Simplicity 1941 In Chambray

Simplicity blouseDoes anyone remember The Dress That Just Wasn’t That Into Me? Some readers were kind to me in the face of adversity, but there was no denying – I’d created a sack and wasted some lovely dot chambray, bought from The Village Haberdashery.

This made me sad – until I realised I had some fabric left over in my stash. I was just able to eek out a second Simplicity 1941 from the remains. I kept everything simple (no contrasting thread or buttons) in the hope of creating a blouse that will go with almost anything. Can’t beat a classic!

I think this experience is what we call a salutary lesson. Part of sewing success is understanding which fabric suits which make. Chambray – blouses, not dresses! Lesson learnt.

Cuff detail

You can see the pleated sleeve heads much better in this fabric. I also added the sleeve bands omitted from my last make and added a simple embroidery detail on the cuff. Why bother with sleeve bands? They stop your sleeve hems from curling up! Ask me how I know…

A few construction tips on this blouse:

  • The button band is described as ‘self interfaced’. Ignore this – it makes for some shoddy buttonholes. Second time around, I added fusible interfacing.
  • The first button is positioned very close to the top edge of the button band. On both makes, this meant my machine didn’t have enough fabric to grip and fouled up buttonholes. My recommendation is to forego this buttonhole. You’re never going to button your blouse up right to the collar.
  • I basted my sleeves in and was really glad I did. One of them was perfect, the other less so. My less-than-perfect sleeve was ripped out and repositioned. Basting stitches saved me a lot of frustration.

That’s it! What are you sewing this weekend? And have you learnt a salutary sewing lesson recently?

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34 Responses to Simplicity 1941 In Chambray

  1. Nilla says:

    This sure is a classic! I’m sure it will get lots of wear. I _always_ struggle with choosing the right fabric for the right project. I seem to have an odd love for fabrics with too much body…

  2. Natalie says:

    This blouse looks like it is a classic for the wardrobe! This weekend I’m tackling a Butterick 3664 and it is certainly testing my patience! Enjoyed piecing the bodice and skirt together but facing the neck and armholes is proving to be difficult! They just won’t lie flat…..I think perserverance is the key 🙂

  3. Rebecca says:

    Love this blouse! I can see me making a pattern purchase here, it just looks great!

  4. Bobbi says:

    Beautiful top! it looks great and you will get loads of wear out of it.

  5. Ros says:

    Chambray makes great shirt-dresses. I think the Staple Dress is actually just not that flattering on most people. It looks like it would be comfy and easy to wear, but it hasn’t got much shape to it.

  6. My ability to match fabrics to patterns I’d still pretty hit and miss. Love this combination, looks great on you.

  7. SeeKatSew says:

    I agree with Ros – shirtdresses are great for chambray, and you dot chambray would look fantastic as one. I am still not the best at matching fabrics with my patterns it seams to be a never ending learning curve. I love this shirt, you will get a lot of wear out of it.

  8. Philippa says:

    Yes I agree. Perfect pattern and fabric combination, and thank you for the tips. Ever since I saw your last version I have been having a very strong yearning to make one of these for myself!

  9. This is lovely. I really love the fabric too. Seeing this has really shifted this pattern up a few places in the to-do pile. Thanks for the tip re: interfacing.

  10. katemcivor says:

    I love the top, and I really need that fabric!

  11. Claire says:

    Thank you! I have some lovely chambray eyeing me and couldn’t decide what would be best. Now I’m just going to copy you!

  12. That fabric is to die for! I’m just about to cut my first Emery Dress in a denim-linen mix. I’m feeling optimistic after tackling my first FBA!!

  13. This is a pattern fabric match made in heaven. Those sleeves- swoon! I’m still at the learning stage of what fabric will do what. Though I have a c.1970 book that gives details on how to recognise different fabrics and what they are most suited to and I’m trying to learn these project saving gems.

  14. Liz says:

    That is a lovely blouse! I love the embroidery detail on the cuffs.

    I have sewn a kimono-style shirt this weekend. In the process I learnt that when I very carefully top stitch (I was so proud of my straight, parallel lines), I need to double-check I’m sewing in the right place before I start!

  15. This is such a classic shirt. Glad you were able to get more use out of the fabric. I have been sewing the Armistice blouse this weekend, learning much about pintucking and lace, preparing myself to sew it up properly into my wedding dress

  16. Fadanista says:

    Thank you. I’m in Singapore eyeing off some lovely dotted chambray which I was considering for a shirt dress. I might just make the shirt now. I love your shirt and the embroidery on the cuffs – very elegant. Not sewing because I’m in Singapore, but I am knitting a stunning jumper (well the design is stunning, time will tell whether the knitting is stunning!).

