Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Peaceful cooing Alma blouse




I've been wanting to try out the Sewaholic Alma blouse for a while, in particular, view B with its lovely Peter Pan collar.  I liked the idea of playing around with a border print, to see if I could create a contrast collar using different areas of the fabric. My fabric of choice was Peaceful Cooing in grey from M is for Make - the most beautiful double gauze border print fabric with a repeat pattern that gradually gets larger as it gets closer to the border. Idiot that I am, it was only once I started cutting the fabric that I realised the pattern was actually little white doves. Duh, the clue's in the name, Peaceful Cooing! I thought they were a mixture of cotton wool and flowers. Ahem.


Anyway, this was my first attempt at working with a border print and after lots of draping myself in front of the mirror, I decided that the smaller pattern would make up the main area of the blouse and sleeves, with the larger border print finishing at the hem and repeated in the collar. I must admit, I really like the result. Border prints often run in the opposite direction to the selvedge, which means you have to cut the fabric against the grain. You probably end up needing more fabric than usual, but for something special I think it's worth it. The fabric is already double thickness, so I didn't bother with interfacing the collar and facings. This worked well, giving a bit of structure to the collar but still retaining a nice drape.

The only change I made to the pattern was the length of the sleeves. It's a fact that my arms are ridiculously short (I'm talking T-Rex short!), and the three quarter length sleeves really didn't do me any favours. I also felt like they made the blouse look a bit like an artist's smock, which is all very well if that's what you're after, but I wasn't. I shortened them by about five inches which now makes them far more cardigan friendly in the colder weather, always a bonus! 


The pattern was absolutely perfect. In theory, I should steer clear of Sewaholic patterns - they're designed for pear-shaped women and I'm the complete opposite. However, they're so well drafted and designed, that I still managed to get a good fit just by gradually grading sizes at the bust, waist and hips. The measurements changed but the overall shape and design of the pattern remained, which I found very impressive. I cut a size 10 at the bust, grading down to an 8 at the waist, and a 4 at the hips as I wanted the blouse to be quite fitted. I'm thrilled with the result and can see this being worn a lot. I was worried that the border print would get lost if it was tucked in, but you can still see it, even when it's tucked into a Ginger skirt. 


The only thing I didn't like about making this blouse was inserting the invisible side zip. They're right up there with hooks and eyes as my sewing arch enemies. I'm pondering whether to make my next one in a knit fabric, which will eliminate the need for a zip?  Or a long, central back zip instead? What do you think? One thing's for sure, there will definitely be more than one version of this blouse in my wardrobe before the year is out. x

69 comments:

  1. Oh that's so pretty. You have such a good eye for fabrics! I found this video from Colette on inserting invisible zips VERY helpful, perhaps it might help you too! http://vimeo.com/47057975

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    1. Thanks so much, I must look up that video. It's not so much invisible zips that I hate, it's invisible SIDE zips! I feel like I'm much more in control with a central zip, maybe it's some weird brain thing! x

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  2. Oh, oh, oooooh! I am swooning in my seat Jane! This is quite possibly the most delightful Alma I have set my eyes on yet! You've really got the fit spot on and the shope and colour are both perfect on you. I really want to steal your idea and make a border print one next...hope you won't hate me for it!

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    1. Ooh yes, make a border print one Marie, do it, do it! x

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  3. What a beautiful Alma and possibly one of the best uses of a border print I have seen. Really stunning and the colours are divine. It reminds me of soft freshly fallen snow and clear skies. Really lovely Jane. I'm also tempted to come round and measure your arms now - this T-Rex reference has given me the giggles again!

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    1. I know, I was thinking of you and sniggering as I was writing the post! x

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  4. I used to hate zippers. Now, after concentrated effort at learning how to do them, they're not so bad--but I'd still rather have buttons! Great top, Jane. :)

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    1. Thank you! I think I prefer buttons too if I had to choose. x

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  5. Jane, this is spectacularly lovely. Perfect print (I love Nani Iro fabrics) - I love what you've done with the border print on the collar. Just lovely.

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  6. Hands down my favourite thing you have ever made, ever, ever, ever. It's absolutely beautiful. What inspired use of a border print - and what a border print! Jane, this is stunning. On invisible zips: do you have an invisible zip foot? I'd go so far as to say that mine has changed my sewing life.

