Finished Project · Sewing

Dotted Blouse and Navy Skirt

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When I was planning my summer sewing in my new home of Seattle, with its seemingly jumbled mix of warm and cool, sunny and cloudy days, I was drawn to Mood Fabric’s cotton voiles.  I thought they would be perfect for a summer blouse no matter the weather.   This particular dotted cotton voile in cornflower blue was my favorite.  A simple solid color with the interest being in the raised dots.  It was perfectly behaved when cutting and sewing as well.

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Aren’t those dots so fun?!

I imagined a loose blouse with sleeves that hit just above my wrists, long enough to give me the length that I’d need on chillier summer days but not so long that it would belie the fact that the blouse was meant for the season.  In a fortuitous chance of luck, I ended up with the Sewaholic Alma pattern and figured if I removed the front and back vertical darts and shortened the sleeves just a bit, I’d have the blouse I was envisioning.  Plus, the pattern came with the option of a little notch at the neckline that I just couldn’t pass up!

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After the blouse was finished, I decided I really wanted a skirt in a deep dark navy to pair with it.  Since my friend raved about how soft the Theory navy stretch denim was for the jeans I made her a couple months ago, I figured I’d give it a go.  It did not disappoint.  For the skirt pattern I used Vogue V1247, and I just love the pockets.  Also, since I wanted more of a navy skirt than a denim skirt, I omitted the typical topstitching that one might do with denim.

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I just can’t get enough of those dots.  And, what’s that I spy on the skirt?  Yes, it’s my very first attempt at an exposed zipper.

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The V-notch in the neck was fun to make.  Careful clipping and notching of seam allowances is key to getting nice points.  I didn’t take the to measure the length of the blouse before cutting since I remembered how long the Sewaholic Pendrell was on me right out of the envelope.  I figured it would be the same, but, boy, was I wrong!  This blouse is much shorter.  To save as much length as possible, I machine rolled the hem, and the dots mostly cooperated.  The sleeves were fun to make up.  I cut half way between the longest sleeve and the mid-length sleeve that come with the pattern.  I also halved the length of the cuff that was designed for the longest sleeve length, figured out what a good circumference for me would be, and then stitched it on to the bottom of the gathered sleeve.  I omitted any placket or opening since it easily fits over my wrist.

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I also had fun cleaning up the inside of the blouse.  To give a nice edge to the neckline facing, I took advantage of the interfacing that the instructions suggested you add.  First, I stitched the interfacing to the facing, right sides together, with a small 1/4″ seam allowance.  Then I clipped and notched as needed and flipped the pieces around so the right sides would face out.  After a quick press I had a very neat edge to my facing, no serging, bias binding, extra hemming, or pinking required.  I was also able to take advantage of the fact that the voile was dotted to invisibly tack down the facing behind a random dot here or there.  Most of the rest of the interior seams were done as French seams.

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As for the skirt, I also had fun with the details.  I had a giant YKK zipper in my stash that’s been hanging out forever.  I figured it could be fun to use it as an exposed zipper for this otherwise plain navy skirt.  It was hand picked in an attempt to get a nice, even finish.  I used the same dotted cotton voile for the lining of the pockets as I used for the blouse.  I like the connection the two have since the skirt was made as a pair for the blouse.  It’s also fun to have the surprise texture when I stick my hands into my pockets!  One of the things I omitted from the skirt was the waistband.  Instead, I used a beautiful ribbon as the waistline facing since I felt it paired well with the blue dotted voile lining.  It keeps the waistline neat, prevents it from stretching, and adds a bit of unexpected fun!  To finish off the bottom of the skirt I simply sewed a blind hem with my machine.

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And, to finish, I give you one of the many shots during my attempt to get outdoor photos.  I obviously didn’t get out in time for the golden hour!  I just haven’t quite figured out Seattle just yet!

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This post can also be found on Mood Sewing Network. I used my MSN allowance towards the purchase of the fabric.

