The Good, The Bad, The Ugly


Let's start with the good.

I rarely work in Seattle but when I do it usually involves me complaining because I hate commuting and being away from home longer than I have to.  But then Drygoods Design moved their store to downtown Seattle and suddenly having to go to Seattle seems more like a gift than a pain in the butt.  No more complaining from me.

My husband - who usually has to listen to all my complaining - thanks you.

So I made my first trip to Drygoods Design a couple of weeks ago and picked up this lovely yarn dyed cotton lawn.  It's soft and light and the most beautiful color, but it's not overly sheer which is always my biggest concern with lawns.  I bought two yards not knowing quite what I was going to do with it, but it only took me a day or two to settle on Pauline Alice's Carme blouse.  I had never heard of this pattern maker until I came across a version of this blouse online, but I'm usually a year behind most things so that's no big surprise.  The pattern is probably more involved than most simple things that I make, but she has a sewalong on her blog so I figured that I would have a little help if I got stuck.  I have to say that when I first saw that the sewalong was made up of videos I kind of thought it would be a pain in the butt to turn to them for help, but they were actually really helpful in explaining some of the steps.  Apparently, I'm a visual learner.  Who knew?

As for the pattern, I cut out my recommended size but I added an inch to the length of the body because I'm perpetually worried about shirts coming out too short.  I also added1/2 of an inch to the length of the sleeves because some people noted that they wished that the sleeves were a bit longer.  Adding the length to the body was most likely overkill because it probably would have been a good length without the added inch, but better safe than sorry I suppose.  As for other fit issues, in looking at my handmade tops lately I'm beginning to think that I should be making some alternation to the back/shoulder area because it's a little tighter than I would prefer it to be when moving around.  One day I need to take the time to really understand fit and alterations.

That day, however, is not today.

I love the little pleats on the shirt and the fact that the pattern has you pleat a square of fabric and then cut the pattern piece out of the pleated fabric.  This way it doesn't matter if your pleats aren't perfect - your pattern piece will still be the right size.  Ingenious!  In putting the shirt together there were two moments that left me scratching my head, but the videos helped a lot with figuring things out.  I will say that I prefer Grainline Studio's explanation for making the sleeve placket, but that may just be a personal preference.

As for the sleeves, I debated about adding the tabs so that they can be rolled up since I'm perpetually cold and will probably always  have my sleeves down but in the end I figured that I'd try them out just for fun and I'm really happy that I did.  I love the little added detail and I love the look with the sleeves rolled up.  Honestly, I'm super-excited that this is such a wearable shirt - both for work and for home.

But now for the ugly - my fabric marking pen has decided to revolt against me and has bleached out little bits of fabric where I marked it for the pleats.  You can barely see it in these photos, but you'll have to trust me that there are little bleached out dots running across the pleats.  The good news is that I feel like the old me would have thrown a total hissy fit about it, but nowadays I'm too tired for such antics.  Mostly I just let out a big groan.

But help me out here, people.  What do you recommend for fabric marking?  Because I have a feeling that me and this pen are on the outs.


  1. Looks like lovely fabric and I like idea of pleating the fabric and then cutting out the pattern piece. I hate fabric marking pens (they were always drying out on me, or not washing out) and I use a sewline fabric pencil and swear by it ;o)

  2. Looks comfortable. Looks like a perfect fall transition piece! Good job.

  3. You are just so, so lovely!

  4. I've had good luck with the Sewline pencils, also. Lovely shirt! Some day I WILL make me one. I love this one and the others you've been making (I can't think of the name, but you know what I mean). Oh, it's called Tova!

  5. It looks grand! I love the sewline pencils (they have a range of lead colours depending on the fabric colour) I also use Frixion pens a lot because a quick iron out makes it even faster than rubbing out the sewline marks. I'm very lazy...

  6. Good looking shirt! The old staple for me is chalk. The old tailors squares or there are those new pencil chalks. Those will always come out. You could try marking on the back or seam allowance for pleats if you don't want to launder before wearing. But if you do it lightly they rub off. I'm still not 100% convinced about the long term effects of frixion. For pleats I just mark the edges, pin, iron and baste or pin until they are sewn.

  7. The shirt looks divine. I have a similar Japanese pattern but the yoke is so much narrower and I think this wider one would suit my broad shoulders much better. You look beautiful!
    I also gave up on the fabric pens due to non washing out (pale silver corduroy dress was close to ruined) and I love the Sewline mechanical pencils too. Only problem is they don't mark so well on wools or more textured fabrics. I'm tempted to have a chalk liner for those kind of fabrics in addition to the pencil.

  8. Oh, it's really lovely! And I think the length looks perfect on you. What a pain about the fabric pen! I have been using Frixion markers a lot lately (the pink shows up on almost anything) but otherwise I have a set of coloured fabric chalk pencils (cheap, from years ago) that are still chugging along, if I can find any of them. I have also been known to grab a washable Crayola marker from Clem's desk, although I don't know whether ironing might render them unwashable.

  9. What a cute shirt! love the pleats. The marking pen - how annoying! i havent really figured out myself what to use. generally tailor's chalk works, but then you can't make tiny dots with it. At least I am incapable of that. sorry no help, here.

  10. I love this blouse on you!! It's perfect! Wanty want! I use a white chalk or quilters pencil for marking, and it reliably comes out of the fabric - usually right before you needed to see it. Haha! You can't win! I am excited to try some of the options listed here, though!

  11. this is goooooorgeous!!! i want it so bad. so yeah, if the bleach dots bug you too much, just mail the whole thing on down to portland and i'll give it a good home. ;P never heard of that patternmaker either!

    my folks went to a mariners game a couple weeks ago and stopped by the new drygoods for me - i've GOT to get up there!! it looks amazing.


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