In Sew For Victory

smooth sailing on a sea of victory


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 lastΒ  year) so I’ll allow some leniency for any hard working ladies who made it late to the party πŸ˜‰

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)

  • This looks darling on YOU, Rochelle, ’cause you’re skinny. The rebellious, Reckabella in me says I should make some shirts ANYWAY thereby representing the big girls. Oh, and yeah, I”ll surely blog about ’em and show ’em off.

    Thanks for the share. I’m on to see the other shirts.



  • Cynthia

    Love the print… looks vintage to me! By the way, I didn’t know we weren’t supposed to sew clothing with quilting cottons……some people are just so “nitpicky”! Keep on sewing!

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  • I’m happy with the fact that YOU are enjoying the fruits of your labor, Miss Rochelle. The colors are cheerful, the fit is excellent, and you, Miss Slim Goody look good.

    I had a blast with this sew-a-long; sew glad I stumbled upon it and I do hope to be appraised of others that you choose to host.



  • Pingback: Sew for Victory Part 1 | Loran's World()

  • Amber in Australia

    I love your blouse. I have also made a blouse from Lauren’s pattern and it is one of my favourite items ever, I made it straight from the pattern also, a dove grey and lemon gingham. It’s like I didn’t even know that I needed this blouse so much until I created it.

  • So wonderful to get your sew-jo back, and what a great fit for you…I can tell by that huge ol’ smile on your face! What a great reminder that sometimes we have to throw off all so-thought “obligation” (even if that is just to work on growing and honing our craft) and just do something that makes us happy.

  • very cute. I like the fabric.

  • This looks so cute on you! I’m so glad you had a happy sewing project!!!

  • You look so beautiful- especially because you are obviously in love with your divine creation! I am longing to make a dress in Tula Pink’s fabric with the wee raccoons all over it. I’m sure you know the one! My favourite homemade blouse has cowboys and bucking broncos all over it – perfect for riding my horse.

  • Gloriously awesome blouse!!! It falls on, and looks, flat out gorgeous on you, sweet dear. I’m thrilled to know that this SFV helped lift your sewing spirits and really hope that that same happiness will continue on through each new (amazing!) project you create.

    β™₯ Jessica

  • I’m in love, yes it’s a fact

  • Yaaaaaay! Happy story πŸ™‚ There’s nothing quite so motivating as a successful project. So glad to hear you’re having fun with sewing again πŸ˜€

    (Come back to this post when you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps next!)

  • Here here to making yourself happy!!

  • stgilbert

    Rochelle! The joy is clearly shining through in every photos! I have to agree that this is fantastic garment and one of the most ‘you’ ones I have seen you sew in a while. Congratulations, you lovely lady! I am so happy for you!

    Thank you so much for your ringing endorsement for quilting cottons! I couldn’t care less about ‘fancy’ fabrics at all! Bring on the novelty prints!

  • While it may not be a vintage fabric this blouse definitely fits the bill. It is so perfect, the colors are terrific and as always the fit is impeccable. My daughter, looking over my shoulder, said it all “Some day I hope to be able to sew like her, she is fabulous! ” I wholeheartedly agree. Bravo!

  • Jane

    wonderful blouse looks just lovely on you.

  • I love it! I’m a sleeves person and those puffed sleeves are one of my faces. Congrats for making such a beautiful garment and getting your sewjo back.

  • I think most of what I make now is out of quilting cotton, who CARES what someone else thinks if it makes you happy?? Yes when you look in my closet I have a dozen blouses of various prints but each one is different, gets different accessories and makes me happy in a unique way : ) Your blouse is LOVELY (and its cousin is on my dress form as we speak) and I’m glad you’ve found some sewing mojo!

  • Congratulations on your beautiful blouse, the wonderful fabric, and getting your love of sewing back. Win win win!

  • Deb

    Lady, you killed it on this one: the top is darling and you wear it well! And those sleeves are my favorite part, besides the fabric itself. Looking good!

  • Your blouse is amazing! I love vintage too…and I also love quilting cotton and great prints. I don’t see how to two can’t be a very happy pair πŸ™‚

  • This is fabulous! I love how you’ve matched the two prints, and I LOVE the shoulders, big collar and big buttons. Gorgeous!

  • Totally understand what you mean about losing your sewing mojo (I’ve been going through a couple months of that!) but kudos for staying true to yourself and making such a neat, quirky blouse! I definitely need to get started on my Sew for Victory apron, so I’m so glad this popped in my reader to remind me!

  • That blouse is so lovely, and the fabric is truly amazing!

  • Victoria

    Looks great, but I need to get sewing!

  • Paige @ Lux Per Diem

    so cute! I love the pattern combo.

  • Spot on, my friend, spot on. This blouse is fabulous! Lauren’s patterns are Nice job!! So glad to hear your sew-jo is back!!

  • Ellen

    What a great blouse. Fabric is gorgeous, and the colors look wonderful on you. So glad you are getting your sew-Jo back. Now I need to find mine!

  • Your blouse is gorgeous and it looks beautiful on you.

  • Your fabrics are amazing!!

  • Awesome blouse! I love that you went with such fun fabric for it! I’m not sure I’m going to make the deadline with my Sew for Victory blouse, but am really looking forward to seeing your round-up video post, I loved all of last year’s entries.

