One thing that I love about the sewing community is how supportive people are of each other. One part of it is the pattern testing for indie pattern designers. I’ve been wanting to do some pattern testing for a while, but with my busy life it’s often impossible for me to meet the tight deadlines for pattern testing. When I was given the opportunity to test out Megan Nielsen’s newest pattern, the Dove Blouse; however, I made sure to squeeze it in. I’ve been following Megan for ages, and really loved the style of the blouse, so I just had to say yes.
The Dove pattern is a v-neck blouse with lot’s of interesting details, such as bell/sleeves, top-stitched neck facings and a curved high-low hem. Some of these details were out of my comfort zone, but for the pattern testing I decided to sew it up by the book. For the sleeves I went for Version 2, the flared sleeves. Even though I doubted that I would wear flared sleeves a lot (they seem quite impractical, and I’m all for practical clothing), I wanted to try this sleeve shape and figured I could still hack them off if I didn’t like them.
In my small fabric stash, I didn’t have any suitable fabric but luckily a work trip brought me to Copenhagen. There I visited Stoff & Stil, a shop that I had wanted to visit for ages. They have a lovely selection of affordable fabrics. I wanted something light and floaty and went for this Inka Print Viscose. It’s a really lovely fabric, which feels great against the skin and doesn’t wrinkle much. I definitely should sew more with viscose!
The construction of the blouse was very straight-forward. The instructions are clear and very detailed. The only construction issue I had was caused by a cutting error on my part. I didn’t cut out the neck facing properly (was confused by a line parallel to the centre front line) and ended up with a facing that was slightly wider and longer than the neck opening. I realised this too late and had to correct it by shortening the facing at the shoulders. It worked out ok, but it means that the facing doesn’t have the exact shape of the opening and doesn’t sit as flat as it could. Apart from that, sewing the blouse was a breeze and I really enjoyed the construction, thanks to some new-to-me techniques: french darts, hem facings, and tiny rolled hems for the sleeves. The seams are all finished with my overlock. As the blouse has a centre seam down the front, I also took the opportunity to improve my pattern matching, which turned out really well.
In terms of sizing, I chose to make a size S. Due to the curves of the hem, I decided I could get away with not grading out to an M at the hip, which turned out to be the right choice, as I find I have plenty of room. Through the shoulders and the bust, the fit is spot on. The v-neck on my small bust, is borderline too low for my taste, so I might raise it a little bit next time. This issue; however, is not visible in these photos as the neck is dragged to the back slightly during wear. I suspect this issue is caused by the slippery fabric and the fact that the back is a lot longer than the front. In the published version of the blouse, the front is lengthened by 2.5 cm, so this might not be an issue anymore.
This is definitely a statement blouse, something I didn’t have in my wardrobe before. The sleeves are quite unusual and do sometimes get in the way, but they work well on a night out (I wore this to a hen do) or can be tamed under a cardigan. My favourite feature is the faced hem. Even though the difference between the front and the back is a tad too extreme for my taste (as mentioned, this has been changed in the final patterns), I absolutely love the shape of the hem. Thanks to the sleeves the blouse feels very seventies, which immediately inspired me to pair it with this vintage leather skirt and hippie hair (as hippie as I can go with my hair). We had lot’s of fun shooting this, me running through the Hinksey fields, picking flowers. While we were completely alone for most of the time, suddenly a group of monks hiked past us, who must have thought we were crazy. Oh the joys of taking blog pictures! Having so much fun, we of course ended up with a lot of weird photos of this blouse, which my boyfriend calls the wizard blouse. Enjoy!