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    1. Oh my god, THANK YOU!!! Re invisible zips, see my comment to agirlinwinter, it's not invisible zips per se, it's SIDE zips, the little buggers! I agree, my invisible zip foot changed my sewing life too! x

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  7. Oh Jane! Your Alma is the best one I've seen. Your pattern placement was superb. It's really a darling blouse. Ack...I want the pattern now..

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    1. Mela if you find a way to make this maternity friendly I'll bake you a cake

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  8. this is gorgeous! i love the way you used the print on the collar. i have my invisible zip mojo back now so hoping it is here to stay!

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  9. Jane, this blouse is beautiful. The fabric choice and border placement is so unique and the colour looks great on you. Thanks for the tip about shortening the sleeves – if I make it in the future, I’ll be keeping the unwanted artist’s smock effect in mind. A, I never got to comment on your Abbey coat – it’s stunning.

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  10. Everything you make is so pretty! Argh! Love this - how you chose to arrange the border print is just freaking brilliant. And that color looks amaaaazing on you. I bet it'll look ace with your Abbey Coat (which, btw, I don't think I had a chance to comment on but - BRAVO, that color & construction is AMAZING!!!) :)

    I'm working on an Alma blouse myself, in a double gauze *and* I'm doing the peter pan collar too. Haha we are like twinz ♥

    Also, I have looked & looked & I still don't see doves :(

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  11. This looks marvelous. Your pattern placement is absolutely brilliant. I've been lusting after Naomi Ito's whole line since the dawn of time, and never realized that those were actual doves; I thought they were abstract flowers. Peaceful cooing suddenly makes a lot more sense.

    Also, side zips will be the death of me. I refuse to acknowledge that they exist.

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  12. That is so so so very beautiful!
    Such clever use of the print, it is just lovely!

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  13. Oh wow.
    This is the reason they invented the term "deceptively simple"! Because it looks like it must be a t shirt with a collar, and then you notice the clever print placement, and the fact that it's a woven fabric not a knit and then someone tells you there's a zip in the side...?!
    Clever girl, that Jane! ;)

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  14. It is just beautiful. I LOVE IT.

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  15. Awesome! Like the fabric and use of the border, especially at the collar. Also looks like you got a perfect fit!

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  16. Love! I've been drooling over that fabric at m is for make for a while. I love what you have done with it! This top is lovely.

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  17. Oh my word, what a stunning blouse! That fabric is so pretty - looks like you could have paid a fortune for it !

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  18. Simply gorgeous. And you're right, it looks just as pretty tucked in as it does out.

    To chime in with the invisible zipper foot discussion - it's really worth the (small) investment as it makes sewing with invisible zips such a doddle. You just slot the teeth into whichever side of the foot you need, depending on whether you're going up or down the zip, and you're off. The only fiddly bit can be the bottom where the zip ends. I used to handsew that for better results, although recently I seem to have got the hang of it. Somebody mentioned a Colette video, but I remember Sarai also doing an excellent sewing post on invisible zippers, including the bottom bit and how to attach your lining to it all at the same time (which is surprisingly straightforward). It's probably in her book too; I'd need to check.

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  19. This is so lovely Jane - I really like how you've used the boarder print on the collar as well as in the main blouse! Such pretty fabric and the fir looks great too.

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  20. This is so cute and it looks great on you! I'm starting to fall in love with the peter pan collars.

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  21. Lovely blouse! I really want to do that blouse, but for me to buy the patterns are a little expensive, I'm serioulsy thinking in trying to draft the pattern my self, I have seen peter pan collar is everywhere!!

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  22. Gorgeous!! I love the fabric, especially how you've used it on the collar. And I to say, I didn't realise they were doves until you pointed it out! I've nearly finished my first Alma, but I did the capped sleeves. I do like how you've shortened the sleeves, they look great.

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  23. waw, so pretty! I would love to make one myself (one day....) I also love the print, very nice fabric, although I had some trouble seeing the doves :-)

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  24. Wowww I love the way you distribute the border...

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  25. Love love love the colors, the print placement, everything! And I, too, thought it was cotton balls, not doves! I actually misread your title as "peaceful cooling." Great job, and I'm with you on the invisible side zips!

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  26. Very very nice...perfect...www.mycolurfullife.blogspot.com

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  27. Oh it's so so pretty, I really love the repeat of the bigger pattern in the collar, what an excellent design feature. LOVE IT! x

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  28. Beautiful top and that fabric is divine! I didn't realise there were birds on it either, you're not alone! hehe!

