Wednesday, March 28, 2012

mommy and girl

When I was a little girl I loved dressing my dolls like me.  I guess that hasn’t changed because I have officially made mother-daughter tops!

Here we have Simplicity 1879, the Lisette Souvenir blouse and its inspiration, the Oliver and S Picnic blouse. I fell for the picnic blouse the minute it debuted last spring and it’s quickly becoming one of those pieces I make every season. (Remember the cozy flannel version for winter play?)  So it’s no wonder that I also really liked the grown up version Liesl revealed a few weeks ago. I ran out almost right away to buy up all the new Lisette patterns. That Friday, I found this deep butter yellow linen at my new fav store on Fabric Row. It’s a medium weight but it has a very open weave. I put the blouse together over the weekend with very little fuss.

Normally, I don’t love square necks, but the rounded yoke softens this one a little. The finished bust is generous, but I could see it needed a little design ease to hang properly. Rather than a proper FBA, I simply added an inch to the center front by placing the pattern a half inch from the fold. Then I pulled the gathers up a little more to fit. I also added a lot of length to both the sleeves and the hem. This top is designed to hit at the high hip, but I don’t like to worry about exposing my muffin top while I’m wrangling squirmy little ones!  I also added length in the sleeves so they end at a narrow part of my forearm rather than the widest. I suggest you check the finished measurements before cutting. A quick tissue fit should do it.
In short, I like the pattern very much. It is a forgiving and flattering top with a casual but feminine shape that skims over wobbly bits. The gathers softly accentuate the bust and the wide neckline really opens up the face. The back neck is low, which will be very comfortable on sticky summer days.

The finishing of this top is indeed clever! You’ll have to read the instructions for yourself, maybe even a few times as I did, but essentially, the yoke facing encases the yoke seam and the upper raglan sleeve seams. The shoulders are finished with bias, like the picnic blouse. Rather than elastic, seams at the top of the sleeves give the blouse shape at the shoulders. I made French seams at the sides and sleeves and then set the sleeves in the round so that I could press the French seams in opposite directions where they met at the underarm. This reduced the bulk and allowed me to bind the lower armscye seams with a lightweight voile. This fabric was a little on the heavy side for French seams, but the open weave raveled so very much that it was the only option.

Kitty’s fabric is a very fine cotton shirting I found a few weeks before at the same shop. I finished her Picnic Blouse the same way. It was a little trickier with the elastic, but ultimately the best thing. I didn’t have to clip the elastic short because it was encased by the yoke facing and I had some extra stitching to keep it in place. The elastic in my winter versions pulled out and was impossible to fix. This won’t happen here!

I dressed us up like this for a playdate last Friday afternoon in the hopes that maybe a certain talented photographer might offer to snap a few pics. Can you believe these were taken amidst the chaos of *six* small children running around? Thanks, Amanda!


  1. These are just adorable together! Well done.

  2. I love your linen version of this top! And the mother-daughter tops are so sweet!

  3. I wonder if you'd offer me a little guidance? If I do the bust adjustment as you did, what measurement do I use to choose the proper size pattern to cut? I think I'll add the inch you did in the front and also add to the length as you did. Any suggestions would be so appreciated.

  4. Elizabeth, you should chose the size based on your high bust measurement, erring toward the smaller size if you are in between. Then check the finished bust measurement for that size and compare that to your full bust to determine how much you want to add. Like all Simplicity patterns, this one has a lot of ease built in. However, it is designed to be loose fitting, so I think you really do need some ease for it to hang properly.