on how to sew up the complicated, gathered shoulder seam look terrifying, so maybe it’s a good thing I’ve only got that to concentrate on!  

It hasn’t all been dressmaking though; I’ve got some exciting craft news which I’ll let you know about in the next post.  Have a good Thursday everybody. x  


  1. Gorgeous! You did a fantastic job, great choice of fabric! The fabric you picked for your second version is equally lovely. Glad you enjoyed the Sew-Along! :)

  2. It looks great and fits so perfectly. I have some of the voiles as well and they are a dream, although I haven't actually made any clothing yet, I'm waiting for it to get warmer as mine are all summer prints. Can't wait to see what you make next! Beth :)

  3. It looks really lovely, great fabric choice too. I think I might have to put this pattern on my list to buy, as I've seen a lot about it.

    I know what you mean about understitching - I found it so difficult to get my head round the first time, and still have to re-read the method thoroughly if I need to do it!

  4. LOVE it! It looks fantastic and goes great with your trousers!

  5. Wow! I am completely in awe of your fantastic sewing. It looks amazing. Really lovely. I keep meaning to make Izzy a dress but i'm a bit scared. Really must do it next week!

  6. Yet another excellent make Jane, I'm impressed by your speed! Can't wait to hear about your crafting news...

  7. I love the fabric Jane, and that looks like a great pattern, duly added to my 'todo' list! It looks great with the jeans (and also tucked into your fabulous trousers, goes without saying!).

    Looking forward to hearing your exciting crafting news, whatever it may be!


  8. That is absolutely gorgeous! And what a fabulous fit. I have the roses in the velveteen (yummy navy, aqua and blood red roses) which is a lot thicker and stiffer, but also velvety! I'll be using it for a dress even if I haven't chose which pattern yet. How much fabric does that top require? I have the Sencha, but love the princess seams on the Sewaholic one.

  9. That looks beautiful, tucked in and out over jeans! I wasn't immediately drawn to the Pendrell pattern but I love your version with less frills, and the shaping looks great. And I heart Anna Maria voiles too!

  10. It's a lovely fabric - and it looks terrific on you!

  11. Thank you for your fab comments each and every one of you, they really are the best mood enhancers!
    Beth: I've got one of the summer voiles as well (Diamond Mine in sky) which will definitely be turned into a top now I've sewn with voile.
    Kestrel: Thanks and glad it's not just me!
    Louise: If you can make purses with zips you can make girl's dresses! Go on, I dare you.
    Nathalie: Ooh velvet roses sound gorgeous. I used 2 yards of fabric - I've got about half a yard left but if you were adding the seam ruffle or doing version A you'd probably need it. You certainly don't need the 2 3/4 yards shown on the pattern.

  12. Oooh, I really like that fabric. I like how you eliminated one of the ruffles. I'll have to try that in a third version. Nice work, it looks so cute on you!

  13. Thank you Jane! Hawthorne Threads still has some the voile, so I've ordered 2 yards (as I'd also be leaving out the ruffles). I really like the fit of the Pendrell, so must give it a go!

  14. This is very pretty! I love the blouse without the ruffles and will try that on a future version (I made one with the ruffles). I like your "bad fabric syndrome" - that could be added to Tasia's Sewtionary :) And I know what you mean, now that I've worked with drapey fabrics I can't imagine going with quilting cotton again no matter how cute the print!

  15. Love your fabric for this Jane!
    The scissor blouse on my blog I think came off of Burdastyle but I can't be sure I'm guessing if you google'd it might come up? Sorry I'm useless with labelling stuff!

  16. Love it! Looks fab tucked in too :)

  17. Love your blouse!! I'm going to make an exact copy for myself:) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, afterall...

  18. Wow, thank you! Copy away, I'm extremely flattered. x



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