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  29. This is so lovely... a perfect match between pattern and fabric and it really suits you!

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  30. This blouse is fabulous! I love how you used the border print in such a clever way!

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  31. Oh what a beautiful top! I love the fabric, the style and how you played with the border print! x

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  32. Divine!! I know some people have omitted the zip altogether. I would imagine with a knit and a slightly looser fit you might get away with no zip?

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  33. So pretty! What a perfect fabric choice!

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  34. I love the way you used that fabric -- I have been looking forward to seeing more Almas made up (probably I am not following the right blogs, but I have not seen many yet!) I love the idea of one in knit too.

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  35. Your blouse is gorgeous. Your use of the print is so clever. It is one of those garments that at first glance looks fresh, pretty and simple, but the more you look at it, the more beautiful it is, with all the nice details of collar, shaping and best of all, looking terrific both tucked in and out.

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  36. Very cute! I love the way the border print fabric worked out. :)

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  37. This is sooooo pretty! I can't take my eyes off it! I really wish it was hanging in my closet :)

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  38. So pretty, Jane—no, it's beautiful! I love it, and am sure you're going to have a great time wearing it. :) Imagine the compliments about to cascade in your direction!

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  39. T-Rex! Ha!
    Beautiful blouse. I'm going to steal the idea of using the border print...totally stealing it.

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  40. So pretty Jane!! What an inspired use of fabric, I am in love with your take on alma, I'd be tempted to say I think it's my favorite version so far. I think the fabric's name is very appropriate to your blouse.....makes me coo to see it ;-)

    ( corny I know!)

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  41. This is awesome! I love the graduation of the print and especially the peter pan collar. I thought it was a cloud print when I first saw the image... teehee!

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  42. Oh, every time I come over to your blog I'm filled with such inadequacy that I just slope away again. Love the top, it is amazeballs, as always xx




    sittingonherbumbaleerie.blogspot.co.uk

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  43. SO gorgeous! And i absolutely can't stand side invisible zippers either. SO annoying. I lovewhat you've done with the placement of the pattern on this... couldn't have gotten it better :)

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  44. Beautiful job. Using the border print for the collar came out lovely!

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  45. Gorgeous, this fabric is really special and you used it masterfully.
    You could substitute the invisible zipper with a lapped side zipper, I have your same aversion to invisible closures and that's always my solution!

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  46. Jane, that's bloomin' clever! Well done you for having the foresight to see how the print would turn out...loks fab x

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  47. Jane this blouse is absolutely gorgeous! Perfect in every way - fabric, pattern, fit, construction! I can only ecco all the lovely comments from your other followers. BEAUTIFUL!!!!

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  48. You're on a roll! This is absolutely amazing, I love it - really clever use of the fabric, and it looks great on you! I also ADORED your Abbey Coat - well done you! Very inspiring.

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  49. This made my heart go pitter pat. It's without doubt the nicest Alma I've seen. The fabric is sublime and your construction, as always, is flawless. Just beautiful.

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  50. I love the way you've used the print - especially how the pattern changes from under the bust. Well done!

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  51. Your blouse is just so, so lovely - and absolutely perfect use of your fabric!

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  52. You did an amazing job - I love how you used the print!

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  53. This is one of the prettiest Almas I've seen! Great choice of fabric and how nice you made it yours with the tweaks to suit your needs.

    Invisible zips aren't too bad, though I still occasionally sew one side in wrong after all this time. One thing I did learn was to interface the zipper opening with a piece of light interfacing the width of the seam allowance if the fabric was on the light side. That helps to not have a wrinkly zip. And I still sew one in with my sewing reference book at my side ;-)

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  54. It looks so lovely on you and the sewing is absolutely faboulus... ♥

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  55. I really like the pattern and the fabric that you used. This is a shirt that I would consider waring my self. I don't like putting in invisible zips because I tend to struggle with them since I don't don't do it much. When I need to put one in I just have to take my time.

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  56. love reading your blog and love your work very neat work i must say xx

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  57. ok, mega late for comments - but I adore this SO much ;)

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  58. Replies
    1. Lots of online fabric/pattern shops sell this pattern. Or you can buy it directly from sewaholic.net. x

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