Way back at the beginning of the summer, Simplicity asked if I'd like to try out one of their patterns. Er, yes please! After days of umming and ahhhing, I finally chose Simplicity 2154, a 1960's retro pattern which includes a pencil skirt, fitted jacket, cardigan and bow necked blouse.
The skirt and jacket would make an adorable 1960's air hostess outfit, and the cardigan looks like a useful pattern, but let's be honest here, the sole reason I chose the pattern was for the bow blouse. I've got a bit of a weakness for bow blouses - my Pinterest boards are littered with the things. I've admired Winnie's chiffon polka dot version from afar and was lucky enough to see it in person last year (it's gorgeous!). I also really like Amanda from Bimble and Pimble's version she made for the Mad Men challenge. Anywaaaay, summer and school holidays seemed to get in the way, but I did eventually get round to making up the pattern and we're only a few days into October...
For fabric I chose the fabric that has no name. I haven't got a clue what it is, it's almost certainly synthetic and comes from Classic Textiles on the Goldhawk Road. It's the same fabric Karen used for her lovely Anna dress and in her words, "It's red with white polka dots, barely creases, has a lovely drape", which is everything you need to know about it.
Let me tell you that this is the PERFECT fabric for this particular pattern, drapey, slinky and easy to cut out and handle. It's also quite fine which comes in mighty handy when you're working with all those layers around the collar area. I don't think there was anything I didn't like about this pattern while I was making it. The instructions were comprehensive and the sizing was spot on - I made a 14 and didn't make any changes at all.
The only thing that was nagging away at me before I started sewing this top was the thought of putting in a side zip - you all know how much I hate them (yawn). Then I remembered I'd actually made my second Alma blouse without a side zip and still managed to get it over my head. So as an experiment I decided to sew up the side seams zip-free, just to see if I could get it on. And it worked!! Relief and joy flowed throughout the land. I think it helped having miracle fabric that does whatever you ask it to and generous openings at the front and back neck. I could probably have brought in the side seams a bit for a closer fit, but I didn't want to sacrifice the zip-free status. If I want a tighter, sexy secretary look, I'll just tuck it in. And as it's sleeveless it's perfect to wear under a cardi.
My favourite details are the collar and bow. If I was designing my perfect collar, this is exactly what it would look like, I just love the size and shape of it.
It also has two darling little peephole details at the front and back. The button fastens with a handworked thread loop which isn't as difficult as it sounds, I used this excellent tutorial, and it was a cinch!
Now, onto the bow. The big, floppy Mrs Slocombe-esque BOW.
I carefully read all the construction details on Winnie's and Amanda's posts and came to the conclusion that I wouldn't interface it as the pattern advises. The bow definitely looks much floppier without interfacing, but I think I prefer it that way - I was scared it would turn out too starched. It also allows me to channel my inner Mrs Slocombe, which can only be a good thing.
So what's my final verdict on this pattern? Well I like it....a LOT! In the few days since I finished it, I've worn it every day, pausing only to wash it when it threatens to walk to the washing machine by itself. If I was allowed, I think I'd probably wear this blouse for the rest of my life! Happy Sunday! x
This pattern was given to me free of charge for review. All views my own.