When I finished this blouse and put it on for the first time I proclaimed that I was never going to wear anything else ever again. After some concerned looks from the boyfriend I clarified that I would wear trousers and skirts as well… Seriously though, this is definitely my favourite ever me-made and I’ve loved a fair number of ’em..The pattern is the Mimi blouse from Tilly’s Love At First Stitch, which I treated myself to a little while ago. The pattern is printed overlapping to save on paper, so you have to trace it. I didn’t find this a problem though, with physical patterns I like to keep the original intact anyway, so I trace onto swedish tracing paper. The only alteration I made to the pattern while tracing was to grade from a size 6 waist to a size 7 at the hips to give those curves some room. I’ve mentioned before a fear of upper body fitting because it’s so often disastrous, but this blouse fits nicely straight off the pattern. It’s quite loose, so if you like a more fitted look you might want to go down a size, but for me this was a perfect summery shape.
As always with Tilly’s patterns, there were lovely, clear, friendly instructions and photos. I did do some of it out of order though – I waited to sew up the side seams until the collar and neckline facing were sewn in and similarly, with the sleeves I attached the facing before the under arm seam. I think this made it a bit easier to sew, but I’m sure there’s not a huge differece. This is my first (successful) collar and it was a breeze with the instructions in the book.
The fabric is a lovely drapey cotton I picked up in my local haberdashery, Masons in Abingdon. It’s really soft and airy, perfect for summer blouses and very easy to work with.
Let’s talk buttons. These were fairly expensive at 70p a pop – so much so that the guy in the shop asked me if I was sure I wanted 12 of them. I was sure. I didn’t have a Mimi in mind, but I knew they needed to be in my stash for the perfect occasion. Imagine my delight when I realised that they were exactly the same size as the spots on this material, oh yes! I am mightily pleased that I managed to get them all lined up over a spot so they blend into the pattern.
I didn’t attempt much in the way of pattern matching on most of the blouse, but I’ve attempted to across the front. The buttons work well, but sadly I cut one side slightly wonky, so I couldn’t get the pattern lined up perfectly across the join right at the top. It does go into alignment further down, however when I wear it the fabric obviously moves around anyway, so I guess I’m never going to get that seamless look.
There was one minor drama with this blouse, which is that my buttonholer stopped working again. I had a problem with it quite soon after buying the machine where it would only make tiny buttonholes the size of a grain of rice. Yes, I had put a button in the buttonhole foot and yes, the buttonhole lever was down. After a couple of months of hand sewing buttonholes and trying to find the answer online I took it into the shop, where they found a bent spring inside the mechanism, so thankfully it wasn’t me being an idiot like most of the problems I’ve had. Anyway, they didn’t have a spare spring, but bent it back and hey presto, it’s worked fine ever since. Until, that is, I put my precious almost-finished Mimi blouse under the needle! I had done several test buttonholes and was ploughing ahead with the real thing when old buttonholer decided he didn’t want to play ball again. I unpicked, pulled the lever up and down and did another test buttonhole, which worked fine. I then managed to do 3 buttonholes on the blouse before it packed up again and more unpicking ensued. Anyway, I managed to get the buttonholes in, so disaster averted, but I am gonna have to get that properly fixed before I make another blouse! Have you had this problem before? Maybe I should only buy tiny mouse buttons and then it won’t matter.
And what do I think now the initial excitement has worn off? Yep, still absolutely love it. I’m going to make Mimi blouses in all of the fabrics.