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34 thoughts on “Dotted Blouse and Navy Skirt

    1. Thanks. The skirt pockets are pretty awesome. It’s a great design. I couldn’t pass it up after reading so many rave reviews of it. It did not disappoint either!

  1. i really like the top, I love the neck line – the right balance of casual, comfortable and smart – if that makes any sense! I might need to reassess the alma blouse!

    1. Yeah, that notch in the neckline is just perfect! I didn’t put in all the darts, so my shaping here is a bit different from the traditional pattern, but I really wanted a looser fitting top. It’s a well drafted pattern though. I was amazed at how nicely the sleeves fit. I have full range of mobility! My previous woven, sleeved garment (the teal peplum top) was a bit of a downer because I couldn’t get my arms to move much!

    2. indeed! casual and comfortable but still sharp. I just made a version of Alma myself! Did not get the notch point as good as I wanted – guess I’ll have to make another 🙂
      I love how you used the shirt fabric as pocket lining – I’d love to do that to get an extra feeling of pulling the outfit together but no one can really see the matchymatchiness!

  2. Amy, I just love your blog. It is inspiring me to start sewing again! Best, Mary Blaich (Andrew’s mom)

    Sent from my iPad

    1. Thank you! I heard that you sew, and I’d love to think you were back at it again. There are so many inspiring sewing blogs out there that you should check out. It’s a great community!

  3. I finished my Alma facing in exactly the same way, it’s a lovely tidy way to do it!
    I’ve made the Vogue 1247 skirt four times. I LOVE IT. Your exposed zipper looks great!

    1. I am glad I thought to tidy up the facing before sticking it into my serger or something. I remember seeing someone post that method on their blog ages ago, but I can’t give them credit because I can’t remember who, when, or what! It was definitely pre-Alma, so knowing you also do the same thing makes me feel like it must be more of a clever thing that many people do, so I don’t have to feel quite so badly about not giving credit where credit is due! And, that skirt deserves all of its rave reviews and all of its many makings!

    1. Thanks. That cornflower blue really won me over. I wish I had enough left to make something else! You should check out the skirt pattern, too. But, you might want to lengthen it. I added 4″, and it’s still above my knees! The fit is flattering though, and the pockets are great.

  4. What beautiful fabric. And that colour suits you so much. I love the little details: the neckline and the sleeve cuffs, so neatly done too. Just perfect 🙂

  5. I am making the Vogue 1247 skirt right now, and want to do a beautiful ribbon facing, as you did, instead of the waistband. Will you kindly tell me how you did it? Specifically, how wide is the ribbon? Did you simply stitch a 5/8″ seam at the waist, understitch the ribbon, and turn it? I suspect the ribbon was not wide enough to do a 5/8″ seam. Also, it looks like more than the minimal amount of skirt fabric shows above the ribbon, so perhaps you didn’t understitch either. I really like the way your skirt looks, and am eager to try whatever it is that you did. Thank you for your blog.

    1. I mistakenly sewed the ribbon to the top of the skirt, right sides together. Just the edge of the ribbon was in the seam allowance. I meant to sew the wrong side of the ribbon to the right side of the skirt! Once I realized my mistake, it was too late. The ribbon was too delicate to handle any seam ripping. When I turned the ribbon in to act as the facing as I’d sewn it, the thick denim of the skirt had to fold over the seam creating a bit more bulk than the other way would have. I trimmed down the seam allowances as best I could to minimize this bulk, but it is what it is. The small edge of the ribbon in the seam allowance creates the more-than-the-minimal-amount-of-skirt-fabric-showing-above-the-ribbon that you mentioned since its the ribbon edge that guides the fold. I didn’t under stitch because of my mistake. I would probably recommend doing it the way I intended, sewing the wrong side of the ribbon to the right side of the skirt, turning so that just a small amount of the skirt fabric shows above the ribbon on the inside, trimming the bulk in the seam allowance, under stitching, and then hand stitching (or machine stitching) the facing down. Petersham ribbons are often used as facings. If you go for a different type of ribbon, like I did here, make sure the ribbon is soft since it’ll be against your skin!

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