Hi, I've been out of the sewing loop for a week as I've had a really horrible cold, so bad that I didn't sew anything for a few days and that doesn't happen often! I've come to realise that I'm a very impatient patient, I was dying to get back into my sewing room and kept trying only to find I really wasn't well enough so going back to bed.
When I felt well enough to sew again, I wanted to make something that would feel like a treat. I'd been waiting for the English translation of the Zelie blouse from Republic Du Chiffon ever since the pattern was released at the end of last year, and had snapped it up as soon as it was available from The Foldline. The collar is the standout feature on this blouse, and I was interested in how it was constructed.
I'd been waiting to stumble across the right fabric, but while I was ill, I remembered that I'd seen this grey and white striped seersucker at Leons Fabrics it was relatively inexpensive, and I liked it so, it found it's way home with me. I thought I might be able to play around with the direction of the stripes on the collar and so I got straight into it.
I haven't sewn any Republique Du Chiffon patterns before, I chose a size 46, which is their largest size and was all ready to cut out the pattern pieces when I saw the words every sewist hates 'the seam allowances are not included in the pattern'. Rant alert! Why? If I pay £5.99 for a Burda magazine with umptydoodle sewing patterns on a sheet, it's a bargain, so I expect to have to put in some effort to trace off and add seam allowance. If I pay £17.50 (plus postage) I'd like the pattern company to put in the tiny bit of extra effort to include the seam allowances, it feels lazy. Also, I don't see any mention of this on their site and therefore not on The Foldline either.
However, after a posting an annoyed picture on Instagram I got on with it, I'll be honest I wasn't too impressed that the pattern pieces where all in French only either. I have used sewing patterns from another French independent pattern company, and their pattern pieces are bilingual, why can't RDP do this? My French is limited to menus, I didn't even learn it at school, so I had to write what each piece was in English - I was grumpy by now.
This is not the pattern for you if you are used to independent sewing pattern companies providing clear instructions that walk you through clearly, step by step. They contain some instructions like 'if you feel it is necessary, apply the fusible interfacing' or 'hem the blouse at 1cm, inserting the facings in the hem'. I've made enough shirts that I feel experienced enough to decide how to interface and how to insert the facing but if you want support or guidance you aren't going to get it. I ditched the instructions after a while because they weren't adding anything to the process. Preparing the collar wasn't too tricky, I fiddled about trying to get my stripes to match, but it just wasn't going to happen so ended up just having them go in a different direction. Other than that it's an easy blouse to put together, no darts, no button band, no collar stand just a facing so if you're comfortable with basic techniques it comes together fairly quickly.
In writing this blog, I've realised that if I don't enjoy the process of sewing a garment, I don't enjoy wearing the garment and that's how I felt about this blouse when I finished it. I thought it was going to be one of those that you put in your wardrobe, but never actually wear. I don't tuck my shirts in, it's not a flattering look on me, and this blouse looks a bit shapeless, and meh, I was in a grump with it, but then I thought I'd see how it looked tucked in for a change. Ooh, I thought maybe I do like it, tucked in it stops being a shapeless shirt and becomes a bit more ooh la la. I finished it just before I was going to see some friends for lunch, so I put it on to photograph and thought I'd pop on a jumper and wear it. It got lots of compliments, when I came home, my daughter said she liked it too (high praise), so I'm coming around to it. I'm still 50/50 about it, maybe it needs a different fabric, a contrast collar, a less grumpy sewist? I'm not sure, but only time will tell.