If you saw my previous post about the Blanca Flight Suit, you might have guessed that I’m taking on more challenging sewing projects these days. You are not wrong. Truth is, for a few months there, I lost my sewing motivation. I was happy enough working on espadrille kits and pouring my energy into collaborations but sewing my own clothes just didn’t hold any joy anymore. The ebb and flow of creative energy is always a mystery to me but I’ve learned it’s important to listen closely and give breathing room to whatever it has to say. It was telling me to take a break and not force anything. I am lucky to be independent of any obligations in this area. That said, I missed it. I missed the joyous experience of sewing up clothing that made me do my awkward happy dance! I’m happy to report that the wind has blown a different direction and the sew-jo has returned. With a gust, I’m joyously sewing again, updating my closet to reflect my current style interests and exploring more challenging patterns. This Autumnal Malva Blouse fits right in.
The Pattern ::
This pattern called the Malva Blouse is from a French pattern company, Pretty Mercerie, which is relatively new to me. They also sell lovely apparel fabric.
I was so excited to come across this pattern. It’s got delicate feminine details without being overly sweet. I also love a wrap front but, as a small-busted woman, I struggle to get them to fit well and not expose too much or droop. This top has buttons that hold it in place so it avoids that problem.
I have also recently discovered that my body shape looks the most balanced with a cut at the natural waist so I was excited about the cropped length.
Despite the lovely design elements, it was difficult for me to work with this pattern. The instructions are in French and are already quite brief. I started out trying to translate them but google translate was struggling with some of the terms. C’mon google translate! It’s time for you to catch up on sewing terms! Pretty Mercerie has, thankfully, created a you tube video that goes step by step (it is also in French). The video was a life saver but it was still hard to follow at times and relied on text. I’m a bit of an impatient person so I definitely could have translated the video text but I didn’t. By the time I got to the video I was felling pretty go-go-go. As a result, I was winging it even more than usual.
In the end, I genuinely appreciate the experience of muddling through. I did, after all, purchase a French sewing pattern. I can’t expect it to be in English! And, it’s humbling to recognize how much I rely on written instructions in my only language. After all, so much of the sewing world has to navigate an English-centric orientation.
The Fabric ::
I pulled the fabric for my Autumnal Malva Blouse from my stash. I am pretty sure I originally got it from Blackbird. It’s a soft, drape-y rayon and I love that the print is fall-ish but not in an obvious way. I used what was left over from this dress, which tells you how long I hold onto fabric.
Pattern Adjustments ::
I did adjust the pattern a bit. After stitching up a muslin, I realized I needed to do some widening. I widened the back by about an inch and widening the waistband by about an inch and a half. Looking at the photos now, I can see it is stretching across the front. I’ve actually worn this top and it didn’t bother me but if I do make this top again, I will probably widen the back even a small bit more to take care of that. I *think* that would take care of it.
It feels good to be sewing clothes again. It feels even better to be stretching myself to create wardrobe items that are immensely wearable but challenging to create. To me, that is sustainable. Have you heard of the 30 wears rule? Essentially, it’s a sustainability challenge to ask yourself if you will wear something 30 times before you buy it. I don’t buy new clothes but I’m trying to apply the 30 wears rule to what I buy secondhand or sew for myself.
This can be uniquely challenging with sewing! I sometimes don’t know if I will love something until after I’ve made it and there is no opportunity to try it on! It’s more accurate to say that I’m working to stretch the concept of “30 wears” into my sewing room and take it into account as much as possible. That said, it’s this kind of overthinking that sometimes steals the joy from my sewing studio so I’m simply keeping this idea as a light imprint in my mind. Not letting it get too heavy. Life has plenty of heavy already.
Are you sewing things for a fall wardrobe? Have you got a 30 wears rule or anything similar for sewing? How do you balance it all?
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