For my first project of 2019 I wanted to make a ‘separate’; meaning a mix-and-matchable piece instead of a dress or jumpsuit. As I try to build up more items in my wardrobe that can be worn every day, for meetings and events, I wanted to design something that had multiple ways to style, and could be worn for years to come.
After a brief sketching exercise in one of my notebooks; “Draw blouses for 20 minutes… and GO” I came upon a style that was a bit more vintage in feel, with gathers at the waist and shoulders, which gave it a more draped, loose feel of the 40s. With a long, looser peplum that you see in current trends, this top would be great belted over skirts or pants, and give a very flattering silhouette.
I bought the marc jacobs signature yellow star print at Mood Fabrics back at fashion week in September, and although my first thought was to make a dress out of it, I’m very happy I decided against it. This is a really cool print, but I would wear it a lot less as a full on dress, so this was the best way to work it into my wardrobe.
To make this blouse I used the ‘slash and spread’ technique of pattern making, slashing the basic bodice shape and widening it almost through the entire bodice and sleeve cap, in order to gather it and bring it back in to create the loose volume. I initially intended for it to be fitted at the waist, so I planned for a side zip. However, I stepped away from this blouse for several days at a time, and when I picked it back up I didn’t notice that the gathers that I had made were not secured tightly enough, and slowly began to expand and pull apart. It’s definitely not the worst thing that could happen, but the result is that by not fixing the expanding waist seam, I created the peplum width off of the wider waistline, and therefore the gather isn’t quite as extreme (without the belt).
Visually, it’s the same, as I would have belted it either way, but now I can slip the entire top over my head and did not need the side zipper! Realizing that would have saved me a lot of time and headache, but for now, lesson learned. I can always go back in and tighten the waist seam, and of course having an invisible side zipper is always a bonus and good practice.
I thought I would add a few patternmaking/design details as to why I like this top, in contrast to many things out there on the market:
- The fitted sleeves. A very loose and draped top can look sloppy with wide sleeves as well. I was able to create the sleeve to tailor to my arm shape perfectly, so that they are slim and trim but still comfortable.
- The loose peplum. I actually dislike peplums very much, as I find they are always quite stiff and are often used when the designer has run out of ideas. However, I like that this one feels more like an oversized long blouse with an asymmetrical hem, as opposed to a traditional peplum.
- The perfect drape at the chest. I managed to get the blouse to cross over at the perfect level where my bra is covered, but I’m not too covered up, which I think is quite sophisticated!
If you love this style of shirt as well, I definitely recommend checking out your local vintage store- or your grandmother’s closet- for something similar.