I’m happy to share one of my favorite projects of 2017! Yeah, I’m a bit behind on blogging, but slowly and surely I will get the projects that I’ve been making up on my blog. I completed this blouse about 3 months ago, with about a month of embroidery on it. Granted, I didn’t work on this continuously — just when I was doing “nothing”, like on long drives or whilst watching TV, because I always have to be doing something with my hands.
*Portions of this post originally appeared on the Cali Fabrics blog*
I love to take plain fabrics and transform them into something unique. This blouse was just a simple white cotton lawn before I embroidered it. Now, it’s a bespoke beauty showcasing my love of our state flower — the California Poppy. For this project, I used a vintage 1949 McCall’s pattern. First, I re-sized the pattern to fit me using the slash and spread grading method and then transferred the embroidery design to the pieces before I started working on them.
Ordinarily, I would have chosen a poppy color from the designs on the pattern envelope, but after seeing some beautiful custom California Poppy chainstitch embroidery by Tina Vines, I was inspired to turn the poppies into the golden colors of our native wildflower.
Embroidering this piece was actually a “fast” project with the satin stitches and my heavy handed embroidery. It took me a little over a month, but I only worked on it for a few hours a week. It took me much longer to embroider my past pieces which feature freehand embroidery designs.
After I finished embroidering the yoke and sleeve pieces, I sewed the blouse together, which was the easiest task of all! I used some vintage cotton lace on the neckline and made self fabric sleeve bands for the sleeve hems. As it’s lawn it has French seams on the inside.
Generally, I would think of a plain white fabric like this lawn as a lining for another garment as I’m very into colors. But when you add embroidery, a solid fabric becomes a canvas for a one-of-a-kind wearable masterpiece.
I’m insanely happy how the embroidery turned out. I’m also happy that it didn’t take me months to do like some of my past embroidery projects.
I generally like to make outfits when I sew separates, so I refashioned this skirt from a dress that I never wear and yet love the fabric. This skirt used to be a Colette Eclair dress, but I never wear strapless dresses, so I took it apart and made a skirt.
This skirt was a bit more work than just removing the bodice and adding a waistband. I took the whole thing apart, including the skirt gores and removed the original zipper. The Eclair skirt was too short for my tastes, so I took the big sash from that dress apart and added a hem band for extra length. I was also able to cut a waistband out of it. I then sewed the skirt gores back together, gathered the skirt, added the waistband and sewed in an invisible zip. So basically it’s a gored dirndl skirt. The waistband is a little bit too big, so I still need to take it in.
I’m really looking forward to wearing both of these pieces with other garments. Right now, I’m dreaming about wearing this blouse in warmer weather with the 40’s jeans I just made (those jeans will be my next post!).
It’s just too bad that there weren’t any California poppies blooming when I finished this. 🙂
Note: I received the fabric for this blouse as a contributor for the Cali Fabrics blog. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.
- Blouse: Vintage McCall 1385 in white cotton lawn with hand embroidery, made by me
- Skirt: re-purposed gored and gathered skirt in green cotton damask, made by me
- Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens
- Earrings: Vintage 1940’s from my grandma’s jewelry box
- Turquoise bracelet: Vintage 1940’s from my grandma’s jewelry box
- Silver engraved bracelet: Four Corners
- Lipstick: Besame 1931 Carmine (affiliate link)