Thursday, January 20, 2011

anthropologie blouse

A few weeks ago I wandered into Anthropologie. They were having a sale, and while I still can't afford most of their sale items they are always fun to try on anyway because that store has a way of making the most beautiful clothes.

One blouse I found fell just shy of making the cut into my wardrobe. It was a v-neck blouse with panels of mint jersey and mint chiffon (in a way that the sides were completely sheer - gorgeous!). However, it was still $74,00 and mint wasn't quite doing it for my complexion.

Now, the thing about Anthropologie is that if you really, really look at the clothes, you realize they aren't complex. They use simple silhouettes with artfully chosen embellishment (beading, pleating, draping). Their trick is the fabric - they pick painted silks and chiffons and silk jerseys so the simplest of garments look luxe. And it works.

So I'm in the dressing room, and I'm wanting this shirt but I know this color isn't "me". I take out the camera and shoot a few Myspace-esque pictures in the mirror and start thinking, hmm. With photo references, I can easily recreate this in a color that I love, for a lot less money. About $40,00 later I have all my fabric (well, about twice as much fabric as I need ... even better!) and a lot of inspiration.

Please excuse my black bra.

I draped the blouse on my dress form using muslin (so of course it didn't actually drape) and altered a few things: the jersey panel in the front comes straight down, rather than angling to where the side seam would hit the hem; I also smoothed out the curve of the underarm in the armscye (fancy pattern making word for the less eloquent "arm hole") to make construction easier - angled seams with chiffon are not easy! I forgot to take pictures of the back, so I just have another simple jersey panel at the top with a straight back that isn't gathered. I can adjust that if I don't like it. I also can't see from the pictures (boy, I sure did a good job taking detail shots) whether there is a side seam or not - there easily couldn't be, but I added one for a "feminine" silhouette. I may remove that, however, and just stick my "side back" and "side front" pattern pieces together so I don't have to bother with a French seam. For the gathered piece at the front, I may add a gathered chiffon overlay (where the hem will be about a half inch shorter) just for some prettiness.

The mystery, however, lies in this little detail shown above: what are those bubbly things? Looking at it now, it appears to be a sort of trim sewn on top of the seams. But I'm almost wondering if I can take very thin pieces of jersey and braid it and use that instead. I will of course also add it to the top jersey panel in that curved shape like they did here, too. And some beads? Why not. I think silver would be nice, but that can be an afterthought for later.

Fabric is preshrinking in the dryer currently (I've finally gotten into the habit of doing this so I can actually, uh, wash the things I make after I wear them so I don't feel confined to only wear them once because I'm too afraid to get them wet). I have six pattern pieces (possibly five if I combine the two chiffon sides). I'm rather excited to get started on this.

More details to come once the sewing begins! I love snow days.


  1. Ooh, I love your ability to see expensive garments' potential for recreation! I wouldn't add beads, but I love the idea of braiding. Who actually looks good in mint? Someone with very dark skin, I suppose.

  2. Perfect project for a snow day! And it sounds like you taking a beautiful blouse and making it even better, to custom-fit it to yourself. Bespoke.

    The bubbly things: I haven't seen the blouse, just your photos. I wonder if it is a thick roll of the same fabric, stitched in sections so it bunches up? Would be a lot of handwork though.


  3. Bespoke indeed!! I think I will add the braiding for sure though - the interfacing and the outer layer didn't like matching up so the outside stretched - and need something to cover it up :)

    That's what I was thinking too. A roll of chiffon with thread binding it. Would take forever, which is why I may look for a pretty trim I could use.

  4. the thing julia says about people with dark skin being able to wear mint must be true, I guess that's why we keep combining mint and chocolate.

  5. Rachel! I can't wait to see the finished product!!! This blouse is so you it's ridiculous.

    I wear mint all the time. I'm more yellow skinned though and you have pinker undertones. Or maybe I look awful in it and just don't care :)

  6. Love your blog! So nice to see someone doing a bit of writing!

    If you like vintage clothing as much as I think you do, please come check out our website! I think you might fall in love!


  7. Hahaha Elizabeth. Wonderful combo.

    Thanks Mallory!! I'm definitely pink. Haha but I def don't care sometimes either - I'll wear red and it just matches my face. How is your line coming along??!

    Thank you! I LOVE vintage clothing, I will definitely stop by!!

  8. Line's going great so far! I have all but 2 muslin samples finished and sample fabrics came yesterday!


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