It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling with my sewing for quite some time now. Quite a long time actually. I never seem to sew things that fit me or suit my lifestyle or my fashion preferences. I love sewing 1940s garments with a passion, and although I do participate in a few period appropriate events a year, my life is not a WWII reenactment. In my daily life I like to mix a bit of my favorite bygone eras in with fun, modern prints to create a look that can only be described as “me”.
My plan for Sew For Victory this year was much different than the garment I made last year. Instead of recreating an exact copy of a 1940s dress (right down to reproducing the fabric myself) I decided to recreate an exact copy of what makes me happy. After all, shouldn’t sewing always make us happy? Is that not why we sew to begin with? The fabric I picked for this year’s SFV challenge is definitely not a 1940s print but it certainly boosts my morale, and I can’t think of a more WWII inspired plan of action!
You guys, I can’t even tell you what this project has done for my sewing spirits. It is hands down my most favorite thing I’ve ever sewn!! I mean it. We’re definitely running out of time here as Sew For Victory winds down, so I took a risk and skipped any kind of test muslin. I just took my measurements, traced out my size, cut into my fabric and went for it. Honestly I was fully expecting this shirt to be a dud because I always manage to sew things that don’t fit quite right. But long story short, the Sewing Gods were on my side!
The pattern is The Smooth Sailing Blouse by Wearing History Patterns and the fabric comes from Tula Pink’s new Fox Field collection that I bought at Hawthorne Threads. The shirt is a late 1930s/early 40s style with the iconic puff sleeves of the era which I love! I bought size pack A and cut a straight 14 although I probably could have sewn the size 12. The shirt is beautifully form fitting but perfectly comfortable, and looks really sharp when tucked into high-waisted pants. I was warned that the arm cuff runs rather snug, but since my gangly little arms aren’t much thicker than a broom stick, I had no issue there. In fact, I had no issue with anything on this pattern at all. I’m still rather amazed at that!
So why this fabric? Well because it’s amazing. Period. When you classify yourself as a garment sewer, people will try to make you feel inferior for wanting to sew with quilting cottons. They don’t always do this intentionally, but that vibe is surely out there. Well I say that’s all fine and dandy – More quilting cotton for me!! I love cotton and I love fun prints, sue me. I am thoroughly unimpressed with fancy charmeuse and other sophisticated substrates. Give me bunnies and gigantic flowers on fabric that’s meant to be slept on by generations of children. It’s what I love most of all.
To me this fabric holds a certain modern likeness to the feed sack prints of the past – Printing pretty pictures on a utility fabric for women who want practicality in what they wear. Obviously quilting cotton isn’t the ideal fabric for everything but it’s the perfect pair for this particular pattern. The puff sleeves need a bit of structure to hold their shape and they certainly get it from a nice quality quilting cotton.
I had thoroughly intended to make a matching pair of trousers to accompany this shirt, and I still will if I have time, but I just couldn’t wait to share this project with you! It makes me so, so happy. I really can’t stop smiling! It’s been such a long time since I made something that I utterly fell in love with so I kind of just want to bask in this sewing high for a while and not rush another sewing project. …but I reaaaalllly want a matching pair of pants so we’ll see.
I have to thank Lauren at Wearing History for making such a beautiful, well tailored pattern that pairs so well with my favorite fabric. My enthusiasm for sewing and blogging has been completely restored!! I’m just sorry I waited so long to find out this was the project to bring my sew-jo back.
Well there ya have it. My very victorious Sew For Victory project! Well hopefully this is one of two projects but, as I said, we’ll see. I’m so over the moon with this one that I don’t mind if it’s my only contribution. Sewing is a never ending quest for creating your ideal wardrobe and evolving your personal style, and my path suddenly got a lot more clear cut. Expect to see a lot more of this from me!
If you’re participating in Sew For Victory don’t forget to upload your finished garment photos to the official Sew For Victory Flickr Group! It’s not too late to join in and make something last minute either! Submissions are due Wednesday April 30th by the end of the day, but it will take me a few days to compile the photos for the slide show (like I made last year) so I’ll allow some leniency for any hard working ladies who made it late to the party
Anyone who finishes a garment for the challenge will have a chance to win some awesome prizes (also like last year but better) so don’t miss out!
Sewing For Victory feels good. You should really try it.
(photos by William Waldon)