Morning electric eels. I think it’s time to do your part and connect yourselves to the energy grid. Give back for the greater good and all…

New blouse! New blouse! Today I’ve got a lovely new blouse to show all y’all eels. The Jasmine from Colette patterns!

Unfortunately for all of us, the photo cannot possibly convey how luscious this shirt is to wear! I had about one and three quarters yard of this heavy silk lying around. I’ve always thought of it as silk charmeuse, and it has the drape and slippery quality that comes to mind when I think of charmeuse, but it’s a very heavy silk and both sides have the same amount of slip and shine, as opposed to the one-side-dull-one-side-shiny gig that charmeuse is supposed to have. Is it satin? Is there such a thing as silk satin? I need a crash course in fabrics!

The Jasmine blouse is cut on the bias – that, plus the collar, make this a fabric hog. The size 18 blouse calls for 2.5 yards of fabric, so I was starting 3/4 of a yard short! I assumed that I could make up the difference by clever cutting and possibly using a different fabric for the facings (I was thinking silk organza as I have that on hand.) Alas, I just couldn’t do it! I ended up using a lace trim for the collar and the rest of the shirt is cut pretty funky, One sleeve is cut on the lengthwise grain, on on the crossgrain. The cuffs and facings are pieced!

The blouse gets a lot of it’s shaping from curved center front and center back seams. I really love the way the bias makes it fit – close, but not tight. I did a few pattern adjustments – I added about six inches to the the hemline by just flaring out a bit – I started with the size 18. I also added a few inches – maybe three – to the sleeve hem bands. Since the sleeves are full and gathered I didn’t add to them. Here’s a not-to-scale sketch showing what I added – I started right below the darts and added using the pivot method. I added the sleeve hem band width by slashing in the middle and adding a bit of wax paper.

[image Colette]

Ooooooo…. details….

The most obvious change is, of course the lace at the neckline instead of the collar and tie. It wasn’t too difficult to swap out – the croched trim had enough give that I could attach smoothly around the curved edge. I attached it using the same method that I would have the ‘sanctioned’ collar, basting to the right side of the blouse, then sandwiching between the facing and the blouse.

My poor, brand new needle did some stich skipping! To get the collar to behave perfectly, I hand tacked it so that it lays down flat. Without the tacking, it stood up at attention in a rather fetching manner! I just wanted a more low key look. I also had to tack the facing and collar down so that it stays in place in the center front. Here’s where I did the hand tacking.

Since the collar is so thick, it did present some problems. I trimmed well, machine understitched most of it, and left the center front to understitch by hand. I also had to tack the facing to the center front seam to get it to behave.

I ‘finished’ the ends of the ties by doing a little rolled hem and slipstitching. I’m not a huge fan of this look, but couldn’t think of anything better!
Inside finishing was pretty standard fare in which I raged my ongoing battle between a desire for classic, couture finishes with my love of time saving and my near OCD desire to leave no loose ends on the inside of my garments. All the major vertical seams are french seams (sides, center fronts and backs – and the shoulders!) The facings are finished with the serger and I also serged the armscye seam allowances together after stitching with a machine. If I had had enough scraps, I would have preferred to fashion some bias tape and use that on the arm finishing, but I just didn’t have enough left over.
The sleeve hem bands are attached by machine on the right side of the garment, then folded to the inside and slipstitched shut. It takes a bit longer, but it’s such a satisfying finish! Here’s a shot of the inside of the sleeves.
Over course, working with a heavy, slippery silk that’s been cut on the bias was not the easiest thing in the world. The hem gave me fits. I did a hand felled hem and it’s OK, but has some bias rippling in places. I expect that I will mostly wear tucked in, so the rippling is OK with me – and in all honesty, it’s not THAT bad. It still bugs me!
I chose a felled hem for a nice, clean look on the outside of the blouse. I started by hand basting the hemline about 1/4″ from the edge, then I folded up the raw edge, finger pressed, then folded up again, basted into place and felled shut. It took forever and if it wasn’t for the bias cut and the pretty fabric that I thought would be ruined with anything quicker I would not have gone that route. Here’s an illustration of a felled hem from Claire Schaeffer’s book Couture Sewing Techniques.

[image Google books]

Shots of the hem from the inside.

Served three ways!

Well, OK. I’m only serving up two ways here – you already saw casual, untucked with jeans at the beginning of the post. I like the blouse tucked in quite a bit. The bias cut makes it pretty and drapey, while keeping it sleek and low-bulk when tucked into a waistband! In an all-Colette course, here it is with my half a crepe!
And here it gets the pencil skirt and cropped cardi treatment!

The last word… Colette Crepe

Fabric: Heavy silk… crepe?

Pattern: Jasmine, Colette Patterns

Notions: interfacing, trim, thread

Time to complete: 45 minutes to grade up pattern, 3 hours to figure out how to cut it. 2 hours for machine sewing, 1 hour to hand hem cuffs, 30 minutes to get collar under control by hand sewing, and entire Saturday morning to hem.

likelihood to make another?: fairly high!

curvy girl score: this one gets a 9! Very flattering, easy fit, great for tucking. My only complaint has to do with the grading of the open neckline. Mine seems much less wide and graceful than some of the other finished Jasmines I’ve seen. It might be the fabric and my sewing methods, but it’s not unusual for the larger sizes to have less pronounced details as they don’t translate well when grading up. I’ll compensate for that on the next one by cutting a bit wider – if I remember!

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