I’m here to show my first make as part of the Simple Sew blogging team, which I am more than a bit excited about! Here is my version of the Peter Pan Blouse which I made in a lovely crinkle chiffon that was kindly gifted to me by White Tree Fabrics. Falling hard for the beautiful colour of the fabric I decided to throw caution to the wind and make a very simple blouse much more challenging to sew, by using such a fine fabric.
As Sally has done a tutorial for this pattern, I thought I would share with you some of the things that made my life slightly easier when working with this kind of fabric. My friends, be prepared to turn the air ever so slightly blue when you are working with chiffon as it will always be a fiddle, but hopefully some of these tips will help you keep to mild-to-moderate swearing when sewing.
- Use good quality sharp needles, I have found Microtex Sharps to be the best.
- Have a fiddle with your machine tension on a few scraps to get the right setting before you start.
- If you can, lower the pressure of your presser foot (try saying that ten times fast)
- A smaller stitch is sometimes better, helps to stop the seams from puckering as you sew.
- Secure your stitching a little way in and a little bit before the edge of your seams to stop your fabric getting tangled in the feed dogs.
- Listen to Tom Jones (because swinging tunes make everything better)
- Drink Gin (perhaps not when sewing)
You may already know most of these things, but if you are embarking on your first adventure with sewing chiffon, I hope some of that helps. Other tips, which I haven’t tried personally, are to spray starch your fabric before using it, and to use a layer of tissue paper underneath to stabilize the fabric. If you have any other tips, please feel free to pop them in the comments, I am all about sharing the sewing knowledge!
I chose to use a layer of organdy in my collar and along the button band to reinforce them rather than interface them. The pattern doesn’t say to use any interfacing for the button band but you would need to use something to stabilize it if you plan on using fabric this fine. Here are a couple of images to show you how I did this on the button band. I basically just cut a strip of fabric the width of the button band, pinned and pressed it in place and then sewed it down.
The collar was sewn in pretty much the same way, the only difference being that I tacked all the pieces in place before I sewed them together. I also tacked the collar onto the blouse before I sewed it just to minimise the fiddle of sewing it all together. I have learnt from previous sewing incidents that sometimes taking extra time to get things sitting in the right place before it goes to the machine prevents tears and an excessive need to shove chocolate in my face. As the organdy I used was polyester, as well as the chiffon, it took quite a bit of coaxing to press in place. Next time I think I’ll go full-on swank and treat myself to some silk organza!
The buttons I used were unearthed from my button hoard, they are perhaps a wee bit on the heavy side as they are glass but I’m going to roll with it as they are just so pretty! The inside is all french seamed and the blouse is finished off with a narrow hem. By Hand London have done a brilliant tutorial recently that covers all your narrow hemming needs. In the end I slip stitched the binding around the armhole down rather than machining it, it was just easier for me and I preferred the finish of it.
The pattern is super simple, and if you were to make it in a soft cotton lawn, it would take you half a day, it’s such a pretty wardrobe stable I can foresee many of these appearing in my closet!
I would highly recommend having a go with chiffon. I was so scared of going anywhere near it for such a long time and then I just did it. Yes, the first thing I made wasn’t so super, but then I got the hang of it, and now I just want to sew ALL the chiffon (I probably hate myself just a little bit). If you need me, I’ll be flouncing in my top keeping my cat from putting her claws anywhere near me! I hope you all embark on some chiffon adventures soon!
Lisa blogs at https://tinieststitcher.wordpress.com/