Contrary to my post at the start of the year, I did actually have a bit of a think about some goals for 2017. One of these was to “just bloody use it”. I have so many lengths of fabric in my stash that I don’t end up using because they somehow become precious, and I get too scared to waste or ruin them. Or maybe they aren’t precious particularly, but I still don’t use because I need to muslin first and I don’t have similar weight muslining fabric, so I end up not using the fabric at all. I’ve spent too long thinking and talking and writing about various methods to reduce my stash, so a change of mindset might be a better approach. Fabric is just fabric at the end of the day. I might not be able to buy that exact substrate/print combination again, but I can pretty much guarantee I’ll find something that’s just as good!
Anyway, this top is one of those instances where I got over myself and “just bloody used it”. I was given this fabric by Danielle of One Small Stitch nearly 4 years ago!!! 2013 was a fairly shitty year for us – my husband was sacked, then reinstated under different (rubbish) Ts&Cs, I had my second miscarriage after trying to get pregnant for 10 months, and my job was outsourced and I was under threat of redundancy. Danielle sent me the fabric to cheer me up, which was the most lovely thing ever! I think I had been looking for a 1 inch black and white gingham in 100% cotton, although I can’t for the life of me remember what I wanted it for. She found some and sent it to me. Of course, it them immediately became precious! I mean, she’d paid good money not only to buy the fabric, but to ship it halfway across the world too! I couldn’t ruin it!!!! The pressure!!!
But this is the year that I got over the fear. There is a fair bit of gingham in the shops right now, which reminded me that I owned this fabric. I then saw bell sleeves on something which reminded me that I owned this pattern, and I thought the two would be pretty perfect together. As it turned out, I didn't own the pattern, but I do now. This is the Stockholm blouse by Atelier Scammit. It’s a raglan sleeved, boxy blouse with bust darts and 2 versions – I made the first with ¾ sleeves with a flounce or bell sleeve. The second version is long sleeves with a gathered peplum. I discovered it via Jolie Bobbins and it was free for a while last year. I am 99.9% sure that I downloaded it at the time, but I now cannot find it anywhere, so I paid the 8 euros for the PDF.
The instructions are only in French. I used a combination of 2nd year at Uni level French plus Google Translate and the Liesl & Co sewing translator app (which I didn’t find to be that great, actually), to decipher the instructions, and then ignored them. I found the construction order odd, and overly complicated. They have you sew the front and back together at the sides, make the sleeves and then set the sleeves in. In a raglan? Why? That sounds like a nightmare to do. In case you are interested in making this, but can’t be bothered to translate the instructions, here’s what I did. If you've made the Linden, you can make this:
- [Edited to add] Firstly, if you are making the PDF version, you will need to stick them together. DON'T cut off the borders. You are meant to stick the pages edge to edge, as they are, and then draw in the bit of the pattern that is missing.
- Stay stitch the neckline on all 4 pieces (front back and the top of each sleeve).
- Pleat the sleeve flounce with inverted box pleats and then attached this to the bottom of the sleeve.
- Sew the sleeves to the front and back bodice pieces at the raglan. There are no markings to denote the front or the back of the sleeve, but I figured out that the side with the more pronounced L shape at the bottom of the raglan was the front. This is on the right if the pattern piece is face up (see photo below).
- Sew the sleeve seam and the side seam as one, from cuff to hem.
- Face the neck with bias. I used the Grainline Scout tee instructions to do this, using 1 inch wide bias tape, but I think I might have messed up the SA that was meant to be used at the neck. As a result the neckline only *just* gets over my head. After reviewing the pattern, it suggests a 1cm SA at the neck, whereas I probably only took about half that.
- Hem the sleeves and bottom. The pattern suggests turning 6mm twice, but I actually turned ¼ inch, then ¾ inches. I felt that the sleeves were a bit long as drafted and I also felt that the top needed a chunkier hem in my opinion.
- From what I could figure out, the pattern suggests using French seams (ironically not called that – they weren’t called anything, they were just described). I did French seam the cuff onto the sleeve but the rest I just sewed at a 12mm SA and overlocked the raw edges.
The pattern comes with high and low bust darts, so you can choose which works for you, which is great, but it didn’t say how to determine which to choose. I did it by holding the pattern piece against me and ignoring my ego, went for the lower of the 2, which is actually bang on perfect for me. In fact, the fit all over is pretty spot on. I think the sleeves could be a little shorter – they are somewhere between ¾ sleeve and full length – but that’s personal preference rather than fit. My measurements put me in between a 36 and a 38 for my bust, just over the 38 for my waist and bang on the 38 for my hips, so I made the 38, and I'm pretty happy with the fit. It's maybe a bit looser fitting than I had imagined, but it's very comfortable, and I honestly think I'd struggle to get a smaller size on as there are no fastenings.
The fabric is lovely and perfect with the pattern. It has quite an open weave, so frays a lot, but it’s lovely to wear. As you can see my pattern matching attempts went a bit awry. Its fine at the side seams but I seriously went off at the raglan seam. Not sure what happened there, but I’m over it. Due to the pleats I couldn’t match the pattern on the cuffs to the sleeves, but I did try to think about pattern placement and to continue the line of boxes that went down the middle of the sleeve.II'm actually pretty proud of myself for even thinking of that. I used plain white bias binding, made from an old shirt of Paul’s for the neckline, as I thought the gingham might show through. I also handstitched the bias binding down to give a clean finish.
I feel like I've been quite critical of this pattern, but actually it's well drafted and very easy to make. My preference for how to construct it was different to what they described but that's not to say their method wouldn't have worked. I would absolutely recommend this pattern as I think there is a lot of scope with it. They suggest an optional button and loop opening at the back neck, and also provide brief instructions on how to hack the neckline to different shapes and also how to hack the pattern into a dress, which would be lovely. So yeah, I definitely see a future for Stockholm and I. I just need to check what other suitable fabrics I can "just bloody use"! :)