Friday, 4 April 2014

Jennifer Lauren Vintage: Afternoon Blouse

Yay! Hot off the press today is the Afternoon Blouse - a brand new PDF pattern from lovely sewing blogger Jennifer Lauren.  I was lucky enough to be a tester for this pattern so I can tell you all about it. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin…


The design of the Afternoon Blouse is based on an original 1950's pattern, cleverly updated to give it a modern edge. Jennifer has also spent a lot of time perfecting the construction and shape of the blouse to make it super easy to fit and sew. In fact it's so easy to sew it can be made in just one afternoon (geddit? the clue's in the name!)  I was asked to pattern test right in the middle of a busy period, and then lost a precious day's sewing because of the teacher's strike in the UK (I had to entertain my children and was twitching towards the sewing machine like a junkie). In the end I did only have one afternoon free to make it, which was a nice challenge as I could test out whether the blouse lived up to its name. Of course it did!

From a sewing and construction viewpoint, the blouse is super easy to sew:
- No darts or tucks
- No zips, buttons or other fastenings, it just slips over your head
- No sleeves to set in (the blouse has one of my favourite vintage features - short kimono sleeves)
- Very few pattern pieces - just a front, back and facings
Hoorah!


Making the blouse should have been one of the quickest sewing projects in the history of the world - if I hadn't been such a half wit. The following is ALL my own fault, I hasten to add, and nothing to do with the pattern. I made such a silly sewing mistake I couldn't believe my own stupidity - gah! After looking at the size charts, I decided that I would cut a size 8 at the shoulders, waist and hips and a size 12 at the bust. The pattern is constructed with grown on sleeves, so blending between the sizes is an easy job. My fatal error was chatting to my mum whilst I was tiling the pattern together. I was so busy gassing away, I clean forgot to grade the bust to a larger size and just cut a size 8 all over. The pattern tiled together so perfectly I decided to cut the blouse out from the fabric there and then, still not graded at the bust. The ridiculous thing is, I didn't even realise my mistake until I actually sewed the blouse together and tried to get it over my head! Having wrestled it on and then off again, I suddenly worked out why it was so tight…. The tragedy is that I didn't have enough fabric to re-cut it so just had to let the side seams and centre front seams out as far as possible. I'd say the bust is now more like a size 10 and is still a little tight, which makes me think my original plan of a size 12 would have been perfect. Grrrr. The fit everywhere else is perfect.

I was particularly pissed off at myself because the fabric I used was so lovely. I chose a red shirting with a slight sheen from Offset Warehouse after my usual trick of seeing it on Dolly Clackett's blog and wanting some of the action. I found shirting to be the perfect fabric for this blouse. It's crisp and holds its shape, but has just enough drape to do justice to the feminine styling. The shirting I used is my perfect shade of red too, I'm very tempted to get some more for another project...


I would say the only slightly tricky bit is sewing the facing to the neckline, but I think if you do as Jennifer advises in the instructions and just take your time, then it's pretty straight forward. The neckline is finished with a decorative i.e. non functioning button - a good opportunity to use any pretty vintage buttons you've been hoarding. I think the decorative neckline is more noticeable if you use a fabric in a solid colour. Having said that, my next version (which will be in the correct size) has a busy pattern, so I'll be interested to see how it looks.


Style-wise I think the Afternoon Blouse will be a really useful addition to my wardrobe. It has the vintage look that always lures me in, and which I've already found goes perfectly with all my high waisted trousers and skirts. It also has a casual, modern look so you can team it with jeans or shorts in the summer. I don't have any photos, but I can confirm, hand on heart that it does look flattering untucked. And believe me, for a blouse to pass my rigorous untucked test, it usually has to be fitted and darted to within an inch of its life.


If you'd like to introduce a bit of vintage flair into your life with minimal effort, then hot foot it over to Jennifer's Etsy Shop where you can purchase the PDF pattern.  I think it's a lovely pattern and I don't think there'll be too long a gap before my next version appears on this here blog! Have a wonderful weekend! x






33 comments:

  1. i love this pattern - it's so pretty! i think it is going to tempt me to use a beautiful hydrangea print remnant of silk cotton i have been hoarding (muslin first of course!)

