Hello, fellow makers!
When I swapped my summer for my winter wardrobe a couple of weeks ago, I realised there was a severe lack of dressy tops in my handmade wardrobe. Over the past few years I have been culling my clothes more and more ruthlessly, donating anything that I felt I just would no longer enjoy wearing – including some of my handmade garments. Languedoc is an area of France where many people live in dire need, and it just feels wrong to have perfectly good clothes sitting unused in a closet. Style and tastes change, and I have felt this even more acutely after having each of my children. Many of my very fitted tops from my early sewing years just don’t appeal to my taste anymore. They still fit, but just aren’t my cup of tea at present.
Another crucial factor for me has been that I can no longer bear to wear synthetic fibres – not just because they are not sustainable, but at a more basic level, because with my pregnancies, I have developed a sensitivity that just doesn’t make synthetics feel right against my skin – I feel as if it cannot breathe.
I have therefore realised that I needed a new collection of blouses for work. Time for making has been very scarce lately, so making just one blouse is taking about two weeks of short-increment sewing. Here is my first blouse for this season, from a French pattern designer I had long been wanting to discover, Delphine et Morissette. I was introduced to her designs by my very inspiring friend Lise, who has sewn her Brune and Rousse blouses (the Brune is definitely on my list as well!). I absolutely adore everything that Lise makes, and the fact that she is petite like me is super helpful in seeing how patterns work on a small frame.
The designer sells her patterns as PDFs directly from her blog (the checkout process is very straightforward), and the instructions are in French. The pattern is hand drafted, and the layout is definitely different from a ‘professional’ pattern company, but I was extremely pleased with both the pattern and instructions.
The Indispensable blouse is a loose-fitting blouse with a variation of three ruffles for the basque:
- Version 1 has a ruffle all around the blouse, like the very famous Marthe blouse by République du Chiffon – with the Indispensable version having less positive ease.
- Version 2, which I made, has ruffly panels at the sides but flat front and back.
- Version 3 has a flat front, ruffly sides and back.
I like version 2 best for myself as I feel it adds a nice feminine detail without adding too much fabric. I did sew the Marthe Blouse a couple of years ago and it is truly huge on me. I feel the fit of the Indispensable Blouse works better on my petite frame.
The size range runs from busts 80 to 120 cm (34-52), and I sewed the 38 size, which fits just right. The only size I would change next time is open out the neckline more, as it is very high on this version. The neckline is finished with bias tape and I suspect I used tape that was thinner than recommended, and consequently the fold line was a little bit higher.
The fabric is very special as it evokes such happy memories. I purchased it at l’Atelier de la Création in Lyon, the first time I met with my friend Lise Tailor. This is a viscose crepe that came from the leftovers of a couture house (I can’t recall which one as I’m really not good at remembering brand names!).
I am fully aware that whilst being made of plant fibre and biodegradable, viscose is not the most eco-friendly of fabrics where its manufacturing process is concerned. I do so love the feel and drape of a viscose, however. It is truly ‘my one weakness’ in the world of not-so-ecological materials. I therefore buy it in very spare quantities, for special projects. Using one of my few cuts of viscose always feels like a special treat.
I love wearing this blouse, and I really need to make more like it. They are perfect for my work style. If you have recommendations for similar styles, I would love to know about them!