A Camas Blouse Without Sleeves

I first learned of Thread Theory when I saw their men’s patterns at District Fabric in Seattle. I had no idea they offered a women’s blouse until the sew-along. I like my knit shirts fitted, but the more I saw of the Camas Blouse on social media and the more I learned about Thread Theory (and grew envious of the mens clothing), I saw increasing potential for this shirt in my wardrobe.

camas-blouse-sew-along-announcement
Follow link to Sew-Along
I started with some thin white & black knit fabric I had in my stash, something I had picked up randomly from a remnant bin. It was less than a yard of fabric, not enough fabric for sleeves, but a sleevless camas could work, and I’d be able to get the sizing figured out before digging into my good fabric. I went and picked up another 1/3 yard for the contrast yokes.

Fabric

  • A thin slub jersey knit. I’m incresingly not a fan of this fabric (at least for sewing). The slub nature seems to warp the direction of the grain so that the selvages do not line up. If I do line up the slevages, the grain is off and the stripe pattern is angled.
  • Both lightweight knits are from Joann Fabrics and are a poly-cotton blend.
  • The thin fabric also tore a tiny bit during the pre-wash. That doesn’t bode well for future machine washing. I was able to cut the pieces I needed in between the tiny holes. EXCEPT FOR ONE hole that snuck past me!

Instructions

  • It was great having a sew along with photos, but the booklet the came with the pattern would have been good enough. Except…
  • I am a very visual person. The instruction booklet provides pattern layout options for the main fabrics but not the interfacing…and I misread the illustrations so I cut out a bunch of interfacing for the yokes but not the plackets. Thankfully I had enough left. It really emphasized how much I rely on those layout images to tell me what I need to cut.
  • The construction is straight forward. I had planned to use my serger, but wasn’t quite sure how to account for the 5/8 seam allowance.
  • The instructions show how to use straight stitches. Even though the fabric is a knit, the pattern doesn’t really need a huge amount of stretch, so straight stitches are ok.

I had completed this much in two sewing sessions

Construction

  • In a  couple hours I assembled the yokes and shoulder seams. Which is the 3rd part of sew along.
  • The side seams went fast. Hems always cause me a bit of agony, but this one less so than normal. (I did use a small, narrow zig-zag stitch on the hem to allow for stretch.
  • The hem looks wobbly, but there are no structural faults. My bobbin tension was too loose for such thin fabric, that and I probably should have unearthed my walking foot.
  • Instead of sleeves I made armhole trim from the main fabric. I did not encase the raw edges like the rest of the pattern had with the the yokes. After serging, the seam was pressed toward the trim. (After wearing it, I think I will remove the armhole trim.)
  • Interfacing was only applied to one of my two placket layers (the side that sits against my body) to keep the neckline and placket stiff, but by not interfacing the outward facing placket, it retains the flexible look of the rest of the garment.
  • When attaching the two sides of the placket together, I opted for a 1/2″ seam rather than the recommended 5/8 in.
  • Because I only interfaced one side of the placket, I thought I should keep that side down on the sewing machine so the dog feeds wouldn’t stretch the non-interfaced layer. BUT, it was the presser foot that caught and pulled the non-interfaced fabric. So it was actually better to put the interfaced side UP, directly in contact with the presser foot. 🙂
  • I made a fake buttoned placket – in that it doesn’t unbutton. I sewed the buttons through both layers. The garment is easy enough to pull over my head and the thought of buttonholes on this delicate fabric… I just wanted to finish. And the sewalong said I could! 🙂

Done.
Detail of the buttons and the placket topstitching.
I missed a hole in the fabric, caused by machine washing.
Backed with a small patch of knit interfacing, ready to mend with embroidery.

Changes

  • I may redo the armholes, remove the trim, which weighs down the fabric and pulls at the armhole, and just hem the armholes under.
  • I traced a pattern that was size 2 in the bust and size 6 in the hips, based on recommended sizes. I don’t think I needed to grade up at the hips for the next version. This garment is so loose, a size 2 or maybe a size 4 would have been enough. As it currently is, size 6 at the hips is too much fabric. It isn’t too noticeable, but I’ll see how it continues to wear.

How I wore it

I really like how it dressed down my black blazer. 

Final thoughts

Back to this being a different kind of shirt, I think lladybird and I are having the same epiphanies. In becoming more comfortable with my body I am less focused on fitting media’s beauty standards and I feel freer to find my personal style. I do still like a good fitted bodice, but I also understand fabric better and can find loose tops that I wear well.

Camas is a root bulb, a common source of food for the Northwest Coast Native Americans that lived and live in British Columbia and Washington. I learned a great deal about this plant during my archaeology and anthropology studies and it is a joy to see a local (regional) pattern company naming a pattern after it.

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3 thoughts on “A Camas Blouse Without Sleeves

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