  • Holy Toledo! That turned out fantastic! Love your photography too! And there’s little bunnies hiding in that fabric. Love it! I don’t understand why people have a stink about quilting cotton? But maybe that’s because pretty much everything I make is out of QC. FAB shirt! Thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚

  • Pingback: My finished Sew for Victory dress | By Gum, By Golly()

  • Oh thank you for this post! I bought this pattern a bit ago but haven’t done a thing with it. I love how you used the contrasting fabrics and now feel really inspired. πŸ™‚ Your blouse is beautiful and looks great on you. Loving your hair wrap as well!

  • This blouse is adorable! You should feel happy with it and it fits you so beautifully. I’m glad to see you adding a little more spunk to your wardrobe πŸ™‚

  • This post is amazing! Congratulations on finishing a shirt that you love and that you really want to wear. That’s such a challenge, and you should be super proud of achieving it!

  • Your shirt is really lovely, and it’s all for the best if it helps you get out of the sewing funk! I get it that’s it’s not easy to figure out what you will actually sew AND wear, I actually have the same problem!
    I made the pants from this pattern twice and will probably make a 3rd pair pretty soon, but I’ve yet to make the shirt!
    In other words, I put some pictures of my muslin in the SFV Flickr, but I’m still working on the real thing…I hope I’ll finish it on time!

  • Im not ready yet to sew for me from the 40, but love to be inspired by you. Your outfit for today is brilliant. Love the shirt and all the details, they are so pretty.

    I may not sew here, but I love to follow your blog.

    Love Lis

  • Love love love! Love your blouse. Love the fabric combo you used. Love quilting cotton too, both for the cotton and the prints. So glad you made something you love!

  • Miss Beta

    The result is absolutely gorgeous, dear Rochelle! I love the way you combine the two amazing fabric prints together. This is pure cuteness! I have sewn my skirt for the challenge for ages now, but I didn’t have a change to photograph it yet. I need to find time… something rare in my life at the moment.

    Anyway, your project is a Victory! IΒ΄m so glad for you! πŸ™‚

    • Miss Beta

      I meant a “chance” to photographt, and not a “change”! Sorry for my english, hehehe :o)

  • Yay! I love the blouse. Looks like a great pattern that you could use again, plain or fancy. I’m so pleased you’ve had success!

  • Helene

    I think you made a lovely, fun and beautiful blouse. I love all the prints, it makes it interesting and very personal.
    I can’t see why one shouldn’t use quilting cotton, so many colours so many prints, so much fun.
    My own sewing mojo seems to have taken a long vacation, hoping to get it back sooner than later. Seeing the photos and reading your blog made me really long to get my mojo back.

  • I love this blouse on you sooooo much! The colours and pattern just pop and it’s so fun! The sleeve cuffs are great and I love the back yoke! YAY for sewing that gets us going again!! xoxoxo

  • I’m am so happy that you are happy. Going through the same thing you are, I totally understand. For me I am going back to basics and even drafting my own patterns ( I too struggle with fit).

    Quilting cottons are divine. The amazing colours and prints. What more could you want.

    I am after the trousers from this range; gorgeous or what?

    • Forgot to say that your shirt is stunning.

  • Yay! So glad you’ve got your sew-jo back! I for one adore using quilting cotton for sewing projects, especially fun dresses, so I salute your fabric choice! I love the style of this blouse, particularly the shoulders πŸ™‚

  • The pattern on the fabric is lovely, I think it suits the style of the blouse very well.

  • This is beautiful and I’m so glad it’s made you so happy! That *is* what sewing should be about, so is the most important thing of all!

  • Gorgeous! It’s great to hear that you’ve made something you absolutely love, and it really shows in these pictures. The fabric choice is fantastic! I, too, love quilting cottons for sewing (although my SFV project is made in some vintage rayon that I think could very easily be from the 40’s!)

  • misscrayolacreepy

    PERFECTION! This post makes me so happy, Rochelle! The fabric makes me happy (people that are quilting cotton snobs don’t know what they are missing out on!), the fit is so perfect, and the fact that you are so pumped on sewing and blogging again makes me happy! I can’t wait to see what else you make now that you are in the zone!

  • I really like it. I’m a sucker for green. I wouldn’t be able to pull off the gathered puff on the sleeve like you can.

  • The bunny fabric is begging me to buy some right now!!! But I can’t! I have waaaaay too many fabrics waiting in my stash already.

    You are right, the blouse looks amazing tucked in the high waist!!! I REALLY want a pair of those jeans!!! I just have a hard time parting with my cash for clothes I can’t try on. Especially jeans.

  • Stunning!!!

  • Maryellen

    The fit is great and it really suits you. Isn’t it great to wear something that makes you happy!

  • Wow everything about this shirt suits you, colour, print, style. Love it!

  • I think it’s gorgeous! I too love sewing with quilted cottons! They always have such a great pattern selection and are nice and sturdy. Love your work lady!

  • Turned out great! So glad you got your sewjo back! I haven’t lost my sewjo, I’ve just had no time to do it in!

  • mommylap

    This turned out so so beautiful Rochelle! I’ve been looking for a coordinate to go with the fox field fox in another colorway, and although I love the stars I wasn’t seeing how it could mesh, and they look perfect together in your garment! I’m newly inspired for my dress.

    I love these high-end cottons for garments, and have made all kinds of skirts and dresses with them. The Free Spirit designers are especially suitable, but lots of Moda cottons are as well. Sew what you love! XO