Summer Reverie Blouse and Shorts

I’m sorry that I neglected to post earlier this week. My husband is gone for the week, and I’ve discovered that I’m not as productive when he’s gone. I start to miss him too much, and I have difficulty staying on task. ;P

I have managed to completed another reconstruction. It began as this immeasurably dowdy dress.

I purchased this dress many months back and just got around to refashioning it.

My original idea was to make a new dress out of it, but I thought about it a while longer, and was inspired to create a blouse.

I began the process by, removing the shoulder pads. Shoulder pad removal is usually a given for each of my reconstructions, but I also removed the sleeves.

At first I thought I would reshape the sleeves, but changed my mind as I was looking at the dress and determining my plan of attack.

I cut the bottom half of the dress off at the lower hip region, and removed some of the section of trim along the bottom of the skirt.

My intention was to add the trim around the bottom of my new top, but I later decided it looked better without it (I don’t need horizontal stripes around my hips!).

The bodice of the dress needed to be shortened from the top, underneath the collar. I knew that shortening it that way would bring the waist up, remove some of the excess blousy material and adjust the armholes.

So, I completely removed the collar portion and finished the edge.

I also measured and restructured the neckline that would attach to the bottom of the collar, and finished the edges of the bottom half of the new armholes.

Then, I sewed the collar and the rest of the top together, and hemmed the bottom of my new blouse.

Using some of the trim from the bottom of the skirt and some black material, I created a matching belt.

I made a pair of shorts to pair with the top, using a black, stretch suiting, fabric remnant. I had a vintage pattern for shorts in my stash. It was a little too small and required some adjusting, but I’m happy with the result. Originally, the pattern called for a side zipper, but the material was so stretchy that I ended up just omitting the zipper.

This particular pattern re-drafting seemed to require more math than usual. I was provoked to thought by Gertie’s blog post a few weeks back about sewing and math. I too, have been intrigued by the way that sewing tends to draw both right-brained and left-brained people. There aren’t very many activities that people with completely different minds, like writers and engineers, can share a common interest in.

I have always disliked math. My dad is a computer science engineer with a Master’s degree in Math. So, you can imagine how dismayed he would get when I declared my hatred of the subject on numerous occasions.

But even I cannot deny the necessity of basic math when constructing garments. Below is a picture of what my re-drafted pattern looked like. You can see some of my illegible math scribbles on the bottom of the sheet of tracing paper. I still wound up needing to adjust some areas of the pattern after trying on a muslin of the shorts.

My hips were a bit wider than the pattern, and my waist was a bit smaller. I also had to fit the leg holes to the measurement around my thigh. Fractions are a major part of drafting and fitting patterns. Math lessons that dealt with fractions were always the most difficult for me. So, I am always amazed at my ability to put aside my loathing of fractions when it is a necessary component of something that I love doing.

Once the shorts were finished, my black and white ensemble was complete.

It is such a fun little combination.

There is definitely a retro panache to the outfit, is there not?

At first, I really wanted to make a pair of white shorts to go with the top. I thought it would be an even better look, but I can’t really pull off white shorts (especially right after winter). I don’t really like to wear shorts at all, but they seemed like the appropriate thing to wear with this blouse.

I like the way the shorts came out. The fit is really comfortable, and they’ll be a versatile addition to my wardrobe.

You must forgive my white legs. I’m working on it. ;o

I have had one opportunity in the past few weeks when it was warm enough that I could lie outside to get a little bit of sun. I enjoyed a peaceful forty-five minutes, or so. It was disrupted by a bug that sounded like a low-flying plane came humming around my little spot on the deck. I wasn’t around much longer because he refused to leave the area. I do not share space with anything that buzzes. Honestly, I refuse to remain in the vicinity of any type of bug. That bug phobia may be problematic when we finally get the keys to and start cleaning up our new house: there are bugs all over the place. Eek!

I can’t wait to wear this on a summer picnic with my husband. 🙂

It would be perfect for a day out on a boat. Maybe we’ll rent one at some point this summer.

I probably shouldn’t be dreaming about summer already, but spring hasn’t provided very many warm days yet. I was pretty cold while taking the pictures of this outfit (it was probably in the 40s). So, I can at least imagine it’s warm.

In other news:

I am working on a complete revamping of this blog. It will have a new name and a broader direction. It will be more about life as a whole, and how sewing intersects with my life and with my writing. I will share writing, sewing and any other things I fancy. A subsection of the blog will be about the process of renovating a home. It will follow the exploits of “a seamstress and a handyman” (me and my husband) as we foray into the field of home renovation.

Oh yeah, and for those interested, I have an update on the house. We were finally able to have the home inspection, and we have decided to move forward. So, Lord willing, we should be moving into our house by the end of April at the latest.

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26 Responses to Summer Reverie Blouse and Shorts

  1. Tim Laffoon says:

    As I like to say, “Math is at the core of everything” or many variations on that theme! (But for the record only my Bachelor’s is in Math; my Master’s is in Mechanical Engineering.)

    And of course I’m not the least bit surprised you cleared out when the buzzing started – that brings back memories of picnics, hastily abandoned food… and screaming panic!

    Oh, and you look cute as always in your new outfit.

    • Oh, well I messed that one up. Haha! I am actually getting much better about bugs. I rarely scream anymore, and sometimes I can manage not to run (that is until they dive bomb me). Oh, and thanks!

  2. Melissa Williamson says:

    totally adorable, very ’40’s!

  3. Marie says:

    Oh my, this is such a cute little outfit! I love that you created a blouse from a dress, how inspired and clever! You make it look easy, but I don’t think I could manage a project of that magnitude. Your shorts are adorable too!!!

    • Thank you! You could do a project like this any day. You always make such beautiful things from scratch. A reconstruction project would be no big deal. Hopefully I’ll see one on your blog soon. 😉

  4. I love the blouse (and shorts). The blouse is very becoming.
    As a mathematician — mathematics really can be fun (and practical).

  5. Nancy P says:

    That is fabulous looking!! Love the blouse and the shorts are great.

  6. Lisa S says:

    I love love love this blouse!!! Good job!

  7. Tilly says:

    Stunning!! Well done for spotting the potential in this dress. You’ve made such an adorable – and, crucially, wearable – outfit. Yay!

  8. Rachel Laffoon says:

    This is so cute!!!! What a transformation. Oh, and I could tell you a ‘bug’ story but zi will save it for another day. Love you, GA

  9. jos says:

    Great reconstruction, LOVE it!

  10. Lizzy says:

    Oh!!! I LOVE how you post and show pictures of the entire procces of refashion your clothes! thanks for sharing and the result is just great!

    • I’m so glad to hear people saying that they enjoy the whole process. I was actually thinking about cutting back to just a short description and before and after pictures, but comments like yours have changed my mind. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  11. Trudy Callan says:

    This is so adorable! Congratulations on moving into your home soon.

    Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog post about my pregnancy. I hope you will be able to have a baby soon as well. Babies are so sweet and precious.

  12. Who would guess that amazingly cute blouse had a past life as a dowdy dress? Such a great summer outfit, I love it!

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