  17. senjiva says:

    I like the blouse. The dots are subtle. Lesson: I hate doing wedding dresses. I say yes and every time it results in anxiety, heartache, and both emotional and financial regret on my part.

  18. monica L. says:

    Oh wow, this definitely suits you better than the dress! I love this fabric, and it looks like you did an excellent job constructing this 🙂

  19. Nikki says:

    The blouse is lovely. I think most of us have ‘wasted’ lovely fabric on an unsuitable make, but it’s a less frustrating if you can salvage enough from the wreckage for a better make.

  20. Ingrid K. says:

    Hi! Good for you, well done! I feel it’s all a bit of a learning process, and often a so-called ‘fail’ is not a fail, but just a stepping stone for something better next time round! It looks great on you, that colour really suits you!
    Have a great week!
    Ingrid xx

  21. Jackie Sorich says:

    Lovely work, style and color look great on you. Years ago I hated to baste, learned I hated to rip out more, now basting is my friend. Your comments about the process and patterns is always very helpful and insightful. Thanks!

  22. LinB says:

    Oh, a simple blouse, but with understated details that you’d never find in rtw! Be still, my fainting heart. Great make. Salutary lesson from this corner of the world? Try on the dad-blasted shirt before you attach the collar band and do two rows of topstitching, Mrs. Barnes. You KNOW that your forward shoulder position means that you (nearly) always have to scoop out an inch or so to accommodate your head, you silly old woman.

    As to the problem about the top buttonhole: have you tried approaching it from the other side? That is, with the bulk of your garment inside the harp of your machine, and the collar bits in front of the buttonholer instead of behind it? You have to do a bit of calculating to make sure the buttonhole lies in the right place on the band, but no more than if you are shoving the button band under there with the bulk of your garment on the table, as per usual.

  23. Great blouse. Love the fabric. I’d like to make a suggestion to make that top button hole easier. Step 1: get a hammer. Step 2: hammer the crap out the edge of that collar band (do this on a scrap piece of wood, or a surface you don’t mind denting). I find it’s the bulk of the seams there that prevents my machine from properly grabbing the fabric. You can also start the button hole from the other direction. I’ve also used my hammer to make belt loop applications a million times easier. Watch your fingers!!

    • LinB says:

      Hammers are essential tools for stitchers. Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. I use my hammer on the seams of blue jeans at the hem edge, too, to flatten them enough for the presser foot to go over.

  24. liza jane says:

    Perfect! Chambray and blouses are definitely a good combo. Although I liked your chambray dress, too.

  25. velosewer says:

    A lovely blouse in a good fabric like this is awesome. You have made the right decisions to get to this point. I’ve been lagging adding buttonholes on a double knit jacket. My lazy brain says “don’t bother”. My sewing brain say “hurry up and interface this jacket for some decent buttonholes”. You’ve convinced me to go with my sewing brain advice.

  26. It looks like the perfect blouse from here. Beautiful fabric, and the embroidery adds just the right touch to it.
    My lesson for the day is that stabilising the neckline of a jacket is a good idea 🙂

  27. helen says:

    I love the decorative stitching on the sleeve. I’ve only just bothered to start using the more decorative stitches on my machine after having problems with a jersey twin needle hem and I’ve now used two different stitches which give a great result.
    My lesson learnt last week was pattern drafting and not sewing… I was drafting a skirt and instead of starting from scratch based it on something only slightly similar, I knew whilst I was doing it I should spend more time and get it right. Anyway, I wasted an evening on the pattern and an evening on the toile which turned out to be a really bad fit.

  28. Great tips! And gorgeous fabric!!

  29. Jenna says:

    I love this blouse, I am so pleased you managed to find the right use for the fabric, it’s gorgeous. I recently used the wrong fabric for the wrong pattern too and managed to remake it and I am so pleased I did, it would have been such a waste to have not used the fabric.

  30. Jane says:

    Only just spotted this and have to say it’s absolutely gorgeous. I think chambray is the perfect fabric for this style of blouse – you look lovely in it too! x

  31. CGCouture says:

    OK, this blouse is so stinkin’ cute!! Great matchup of pattern to fabric! I struggle with this sometimes, so I can definitely relate! As for that button on the top, it keeps your collar nice while it’s hanging. I know this from experience with my husband’s dress shirts–my Pfaff doesn’t “do” buttonholes, and so I would skip those only to regret it later because it would cause wrinkles in the front that I would have to “touchup” before he could wear it. YMMV, of course, but I’d try it again.

    Ha! My tip is to measure so you sew the right size! There have been a few times where I’ve just dove in thinking I knew what size I needed and clearly didn’t…:-(

  32. Hatty says:

    It’s always wonderful to be able to eke out an extra garment, or retrieve something from one that didn’t make into the rotation.

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