Friday, May 31, 2013

FREE Shirred Denim Blouse Pattern And Tutorial

Today is a bit sad. It's the last day of school which means my kiddos are going to be going off to spend the summer with their dad (through no choice of my own). It also means that the next time school commences, my littlest one (the oops-I-have-another-kid....haha) will be starting Kindergarten. His brother would be starting junior high too, but alas, he was held back....

Other things have been growing and changing too in a bit more shocking ways. :/

I am helping to raise my grandson now. He's 2 1/2 months old. Everyone calls him chunky, fluffy, big for his age, and butterball. I think these strangers are nuts. I just see a tiny kid with one tiny, red curl on his head! I guess it's because my sister had a 9 pound baby and all of my kids minus two were much chunkier.

His mom is still nursing him (another reason for me not believing the kid could possibly be overweight). And, her "wardrobe" lacks much least to the elderly Catholic ladies at the mission the other day, to me, to my church, my husband, and most people over 30 in public. The only ones who do approve of her wardrobe are my preteen son (flies are beginning to collect in his gaping mouth....he really likes boobs no matter who they are attached too!), all males, sackers at the grocery store, and the mechanics at the oil changing place. :(

I informed her, much to her protesting, that as devoted members of the ultra-conservative, orthodox Church of Christ faith, she would be required to cover up at least when she is around us. She informed us that we were old hags. I reminded her that we aren't nearly as bad as my mom and sisters who are Mennonite or Amish. (I tease them so much, I am afraid they will bury me in one of their clothes....after all, dad was buried in a ugly ass suit mom hated).

To help her realize the concept of self respect while maintaining fashion forward sense, I made her a lovely blouse. And no, it's definitely NOT inspired by Amish Women Magazine. :P

You'll notice that even with a sway back and still having some baby weight, she looks pretty awesome and it flatters her quite well. I have a little experience with making clothing for large breasted women like my daughter by "abusing" the neighbor (who became my impromptu guinea pig! haha.). I find myself feeding her son on a regular basis so I guess she feels compelled to come to my creepy lair and get fitted for plus size women's clothing....boohahahahahha. :P

Armed with that valuable experience and her input on what would fit better, look better, etc., I sought out using my daughter for a new seamstress challenge: the impossibly tiny (she's 91 pounds!), freakishly short (she's 4"8...the exact same height as my 10 yr old), large breasted woman. My daughter had zero confidence she would like my blouse. :( Love you too kid.

I measured her bust (36 inches) and multiplied by two. That would give me extra yardage to shirr her blouse's bodice.(if you don't know how to shirr, I highly suggest you to watch this short video....

I also measured the length (vertical measurement) the bodice would need to be.
This meant measuring from armpit to the bottom-undergirth-of her breasts. As she is nursing,
I knew when her breasts are full the bodice would ride up. Many large breasted women, I've learned, find
this a problem too. Thus, I measured across her breast instead of the side portion from armpit to bottom of breast. 

The material I am using is heavyweight stretch denim. If you use lightweight material, which I highly recommend,
your bodice will shirr easier and more quickly and with less hassle. My "intended victim" would
be better covered with thicker material. :D

Here I am showing you the backside of the shirring process of the denim. My elastic thread kept breaking.
I am sure yours won't and everything will go smoothly for you! I also ensured that the bodice wouldn't
gape and boobies would fly out and knock someone out cold by putting a casing for 1/2 inch elastic around the top hem.
This turned out to be a great idea because young mommies bend over A LOT.

Another thing I want to mention is that if you put your iron on at the highest temp and press the steam option, hold the iron slightly above the fabric, the finished bodice that's now elasticized will bunch up and shrink like desired without any pulling of threads at the sides of the bodice or having to mess with the bodice's gathering. So easy and looks great too!

The measurement under her bust (the rib cage) is 29 inches which is incidentally mine too. Her hips measure 34 inches (which I think was my hip measurement when I was 10!). I folded over the denim fabric and drew a line with a fabric pencil that was 14 1/2 inches long.....the 29 inches cut in half as we are cutting on the fold. I wanted this blouse to be a little long (which is easy to do since my subject is the height of a 10 year old). From the bottom of her chest to her hip bone was 8 1/2 inches. So, I measured 8 1/2 inches down from that line I just drew. Cutting the hip measurement of 34 inches in half, I got 17 inches. I drew a line that long. I grabbed something straight (my son's art ruler in my case) and joined the two lines together. You see this somewhat triangular shape above if you look closely. I didn't pay attention to geometry in school but I think my son calls this a trapezoidal triangle. :P

I call this a somewhat Aline skirt piece!

 My model had a baby 9 weeks ago. So, I decided to practice on pleating with her outfit because pleats are figure flattering. (for pleating tutorials, you can watch this great video: You can't do this to a customer's outfit, not can you sell a "practice outfit". My former pleating practicing looked like deformed stretch marks on a morbidly obese person. :( However, these pleats turned out perfect....I was so stoked about it!
 If you can see past the blurry photos, you may be able to make out my center pleat (a total of 3 will be made.). The center pleat is 3/4 inches. The one on each side of the center pleat is 1/4 inches. The asymmetry would drive my mom bat-crap-crazy. But she's already gotten her Amish blouse from me with perfect sameness throughout. So, she will survive. I like things like pleats being different. It gives visual interest.

 Once pinned, I sewed down the sides of each pleat. You can see the pin still in position above.
 This is the shot before ironing and me basting the top edge of the skirt panel (right above the pleats).

After ironing and basting the top edge, here is the view from the wrong side of the fabric. Note how beautiful it is. Take a moment to admire my work. :D You don't have to baste your edge before attaching it to the bodice, but my 69 year old best friend who used to be a home ec teacher for 31 years says it makes your outfit look more professional. One needs to do the basting to armholes too before attaching set in sleeves.

 Grab your fabulous bodice and trim any crooked or extra fabric at the bottom before attaching it to the skirt panel. Having a straight edge makes attachment a breeze. Note my bodice has one seam and I want it to be in the back.
 Note how wonderful those pleats look with the attached attached bodice..... :P (this is the view from the backside)
Here my bodice and skirt panel (front side) has been serged/overlocked, top stitched, and ironed. I have no clue why the fabric looks gray. The denim is so dark in real life that my daughter thought it was black.

 I was so excited about my pleats and how this blouse was turning out, I forgot to take pics of the rest. I did take a few pics.....above is the 3/8 narrow bottom hem of the skirt. I was so happy with the hem I may ditch my usual 1/4 hemming I've gotten in the habit of doing!
I just ordered some lace from China. It came in convenient timing to use it on this blouse....though it wasn't the original plan to use it for this project.

 I also made tie straps for the shoulders. I knew my daughter would grimace (and she did!) at the straps but I wanted to be doubly sure this blouse stayed on her and didn't let us be shocked with more peekaboo scenes! I basically cut four strips of 3 inches by 8 inches and folded them in half and then half again, sewed them in contrasting white thread along the side edges and waalah! Tie straps were sewn to the bodice towards the sides for a more grown up feel.

I knew my tomboy daughter who likes to look like a vampire to boot wouldn't tie the straps in a bow like above. but we can dream can't we? Aren't they so cute?! +Squeal+

Do share your dress with me below. I'd love to see links to your lovely creations!

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