Shannon's Gibson Girl Blouse
I think it’s safe to say for most of us we all have a sewing project or two that becomes an aspiration or a goal. For some that might be the perfect pair of jeans, a beautifully tailored jacket, but for me it was the Gibson Girl Blouse by Folkwear Patterns with the lace inserts and pin tucks. I first saw this blouse made up by Heather Lou from Closet Core Patterns and it was love at first sight, but at that point in my sewing journey it seemed too daunting and out of my current skill level. So I had put it out of my mind, until recently I saw a YouTube video on the blouse being created and I became determined it was time to try.
I was amazed and so excited when Trin took a chance on me and my blog idea for the Gibson Girl Blouse. It felt overly ambitious, but I had time off from work over the Christmas break and I really wanted to try my skills. I was gifted the raw silk noil and it is a lovely fabric. For a silk, this is a robust feeling fabric, it has a nice amount of weight to it but, isn’t heavy. The fabric has a lovely slubby texture. While it doesn’t look like it, it’s such a soft and drapey fabric. I also like the fact that silk noil is made from the left overs of silk production.
Making this blouse was a great challenge. I really enjoyed the process, but it also made me question my sanity, pretty much the entire time I was constructing it. I took my time with planing and marking out the lines. My occasional perfectionist tendencies did come out with this make, I am not sure how many times I redid the pin tucks on the front yoke, but I think in the end it was worth it. I had to do the image in my head, the pattern and the fabric justice. I’m normally a pretty quick sewer, so it was good to have a project to encourage or more accurately enforce me to slow down. The lace insertion especially, is not something you can rush.
I followed the instructions for construction pretty much word for word, but I did make some changes as I went along. I used the guide for the lines for the placement of the lace and the pin tucks on the yoke. I have seen some blouses where people take full creative license with their lace placement, part of me wishes I had been that confident to make it my own, but I’m awfully grateful for the guidance. I wasn’t going to insert the lace on my sleeves, but after stitching it on to the yoke and the bodice I felt it would be a shame not to have the lace, on the sleeves as well. Half way through cutting the fabric away from the lace, then ironing and securing the trimmed fabric to the lace I kind of regretted that decision. I did skip the pin tucks on the bodice of the blouse, but I don’t feel like they are a feature that is missed. I did intend to include them, but after I placed my lace I was happy with how things were looking. I decided to use the ribbon I had ordered because I liked the look of it, to make the collar, I initially used the collar pattern piece for a size guide and stitched the collar, two ribbons wide. When I tried my blouse on the collar felt too high for me, so I ended up making the collar one ribbon high. Instead of finishing the sleeves with a cuff made from fabric, I decided to put the ribbon on the sleeves, as the cuff. The ribbon on the collar and the cuffs creates a pretty detail and the bonus of not needing to sew the collar myself. I did cheat a little and used my overlocker for seam finishes and did not French seam.
The most nerve wracking part of it all, was the button holes. I had uncharacteristically created a toile for the blouse and with my toile, the button holes had pulled the fabric significantly out of shape. The instructions do not include interfacing the placket, but I did add a strip the length of the blouse. I also did a line of top stitching very close to the folded edge. My button holes worked well no fabric being pulled out of shape. I did have one problematic button hole which required unpicking, but that’s more to do with the fact my machine is very particular with its automatic button holes. I will admit I did accidentally stitch that problematic button hole in the wrong spot, however, I managed to fix that with no tears- it was close as I had cut the button hole in my fabric already. I carefully unpicked the wrong button hole, trimmed and tidied the raw edge, interfered and did a small narrow zig zag stitch over the hole. My new button hole covered some of the error and a little bit of fray stoppa made me feel much more in control. If I hadn’t confessed to my error, you really wouldn’t be any the wiser, the great texture of the silk noil helps hide my crime! I had survived (barely) creating the button holes! Finishing touches for my blouse had me sewing on some vintage buttons I had ordered from Etsy, which suited the colour of the silk noil to perfection.
I’m so happy with how my blouse turned out, I really loved working with the silk noil and it feels like a lovely fabric to be wearing. Can I see areas for improvement? Yes, it wasn’t all smooth sailing (think the button hole error and I might have knicked my lace in one spot, while trimming my fabric away - but you can’t see that, so it doesn’t matter!) I managed to take on my sewing dream project and I did succeed.
Now if only I could find lace in a shade to match the emerald green silk noil, I’d do it all again!!!