Hello! How’s things? Work traumas this week have meant things have felt pretty down here; so what’s a girl to do? Abandon the logical, almost completed cataloguing and organising of the fabric stash and tackle a brand new pattern, of course!
The pattern in question is the Hey June Biscayne blouse and here’s a little spoiler: I bloody love it!
However, there is a slight confession here: I’ve had this pattern for about 6 months, all over summer, and not touched it. To make matters worse (and far more costly), I didn’t just buy the pattern: I bought the pattern from Sprout Patterns.
Can we all say, “Ouch” together?
If you haven’t come across them, Sprout Patterns are part of Spoonflower, the US-based company that allows you to order custom designed fabric, wallpaper, wrapping paper etc based on either a design that you’ve uploaded yourself or one of their seemingly endless galleries of other people’s designs. Sprout Patterns take that one step further: when you buy a pattern from them, you also select the fabric substrate you’d like to make it in, plus the specific design you’d like to use, and they send you the whole lot with all your pattern pieces printed onto the fabric, ready to cut out.
Awesome idea, right?
And I can’t tell you how much fun it is playing with fabric designs and garments! When you select your pattern and size, it then lets you pick the design and shows you EXACTLY what that will look like. You get a little 3-D model and you can move the pattern around until you get the exact pattern placement you’re after.
Hours and hours can be wasted on this, believe me!
Now these things don’t come cheap, especially with the terrible $/£ exchange rate right now, but every now and again they’ll have a one day sale with, e.g., free postage or 20% off or whatever, which nearly makes it reasonable. I think it’s probably even better now as they’ve apparently opened a factory in Germany which means you don’t get slapped with transatlantic taxes on top of everything else.
Anyway, I finally succumbed and ordered the Biscayne blouse as I thought it looked a lovely, summer staple. I played for several hours with designs but ended up with a blue and white Japanese-inspired print of koi carp and lily leaves. I chose the poly crepe, coughed up and waited.
It did take a little while to arrive, but the fabric itself felt amazing and I was intrigued to see how everything was laid out in one layer on the fabric. There did look to be quite a lot of empty space, but then I realised the pattern called for bias binding and the extra meant you could make your own. Very handy!
And then I’m not too sure what the delay was? But I didn’t cut it out for another month. And then it sat in a project bag for a few months, until I picked it up last weekend in a very depressed state and determined to finish it.
One of the delays was the pdf pattern. I am not a huge fan of pdfs which, like this one, print without a border around the actual pattern. This one printed with only a little triangle on each side of the paper and, try as I might, the top and left hand triangles would NOT all print out, which made matching up rather tricky. And you do still need to print the pattern out: although the pattern pieces are all outlined and labelled beautifully, the pattern markings aren’t and for this, the fold lines, pocket placement and gather lines are pretty important.
I ended up having a bit of a guess, and hoping it would be good enough!
So, the pattern. It’s actually really nice. It’s a classic sleeveless shirt, with gathers at the neckline to fit it into the collar. However there are some nice techniques in there which my slippery fabric made that bit more interesting! I tackled both my first hidden button placket and my first welt pocket and have to say I’m pretty pleased with both of them.
It also features french seams throughout which I love on something like this. It just makes things feel all luxurious. Also, it means when I’m setting up / packing up my kit for every sewing session, I only need to lug the sewing machine about – bonus!
I did use the big bit of “spare” fabric to make self-bias binding for the armholes and I’m really glad I did, I can’t think that pre-made bias would have matched the weight of this fabric well at all and I love the hand of it, it would have been a shame to spoil it.
Today was, apparently, one of the hottest September days on record (certainly felt like it in our outdated office block!) and, worn with slim fit tailored trousers and smart sandals, this has been supremely comfortable. Style wise, I think it would work equally well with skinny jeans for a night out; I am officially in love! (also, all photos were taken at the end of the day, so I’m pretty impressed with the crease level!)
I’m really pleased with the fit around the shoulders (which probably means it’s drafted quite narrow as I often have to adjust here)
You can see the gathers here at the back neck which add to the floaty feel
And that brings me to the only problem I have with ordering loads more garments from Sprout.
I sew because I enjoy but also because I’m not a standard size. I like to adjust paper patterns before I sew final garments, and that’s just not something that Sprout can offer.
So whilst I’d happily order something else like this (albeit not too often as it’s not cheap) or even perhaps something like a Moneta dress in jersey, I won’t be ordering any of the By Hand London dresses they offer in a hurry. I know I need to adjust their necklines to be happy with the fit and, particularly where I’ve paid rather more than I would usually, I want the fit to be a lot closer to right in order to wear a garment happily.
For this style of blouse, I was pretty confident I’d get away with it, and I have. I love the finished article, I love that absolutely no one is likely to have anything like the same pattern/fabric combination, even in the blogosphere. I have something truly unique which I would have snapped up in a shop in a heartbeat.
So I think, chosen with care, the right Sprout pattern can lead to a really special garment. And it did save a lot of time not having to figure out the pattern placement for myself!
Could you be tempted with a garment like this?