We carry many amazing paper patterns here at Bolt & Spool, yet so many more designs taunt me from that ethereal PDF netherworld.
So, despite all that is at my fingertips, sometimes I just have to press the "download/pint at home" button.
And it is a messy process.
The pattern that called my name from the cloud is from a French company called Ready to Sew. Founded by a woman named Raphaëlle, like so many of us, it began from the dream of turning a passion into a career. The garments are described on her website as "a combination of simplicity and comfort without forgetting details and originality."
They are lovely. And in English. As is her delightful blog.
Jane is "...a boyish button up shirt with an effortless wide boxy cut. It combines feminine and masculine details, a slight drop in armhole seam with a cute round collar and a beautiful twisted wrap-over front."
This Jane is ingenious. There are no side seams, just one seam up the back with a dramatic sweeping drape up the front where the two pieces cross over.
It tags it as an intermediate pattern, but it sews up so quickly - I am going to say it's more of an advanced beginner. Unless that includes being able to read directions about needing to use reversible fabric to make the twisted wrap front work- which I failed the first time!
I posted my mistake on Instagram in a huff, and thank you to all who commiserated with me poking fingers at the pattern designer. But it was all my fault. Fortunately, I sucked it up and fixed my mistake! I had to cut another 3/4 yards of fabric and make a fake wrap, but it all worked out in the end! Yay Nan for persistence and resilience!
This blouse was an epiphany for me.
- I fixed my mistake - not my normal : 0
- I used slippery fabric - not my normal : 0
Working with slippery fabric has always made nervous. Sounds of my sisters and mom "speaking French" (swearing) from the basement while sewing still haunt me. The prom dresses, the cocktail dresses, the bridesmaid dresses...all silk and 1970s velvet.
I've been feeling bold of late, so I spent some time in the laundry aisle at Heinen's and found liquid starch. Laugh, but I only thought it came in a spray can.
I followed the directions to soak my fabric - which is a polyester chiffon swiss dot in a heavenly shade of pale peach - for 15-20 minutes and popped it in the dryer on medium until it was still slightly damp. Then pressed it with a medium iron.
At this moment a new era dawned for me. The fabric was stiff enough to hold its shape without sliding off the ironing board.
I continued to build my courage by watching some online tutorials about sewing with slippery fabric, which will come in handy if I can't actually starch the fabric. Things like using tissue paper and tape to keep the fabric in place.
I used the right angles of my dining room table (with my self-healing mat underneath) as my grainline guide and taped the edges down. It held as I pinned my pattern, slid the cutting mat under and cut with a rotary cutter.
And voila! Here I am wearing it to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's gala downtown Cleveland. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is over my shoulder on the left and City Hall over my other shoulder.
The other nice thing about these Ready to Sew patterns is that some of the sleeve styles are interchangeable. So, in fact, I used the sleeves from the "Jazz" romper (and yes, you can just buy the sleeve pattern!) because I wanted a lot of dressy drape. So that's pretty cool.
So cool that I made dear "Jane" again using our Roma metallic hanky linen. And this fabric is exactly what the pattern called for. The metallic side reverses to a plain matte linen, so I get the full effect of the twist front.
The hardest part was deciding whether I wanted the shiny or the matte side for the collar and collar stand!
I wore this to an event at the art museum the other day (to see the new Eyewitness Views: Making History in 18th-Century Europe) and a woman asked me if my blouse was an artist's piece. With due kudos and thanks to Raphaëlle, it is!
Ready to Sew patterns are well drafted and the directions are easy to follow.
And OMG! I almost forgot! The pattern comes with a link to a playlist of French songs to sew by! 💕 I'll let you discover that when you get your own Jane!