Finished project: A whale of a time blouse

Last week I purchased a charming vintage Simplicity pattern on eBay and I’ve been dying to try it out ever since. I was also looking forward to using my rippled whales in pink fabric that I bought from Fabric Tales about a month ago. I thought a blouse as sweet as this deserved a fun fabric, so it got one.

Simplicity pattern 3558

The pattern wasn’t a difficult one per se, but as a beginner in all things dressmaking it was a steep learning curve. I set in sleeves for the first time and learned how to do buttonholes! Can you believe I have had a sewing machine for at least seven years and haven’t ever used the buttonhole foot? What fun it was! I’m going to put buttons on everything now. Cushions will be transformed! Bags will be secure!

I did have some trouble figuring out the pattern instructions for the front  of the blouse. A narrow piece had been removed from the original pattern so I wasn’t sure if I needed to cut out the blouse front including  it or whether that was just for interfacing. In the end I left it as was and it seemed to work out ok. Here it is!


A whale of a time blouse

I think you can see from the pic that my peter pan collar ended up ever so slightly uneven, but it’s more pronounced here than  it is in reality, so I’m going to live with it. Also you can see that one side of the blouse is out of line with the other side in terms of the whale pattern. Again, I’ll live with it – I’m just so pleased to make something I like and would willingly wear! When it came to fitting, my new mini-me came in tremendously useful. So much better than sticking pins in one’s derriere by mistake. I had to take in the seam lines by a half inch through the arms and the sides.

I think this blouse will go beautifully with a pale blue denim I bought from Walthamstow market. It’s very ‘seventies mum’ and will be perfect for another new project – the Colette Patterns Beignet Skirt.

Keef came in for a snoop while we were taking pics so I let him join in.

Keef gets a pet

I’d definitely use this pattern again but I’ll have to remember to snip a half inch off everything. I’d love to add piping to the collar for an even more retro feel. The pattern also came with these gorgeous letter transfers (you can see them in use in View 2 on the pattern envelope). How sweet! I wonder if it’s still possible to use them? The instructions say to iron the transfer onto the fabric, and then simply embroider over them. So sweet…

Transfers that came with the pattern

In other news, I know I promised a tutorial aaaaages ago on how to make a seat pad and I promise I mean to do that this week. I’ve just been getting caught up in clothes. Dressmaking is so much more complicated and intensive – for me anyway – that it kind of drains you of energy to work on anything else! But rest assured – it’s coming soon.

Hope you’re all having lovely weekends. xxx

34 thoughts on “Finished project: A whale of a time blouse

  1. The transfer is most likely a heat transfer. You cut out what you want, hand baste it to whatever you want it on, and then, using the highest heat your fabric can take, “stamp” it. That means you put the iron directly on top of it and hold it there for thirty seconds, minimum. That will transfer the markings for you to then satin stitch it. The transfer usually isn’t permanent, you see. It’s just a guide for where you embroider.

    Laura (who came over from Sew Retro)

      • Wow thank you Laura – that’s ace! My neice has requested a log cabin cushion for her birthday so I could try out the ‘H’ as a centrepiece perhaps. Thanks so much :)

  2. Hi there, I saw your post on Sew Retro and thought I’d pop by and admire your blouse close up. It’s really lovely and what excellent fabric too! Oh and your hair is super cool ;o)

  3. Wow thank you everyone for such lovely comments – what an awesome site sew retro is for getting people to pop by for a visit. Thanks Tilly – love your blog – it’s an inspiration to me! Marie and Radka – thank you so much :) :)

  4. After lurking on here for a few days I feel it is right to tell you how wonderful a) your shirt is b) how cute your cat is and c) your hair has made me jealous. I searched through my pattern stash and I have this pattern!!! I had a moment of joy one only experiences when it sewing or chocolate related. You have inspired me :)

    • Ooh Sara I’m nowhere near good enough to do a clothing tutorial yet! I also made a few mistakes with that pattern that I don’t think would come across well in a tute! I reckon you could probably pick another copy of the pattern up – maybe on ebay or a vintage pattern site? Good luck!

  5. Pingback: Vintage Simplicity 3558 review…. « elationcreations

  6. This is SO darling! I’ve got some lovely cheeky fabrics like this, and I keep thinking that they should be for kids clothes but this is just the inspiration I’ve needed to make something cute for me. Love your style!

  7. such a cute blouse, and it looks really wearable!
    my mother has a huge stash of old patterns, I can’t wait to visit her and go through them again now that I have been re-bitten by the sewing bug (after a +/-10 year hiatus).

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