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  2. Love this pattern. The front is so adorable

    SSB. https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees

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  3. It's a cute top - I'm definitely tempted to give the pattern a try!

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  4. What a lovely classic top! This red version looks great with those navy trousers :)

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  5. Cute! Love this blouse paired with your trousers - classic and stylish. : )

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  6. Love your outfit, the blouse goes so well with your trousers. A handmade triumph : )

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  7. Ooh, I probably wouldn't have rated the pattern before seeing it on you, but it's gorgeous! It looks spot on with your trousers. Really chic!

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  8. This looks gorgeous, love the red on you! And thank you for introducing me to a new blog, I'm off to read more of Jennifer's posts now.

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  9. Love the blouse & colour on you Jane :)

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  10. Your version is just perfect! I love the color and the button, and the shape is so flattering.

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  11. What a lovely work top and such a great neckline. I'd never heard of the patterns before and i will be following!

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  12. Wow! What a cute, easy-to-sew pattern. And it is SOOOO your style! Looks fabulous!

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  13. Oh, this is right in your wheelhouse! It's CUTE! It's amazing that you were able to come up with something wearable after your slip-up... last time I did that I ended up throwing away the whole works.

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    1. Thanks Sonja! Yes, it is actually pretty amazing I was able to still make it wearable after my cock-up, I can't believe I got away with it! x

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  14. I like the design and the way the blouse closes. I have a friend who wants a vintage-inspired blouse so that may well give me some ideas!

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  15. Thanks for the heads up Jane. I am off to get this pattern post haste!

    BTW, yours looks lovely!

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  16. This is such a sweet pattern. Love your version!

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  17. This is lovely! It looks fab with your trousers. If it's any consolation, I once was ordering boots on the interwebs while chatting to my mum on the phone, and ordered the wrong size! I realised what I'd done when I got the confirmation email, emailed back, and they veŕy kindly sent me the right size!

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    1. Ah, glad it's not just me then, thanks! x

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  18. That is a really pretty blouse, I especially love the contrast button.

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  19. Really like this, Jane! Looks like a very versatile blouse, love the button placement and the colour. Off to buy my copy.

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  20. ooh, what a lovely simple but stunning pattern. i'm inspired by as I have some recent vintage button finds which would really suit this pattern

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  21. That is just "so Jane"! Perfect!
    I can't wait to have a go at this pattern myself :)

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  22. Gorgeous! Love the whole outfit, and you even match the picture on your wall!

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  23. Such simple lines results in a super fabulous look!

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  24. This is a great looking pattern and especially in the red you've chosen. Thanks for the review!

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  25. This is so well timed for me it's quite unbelievable! I have scoured every pattern source I could think of for this exact blouse shape, and couldn't find it. I came to the conclusion it would have to stay in my head, me being far too lazy to try drafting it myself. But suddenly, there it is!

    I have some vintage rayon, which is the reason I wanted to make this sort of blouse. Now I just have to figure out how to print the pattern to scale (since I just bought it on your recommendation).

    I love your bright red version and it's perfect with those trousers.

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    1. Aw thank you and I'm so glad this pattern arrived just in time! I think a vintage rayon would be perfect, best of luck! x

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  26. Wow, this is gorgeous. I love the colours of your outfit - red, navy and a white button! These are my favourites!

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  27. Oh Jane, I adore it! It looks so great on you, as of course it would! I LOVE how you styled it with those navy trousers, too. Great combo! (I think you may get a little giggle tomorrow when you see mine, too. ;)

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    1. Ooh now I'm intrigued, can't wait! And thank you! x

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  28. You're right, Jane, it's definitely got a lot going for it and is a really unique design. That it's so quick to make? Bonus as there's nothing like something you can whip up in an afternoon. And I can imagine button hoarding with this top in mind!!

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