Thursday, January 29, 2015

Snowflake Florence Blouse and Tulle Skirt

  Back in November, SarahLynn, one of the lovely Shaffer Sisters, posted this darling outfit on their blog. The jacket was impressive, and the headband darling, but what really got my attention was the beautiful snowflake fabric the dress was made from.

  After asking where the fabric was from, I visited a Walmart and picked up 3 yards. I didn't have any concrete plans for it... something for the daughters, maybe, so I bought enough for pretty much anything I could make for any of the girls, or enough for a blouse for me. I washed it, then left it in my sewing room while working on Christmas gifts, admiring it every now and then.

  And suddenly, inspiration struck. Not one dress for one daughter.... 3 outfits, one for each. I chose my patterns, drew pictures to determine layout, and headed back to buy a few more yards of the snowflake fabric... but it was gone. So I added some solid navy and grey, along with tulle, and decided on a new layout. This is the outfit I made for Booper.

  In addition to being inspired by SarahLynn's fabric choice, I really loved how Sarah of The Crazy Tailor paired the Florence blouse with a full skirt, so I mimicked that in designing this outfit.

  First, the shirt! This is the Florence Blouse, by Made-It Patterns. Based on the measurement chart, Booper was in a size 4 with a 5 length. Since Booper is developing shoulders like mine, I also went with a size 5 in the upper chest. The fit is very good, a tiny bit shorter than I expected based on the pattern photos, but overall pretty close. The sleeves are the right length when Booper's arms are down, and the shoulders and collar are fitted but comfortable.

  The pattern instructions were very good, and the pieces fit together beautifully. The notches all matched, with one exception-the sleeve notches. However, until I've made another I can't be sure if I flubbed it when I made the shoulders a size 5 and bodice a size 4... I can't even remember if I cut the sleeves a straight 5 or partially a 4, so there's a good possibility the mismatch is my fault here. Luckily, it was an easy fix by just adjusting the gathering.

  I like that the mandarin collar and button placket are sewn using the classic method... I wish the cuffs had a proper placket too. I did not top-stitch around the upper portion of the collar, because I thought I was almost out of dark blue thread. (I discovered I had 4 serger cones of it later on. Oops). Also, the rest of my top-stitching is not that great... I had the presser foot pressure too high and it kept twisting the fabric under the foot. It took me until after the plackets were done to figure out what was going wrong, and since I thought I was almost out of matching thread, I didn't unpick it.

  The flounce on the front is sewn in an unusual manner... the raw edges are pressed toward the right side of the fabric, and the trim top-stitched on top of them. It looks neatly finished on both the back and front, but I can't help but wonder if it will fray out from under the trim after a few washes.

  The back yoke is sewn very nicely, and neatly finished on the inside.

  I was worried that the point of the yoke would be difficult, but it really wasn't, and it didn't pucker at all (until I washed it, which is when these flat photos were taken).

  Other than the yoke, collar, and placket, all of the seams are just serged. I'd prefer them to be flat-felled, but I appreciate that the instructions mentioned when to finish each seam. Overall, I would recommend this pattern.

  I was planning on proper buttonholes and buttons, and had a nice set of buttons all ready to go... but when I pulled out my vintage buttonholer, the closest cams were either quite a bit too small or quite a bit too large. I tested it anyway, on some scraps, but the buttons either popped right out or couldn't go through the hole. This was the Friday before Christmas... and this shirt was supposed to be done by Christmas morning! I looked for a cam in the right size first, but I only found one on a random site that I didn't quite trust. Instead, I sent a convo to this Etsy shop about a rush order of the silver heart snaps... and yay, they were willing to go for it! I also ordered a set of round grey snaps from Amazon with two-day shipping as back-up, but I didn't need to. The silver heart snaps arrived in time, and looked great with the fabric. =)

  Now for the skirt. This skirt was.... difficult. I should have paid more attention and either used Stef's tutorial, or this free pattern from Oliver+S. But I stupidly decided to wing it, and ended up unpicking several yards of tulle and really hating the whole process. I had a hard time keeping the tulle straight when cutting... pre-washing it wrinkled it and ironing it didn't get the wrinkles out. It turned out okay, but it bunches up like crazy when it's moved in, and sadly, Booper has torn it in about 4 spots already. =( That and the cutting and bunching problems are why the hem is so un-even here.

  I'm not really happy with the end skirt, but it still looked cute with the shirt, and Booper was delighted with it.

  And at least I took the time to make it comfortable, with a lining and covered waistband! =)

  That's it for this outfit! Back soon with what I sewed for Gaiw. =)
Thanks for stopping by,


  1. That's adorable! It looks so Victorian and feminine and pretty :)

    1. Thank you! I agree! I wouldn't mind wearing the same blouse myself. =)

  2. Beautiful work, Charity! I bet Booper loves wearing that lovely skirt. I can just picture her twirling about!

    1. Thank you! Yes, she does! I wish I'd snapped a few more pictures of her in it... there was definitely some twirling going on. =)

  3. I love those heart-shaped snaps! Girl, you were on FIRE this Christmas! Beautiful work, as always.

    1. Thank you so much! That means a lot, especially coming from you. =) Heart-shaped snaps are just about my favorite closure. =)