Pattern review: Colette patterns violet blouse

I chose this pattern because of the simple rounded neck and the delightful peter pan collar. I've never actually made a top from a pattern before so I wanted to learn how the experts did it and wanted to jump in the deep end with it. So I chose the violet blouse by Colette Patterns.

One of the things I like about Colette Patterns is the simple, classic shapes she uses. (Can we also appreciate the mix of models Colette Patterns uses? It's great to see all types of body shapes and sizes and women of all races model the clothing.)

The fabric I bought for this blouse was a viscose from The Textile Centre on eBay. This was the first time I'd bought fabric online as I normally like to feel what the fabric feels like relative to the garment I want to make. The fabric arrived and it is perfect - I'm so in love with the vintage florals and polka dots, plus the deep background makes the blouse perfect for the autumn.

One thing I was a bit disappointed with was just how flimsy the tissue paper of the pattern was. I know pattern paper is always very thin, but I didn't want to start poking holes in it, or ripping it and ruining it before I'd get the chance to use the pattern on multiple occasions. So, I traced the pattern onto tracing paper and went from there.

Cutting the blouse was really easy, especially with the great layout options from the pattern which meant I still have a tiny bit of fabric leftover which won't go to waste.

The instructions on this pattern were fantastic. Everything was marked out really clearly and there were even tips in boxes explaining some of the steps. For example, when sewing the facing on and understitching it, there was a little explanation of why we understitch.

I admit I skipped out on some of the stay stitching... This was due to inpatience, laziness and being frugal with my thread.

Putting the blouse together was simple: the front bodice perfectly joined onto the back. The back was made up of the back piece, gathered in the middle into the yoke. Attaching the facing was also a lot easier than it looked, although the iron-on interfacing I bought just didn't want to stay glued on at all.  

Whenever I've made collars before, I've really struggled with getting them to lie flat on the bodice, or with getting a nice curve on the ends. The collar on the violet blouse is quite large and I used a very light interfacing so overall I'm really pleased with how well the collar sits. I did rush it slightly and I'm sure the curve isn't completely equal all the way around but you can't notice!

Button holes... ahhh!! These terrify me. I've only ever made button holes once or twice and they were so terrible I can't remember why or which garment I made them for. I practiced on some scrap fabric with my button hole setting on my machine. With a short stitch length, using steps 1-4 I made a rough button hole. It actually helped to go really slowly, marking out the length with pins. Once I'd sewn the 4th side of the hole (the backwards side), I switched the machine back to step 1 and went forwards again over the 4th side to get more of a stable stitch.

So I took a deep breath and made 6 more button holes on the blouse itself. Scary! Luckily each hole was a bit more practice and by the last few button holes I was almost a pro at them!

My old housemate handed me down a load of notions from her great grandmother who passed away a few years beforehand and the vintage biscuit box she gave me had some beautiful black and gold buttons in them. They were perfect for the violet blouse.

So here it is! The Colette patterns violet blouse. I love it.

Things to do next time:
  • Make it a bit smaller... The sizing came up very large. I didn't want to have to do an FBA on a smaller size (because that's scary) so I made a US size 4 which came up a bit big around the shoulders and the waist. I'll use larger seam allowances next time and just nip it in the waist for a sleeker fit. I might even add some darts to the front of the blouse for a more fitted version.
  • Make sure I put the top button right on the top. I had to fix the top of the blouse with a metal popper because I stupidly didn't put the top button right to the top.
  • I'd also try and do verticle buttonholes to try and get them a little more lined up. Please ignore any wonky buttons.
  • I think this blouse would also look very cute as a dress - I'll try that next time.

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