Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Smooth Sailing Garden Girl Bluse

I realise I haven't been around here since months. It was a personally very busy and straining time, and my sewing motivation suffered a lot. Now spring is here and also my mood for sewing is back again.

As much as I was cursing during my last attempt to make a "Smooth Sailing" blouse, as much was I tempted to give this great pattern another try. After printing out the pattern again and sewing up the fabric pieces and ending up with a badly fitting blouse that had to be taken apart entirely, I finally managed to transfer my adjustments to the pattern. I should have dome this before, but that's what you get for being lazy. The major fitting issues were the much too wide yoke parts (I took away about an inch on each side at the shoulders) plus the width of the bottom sleeves and cuffs (these tend to be a bit narrow on most). I realized I could go with a bust 32", but should add some width below the waistline to be still able to make nice tucks. This sounds a bit confusing, but I'm not very busty, but have a well endowed backside.

Yes, I'm currently pruning my more than 100 roses - therefore my slightly muddled hair.

You may ask why I love this pattern if it has to be changed that much to fit right. Well, if you sew your own garments, you have to make adjustments anyway to have a good fit - that's the advantage when you can sew. Then, this blouse is a basic staple for any vintage wardrobe in a later 30s or 40s style. Separates are a huge plus factor when you can't wear one-piece dresses on a daily basis like me, as a family woman, housewife, gardener, whatever... You can't have enough of them, they look great with simple skirts, denims or slacks, you can make them from fabulous prints or plain solids. And - this pattern offers a variety of possible fabric combinations. Colourful prints with a white or solid collar and cuffs, contrasting yoke parts, piping... I have so many lovely cotton fabrics that maybe are just not enough for an entire garment, but combined with a matching material they would make a gorgeous blouse. "Make do and mend" - and use materials from your stash without buying new fabrics.

So, back to my adventure with this pattern. I cut and sew version no. 3 - and here you have version no. 4. The previous attempt is still not quite finished (as I had to undo and re-stitch it), but this one is. It's certainly not the best item that jumped off my sewing machine, but I was - haha, surprise - in hurry to finish it for the visitors day at my children's school. I don't like those events, social phobia is not what I would call helpful. So wearing something newly made or very special gives me strength to stomach all that. A lovely new blouse is certainly never wrong, and therefore I needed to finish this one.

I loved the fabric the moment I saw it and had to have it (luckily it was on sale), because it's totally me. Little girls doing garden work - could it get any cuter? I'm not sure if it's a "retro style" print or a true reproduction of a vintage fabric, but it really looks like a vintage feedback print. The colour palette allowed me to use some navy blue piping (I made this one myself with ready-made bias binding) and matching vintage celluloid buttons. I finished the blouse on 2 a.m., as I lost a lot time on the design and construction of the pocket. I took some inspiration from Bex' tutorial on her blog Subversive Femme, but changed the shape a bit and added some piping for a different look. (Bex' blog btw is very inspiring - have a look!) From the remaining fabric I also made a matching headscarf.

Now that I sorted out the fitting issues of that versatile pattern, I'm confident this will probably be one of my favourites whenever I need a reliable pattern to knock up a blouse without hassle.

Pattern: Smooth Saling by Wearing History
Fabric: Back Porch Prints by Kaye England (Wilmington Prints), bought from
Buttons: vintage celluloid buttons
Glasses: cheap ones, I guess from H&M
Lipstick: Unlimited Stylo by KIKO Milano, No. 18 - best lipstick ever, holds an entire day and stays on even when you have a meal!


  1. Hübsches Blüschen, hellblau steht Dir sehr gut.
    Ich bin begeistert von Deiner Brusttaschenvariante! :-D

  2. Ich musste als Kond viel (Hell-)Blau tragen und konnte mich lange Zeit nicht mehr so danit anfreunden... bei der Brusttasche bin ich mir nicht so sicher, ob ich den andern Teil auch mit Paspel einfassen oder auch auf der andern Seite eine Tasche anbringen sollte . Auf den Fotos habe ich irgendwie den Eindruck, dass es „unfertig „ aussieht. Mal schauen.


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