This post is part of the blog tour for The Colette Sewing Handbook. Read more about it here.
I consider myself a proficient sewer, but there's something about garment sewing that has always seemed kind of mysterious and difficult to me. That's why I was so thrilled to get my hands on Sarai Mitnick's new book, The Colette Sewing Handbook.
I wasn't disappointed! Sarai's book covers all the basic infromation that someone, like me, with little to no knowledge of garment construction might need to consider. The wealth of thoughtful step-by-step directions here - from making darts, to installing zippers, to making french seams - makes this a book that I know I'll refer to for years to come.
I also found Sarai's thoughful approach refreshing. So many books and patterns these days focus on completing "easy" projects as quickly as possible. The Colette Sewing Handbook encourages readers to develop a plan and see it through, to build their skill sets, and always be looking to learn more.
The book is divided into sections, each focusing on a particular aspect of garment sewing. It also includes five patterns that put the skills learned in the book to use. The Taffy Blouse (pictured above) caught my eye and I decided to make one for myself.
I should pause here and mention that I've been disappointed by many garment patterns - not because of the patterns necessarily, but because I stuggle to fit them to my (very short) body. This is where I found the A Fantastic Fit chapter invaluable. In addition to multiple illustrations showing how to do different pattern adjustments, there are photos of ill-fitting muslins describing exactly how they're ill-fitting (e.g. "loose horizontal wrinkles mean . . .") which was extremely helpful to a visual learner like me.
Here it is! I used a cotton voile (Loulouthi by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit, purchased at Bolt).
This pattern is designed to be made with a lightweight or sheer fabric, so the raw edges of the sleeve and neckline are bound with bias tape and the insides are finished with french seams.
I just made my bias tape from the same fabric I used for the rest of the blouse, but there are a lot of fun things you could do with a contrasting fabric (like the black and white stripe used on the sample in the book).
Not a great photo here, but hopefully you get the idea. I think it's still a little bit on the big side, but I feel good about the fact that, after reading through this book, I feel like I can identify what's wrong and fix it on my next attempt!