Voluminous and multicoloured, perfect for hiding the effects of too many cakes, both outside and inside!
This is the 'Gathered Blouse' from the Japanese pattern book 'She has a Mannish Style' (also known as 'She Wears the Pants' if you buy the English version).
I was immediately drawn to this blouse, I think in part because the model looked so gorgeous in those leggings and high boots! Ignoring the fact that I would never wear leggings without extensive bum coverage and I can't walk for more than two minutes in high heels, I decided to go ahead with the blouse. That I would wear, although with what, I had no idea.
I'd been having a bit of a sewing room sort-out and had piled some scraps from a recent remnant bag purchase from Potter's Textiles on my cutting-out table. I wandered in and was absently patting the pile when it struck me that I could make a patchwork version of the 'gathered blouse'. The scraps were already fairly well colour matched, as the Potter's remnant bags tend to be, and mostly big enough for the blouse pieces. I added in the orange polka dot cotton from my Wenona Shirt dress and undyed beige cotton from my Wenona shirt and I was ready to go.
When I say 'ready to go' I actually mean 'ready to trace the pattern sheet from hell'. Seriously, I think it might have been worse than Burdastyle! Had it been in English, rather than Japanese, this may have helped, but only slightly. Anyway, I got there in the end and worked out a few tricks that helped with the tracing.
Here's what I worked out, just in case you have this book and are yet to begin tracing:
- to find the pattern you want, look for the pattern number in large text around the edge of the sheet, or, less often, in the middle. The number is written in English, then Japanese and a line is drawn from the English or Japanese label to the pattern piece;
- all pattern pieces for one garment are on one sheet, just keep looking! However, occasionally a piece is not on the sheet and needs to be drawn eg. if a simple rectangle. You can see the pattern pieces on the layout diagrams on the instruction pages;
- the smaller text refers to the grainlines for each piece;
- the half circle symbol seems to indicate to cut the piece on the fold;
- you need to add seam allowances (SA). The diagrams on the instruction pages indicate what size SA to add. It seems to be 1cm unless otherwise indicated.
So, back to the patchworking. All the pattern pieces fitted on to my scraps except one front and the back piece. No problem, I just joined two fabrics together until I had a big enough piece of fabric. The choice of which fabric to put where wasn't completely random. I used the orange polka dot for the add-ons and the left sleeve. It seemed better that way than swapping the sleeves. I cut the back yoke in half to achieve a chevron effect with the print. Obviously I had too much to think about as that was a total fail.
I used grey on the shoulders and one button placket and pink stripes on the other placket. After playing around with the pockets, I decided on one only in polka dot. The sleeve cuffs match the front and back pattern.
I am pretty happy with the overall look of the fabric placement and I love the style of the blouse. I did add 5cm to the length, as I am 5'9, and this seems about right.
I wore this for the first time on a cool and windy day for an outing to a skateboarding competition (yes, I was just watching). The blouse did tend to billow, parachute-like in the wind and I was pleased I'd worn a camisole underneath.
For the construction, the instructions in the book were ok, well I mean the diagrams were ok, since I can't read Japanese. It helped a lot that I have made shirts before, especially as the instructions seemed to peter out before getting to the really tricky parts. I think they picked up again for another shirt in the book, but not being sure, I just used instructions for another shirt pattern I had.
The blouse was worn on this day with my latest Jamie jeans and boots to suit the weather. I feel the need to play around a bit with other options to get a better overall outfit. Otherwise, I'm really happy with my Mannish Style.