A post by Zoe from So, Zo…What do you know?
The pattern: Elisabeth Blouse from Republique du Chiffon
The fabric: Stardust Double Gauze Atelier Brunette
As you can imagine, being asked to be a Fabric Godmother blogger/ambassador was an honour and a thrill, but having a free choice of pattern and fabric from their extensive inventory left me feeling a bit overwhelmed. By now you’ve probably seen the two previous garments created by Fabric Godmother ambassadors, the breathtaking Pegasus dress by Elisalex and the 70’s jeans perfection by Hannah from New Craft House. Both were incredible and kind of represented opposing ends of the ‘wearability frequency scale’ (that’s a thing, isn’t it?).
My first reaction when posed the question of what to make would be to aim for something deeply practical like the Hannah’s denim Lander pants: a fantastically well-fitting, day-wear garment that would go with everything in my wardrobe and I could wear several times a week. Then I remembered that not only is Christmas right round the corner, but my husband’s 40th birthday will follow shortly after. Celebration plans are afoot. The few times I have had a reason to dress up over the last couple of years, I’ve tended to wear my nicest ‘normal’ clothes and added lipstick. Wouldn’t it be nice, with these two occasions drawing near, to have something more special to wear?
However, my body, tastes, style and, urm, age have changed in the last five years since I started having kids. I’m not sure what the ‘out’ version of Zoe is these days. Who even am I anymore?! I decided to turn to my current style inspirations: the bloggers, Instagrammers, sewing pattern companies and so on that I’ve ‘liked’, ‘favourited’ and saved to my Pinterest boards recently. And they are basically all French.
Fabric Godmother was well positioned to indulge my French fancies (see what I did there?) and I picked the Elisabeth blouse pattern by Republique du Chiffon and the Stardust double gauze in Forest by Atelier Brunette to make it in. The Elisabeth blouse pattern drew me in with its Victorian-style pie-crust collar, and the delicate gathers into the neckline and shoulder yokes. As for my fabric choice: I’ve seen so many French pattern companies and bloggers use double gauze generally, and this Atelier Brunette one specifically, that I knew it would give me the look I’m dreaming of and a new experience of sewing with a fabric I hadn’t previously worked with.
Making this project was lots of fun. The loose fit through the body meant that a lot of potential garment fitting headaches were side stepped entirely. The pattern seems very well drafted, and the instructions are clear, if a little brief. It’s worth mentioning that the pattern pieces require tracing and seam allowance adding, and this, combined with all those gathers and rouleau button loops mean this probably isn’t the pattern to reach for if you plan to wear the finished garment that evening!
The fabric was a dream to sew with. Double gauze has a looser weave than many other types of cotton, and I was concerned that it might easily stretch out or fray a lot. But with gentle handling, neither seemed to occur during the cutting or construction process. And as luck would have it, I had the perfect little gold ball buttons lurking in my stash. They are the exact same shade of gold as the embroidered spots on the fabric.
Seeing as this was my first ambassador project, I felt that the stakes were a bit higher with this project than most of my usual makes, and I prayed to the sewing gods for a successful result! I was relieved to discover, as I tried this blouse on for the first time, just how much I love it. It’s swishier and floatier than the version on the pattern envelope appears, and I’m enjoying that volume. But mainly I’m enamoured by the whole neck/shoulder area: the perfect proportions of that pie-crust collar and the delicate gathers into, and angles of, the shoulder yokes.
And let’s talk about the golden sparkles. I’ve never really been a ‘sparkly’ dresser, and my wardrobe contains zero sequins or glitz. In fact, I’ve always inwardly cringed as the ‘festive’ clothing starts to appear in the shops around November each year. Yet, I’ve often wondered what a sparkly outfit for someone who doesn’t wear sparkles would look like. This blouse is the answer!