Although I rarely purchase any Ready-to-Wear (RTW) clothing, I often find it to be a great source of inspiration and ideas for me. (I have written about this before, twice at least). I know I am not alone as often I will see beautiful products of top-notch fashion sewing inspired by RTW. A few years ago on my Instagram feed, I saw a post by Julie Starr (co-author with Sarah Gunn of The Tunic Bible and Classic Sewing) featuring a lovely blouse which she made as a copy of a Gretchen Scott design. I was very taken with it – it was a traditional casual, collared, button-down-the-front blouse, but with a twist. The elbow length sleeves ended in a graceful ruffle rather than the traditional to-the-wrist buttoned cuff. She had made hers in a petite windowpane blue check. It was so fresh and charming, and I kept thinking about it as the months/years went by. When I found a medium pink, cotton, 1” gingham check this past Spring at Farmhouse Fabrics, I knew the time had come to make my yearning a reality.
I used my go-to, tried and true blouse pattern as the base for my copy/re-creation, making several changes to effect the look I wanted.
- I shortened the point and slope of the collar.
- I added very narrow darts to the front, beginning a couple of inches below the bust and continuing into the hem.
- Obviously I shortened the sleeves to accommodate the ruffle.
- And –
I placed the collar band and the yoke on the bias. This aligned with the bias band I used to cover the seam where the ruffle meets the sleeve, as seen above.
It was fun to have to think through the changes that were needed and to mix up that pattern a bit. If I use a pattern over and over, I find it can get a little B O R I N G. This blouse was not boring. After I finished it, I was, however, a little conflicted about it. I don’t wear a lot of ruffles, even casually, and it took a few wearings of this blouse to feel completely comfortable in it. Now I find it fun to wear.
There is one change I will make should I ever make another blouse of the same design. I think I will taper the vertical seam of the sleeve down to the ruffle gradually by about an inch. It may not be obvious to anyone else, but I think the diameter of the sleeve where the ruffle is attached is just a bit too wide.
Most of my summer wardrobe needs are for casual attire, whether I like it or not! I find this blouse has a bit of flair to it, which steps it up a notch while still being casual and easy-to-wear. I guess you could say this blouse progressed from Ready-to-Wear – to a First Copy – to a Copy of the First Copy – to Easy-to-Wear. Many thanks to Julie Starr for the inspired First Copy.