Papercut · Tops

Papercut Flutter Blouse

I’ve recently been overcome with sewing fever. Owing to the fact that I’m still on maternity leave & my almost-grade-2 kiddo has just been on 7 interminable weeks of summer school holidays, I’ve been selfishly looking for something to do that is all about me and not my kids! I became a bit obsessed with reading sewing blogs and pattern-maker websites, in the search for that ‘just-right’ pattern, scouring every corner of the interwebz in the process.  It’s not like it was my last ever chance to sew an item of clothing. It’s just that, with an unpredictable 6 month old in the house, I couldn’t be sure how long it would take me to actually finish a project.  I wanted results and I wanted good ones, hence the tireless search for “the one”.

On my short-list was April Rhodes’ The Staple Dress, the Sewaholic Saltspring dress, and the Out and About dress by Sew Caroline. I loved them all (and will keep all 3 on my to-buy list), but there was something about each pattern that held me back…. I wasn’t sure that my skills were up to the waist shirring required for the Staple dress; I don’t like wearing bras under spaghetti straps (Saltspring); and the Out & About dress is designed for knits and good, cheap knit fabric is really hard to come by in Australia.

During my period of indecision, I headed back to the Papercut Patterns website to see if a new collection had been released.  I actually have a few Papercut patterns already (who doesn’t) – Anima Pants, the Riegel Bomber and the Undercover hoody.  I’ve only made the bomber jacket up once, and I don’t love the style on me so will possibly never make this again. But the other 2 are definite staples in my wardrobe.  The funny thing about Papercut is that I really dislike the styling on their website .  There’s something about the combination of the colour palette, the chosen fabrics, the model’s pose and the shortness of all the tops/dresses that really doesn’t appeal to me.  However, when I search through the posted pics of ‘me-made’ versions, I love what I see.  I’m pretty sure that I’d seen the Chameleon collection previously but obviously wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate the pattern range. On closer inspection I found that I was quickly falling in love with most of it. I had found my chosen pattern-maker, but which pattern to choose!! Would I really wear the flutter tunic and blouse, in all it’s fluttery, sexy shortness? Or would I be better off with the practicality of the rise and fall turtlenecks?  Oh but those Guise pants…..I could work them in so many different fabrics…… But hang-on, the Yo-Yo dress! Versatility in being able to make it a skirt or a dress….. I do love my patterns to have options.

In the end, I sprung for the Rise & Fall turtlenecks, and the Flutter Tunic patterns. A bit of sensibility tempered by a bit of sass.  In order to save a little cash I ordered the pdf versions of both patterns, but have since vowed never to do that again. I love the presentation and packaging of the papercut patterns so much and for the extra $8NZD, it is really and truly not worth the effort of downloading, printing out and farting around with the roll of sticky tape for 4 hours trying to stick it all together.  Next time, its the free shipped, beautifully packaged $25 hardcopy version for me thank you very much.

That said, next up was fabric selections to make up these new beauties.  I ventured to a new (well, new for me anyway) fabric shop in Adelaide called Catwalk Fabrics.  To say that I miss Melbourne’s fabric stores would be an understatement, and in the last few weeks since the fever took over, there were more than a few moments when I thought about booking a flight so that I could pay a visit to The Fabric Store in Brunswick Street, and Tessuti in the city.  Alas, that would have meant less $$ for the fabric.  But Catwalk was hardly disappointing, it’s a very small privately run little store that punches way above it’s weight in terms of high quality fabrics at reasonable-ish prices.  Unfortunately they don’t yet have their online store up and running so its old-skool style buying only. I lashed out on 2 fabrics which were both priced at $28/metre – one a linen and the other is a cotton woven with a stunning pink, black & cream print, and that’s the one I ended up using for my first version of the Flutter Blouse.

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So on to the details.  Probably just as well I don’t have so much to say about this pattern, since I’ve written half an essay already.  The Flutter Blouse was a pleasure to sew.  There was nothing that stumped me from a technical sewing perspective.  It was all really quite simple, and that’s why I found it such an enjoyable, unfrustrating sew.  The reward though is beyond what I expected from an essentially basic set of sewing techniques.

What I love about the Flutter Blouse pattern:

  • the drop shoulder – actually very similar shape and cut to the Fall Turtleneck shoulder. If fitted well, it sits beautifully and looks great;
  • the deep v at the back is a little bit sexy
  • the gentle downwards slope from front hem to back hem
  • the split at the back is a nice touch
  • of course, the cute fluttery sleeves (in this version I’ve gone for the short sleeve option).
  • This baby comes together from only 0.8m of fabric!! Winning!

What I don’t love:

  • the length – I find most of the papercut patterns too short for my liking. A slight raise of my arms exposes my mid-drift, and that’s not so cool at my stage of life! This is easily remedied however with a pattern adjustment. My fault for being impatient and cutting straight into the good fabric before doing a muslin!
  • although the sleeve is cute, that bell shape means that you can see the wrong side of the fabric and the inside of the hem. I overlocked then turned under about 0.5cm, but it really needed to be a double turnover to look neat enough.
  • Too much width – I followed the measurement chart and I was somewhere between an XS and a M. So I went with S through the body but cut a M sleeve as I have quite square shoulders and need the extra width of the M. As it’s turned out, the top overall is VERY roomy on me. I really could have done with an XS through the main body, as the split hem at the back naturally drapes out anyway.

On closer inspection, there is too much fabric between the front of the armscye and the apex of my breast – I almost need another dart in at that level.  Perhaps this means I need to do a small bust adjustment? I’ve never done one before but I might do a bit of research now to see if this would solve the problem of too much fabric.

Having said all of that, I wore my top out to eat waffles in Glenelg today, and felt good in it. I think I’ll get some decent wear out of it in this hot Adelaide weather.  I’d love to think that I could wear it to work with a pair of black pants when I eventually go back later this year, but the back might be a tad risque for the office?? Perhaps with a thin black merino layer underneath it would pass as acceptable office attire.

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I’ve since spotted this same fabric in a blue colourway on the Tessuti website. I couldn’t track down the name of it, but I seriously love it. Before I spotted the blue version made up in a skirt, I had been thinking that the fabric weight & drape would work well as a skirt, so it took me ages to take the plunge with my scissors and cut into it for this top pattern.  What do you think, did I make the right fabric+pattern marriage?

And yes, I’m waaaaay overdue for a haircut. Sorry peeps for subjecting you to my god-awful mop.

Garment Cost: Fabric $20 Notions $0

Pattern Cost per make: $17 – this is the first make!

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