Monday, September 4, 2023

Picnic Ready

When I found this fabric at an estate sale, I was immediately drawn to the print.  I normally avoid bright yellow, but the blue, yellow, and green florals were too fabulous to pass up.

Unfortunately, once I got it home and unfolded it, I realized that the fabric was only 12" wide.  I had more than 3 yards, but it was going to be a challenge to find something that would work with that extremely limited width.  My original thought was to make a 1960s style shift dress when I found the fabric, but that was obviously out.

And then I had a revelation.  I wanted to try out the Charm Patterns "Picnic Top" in order to use up some remaining yardage that I have leftover from making a skirt, but I wanted to make sure that I would like the pattern before cutting into that particular fabric.  And then I remembered that I had this print stashed away.

I actually managed to find it exactly where I thought that I had left it (that doesn't always happen with the amount of stashed yardage I have) and so it felt like it was meant to be.

Now, these days 36" wide fabric is considered quite narrow, and I only had 12" to work around. Plus, there were a few stains that were not lifting and I was hoping to avoid those sections altogether.

Turns out, that was all I needed!  I even managed to do a fairly good job matching that center back seam.  It wasn't going to be perfect with the cut section of printing that was remaining once I happened upon the yardage, but it's close enough to look intentional, which is all I could ask.

I found yellow buttons in a stash, and even though these were slightly wider than the pattern calls for, I decided to use them anyway since I have a rather limited choice when it comes to a lemony shade and I didn't want to purchase anything new for this project.

And since it had been a minute since I worked some bound buttonholes, I decided that I might as well add a few to the project.

I actually find the process relaxing.  Maybe not if I am in a hurry, but in a stable cotton like this, I would much rather trust a tried and true process than subject my finished garment to a machine buttonhole that I am always slightly suspicious of, even with my lovely vintage buttonholers.

Since the background of this fabric is rather light, I had some slight misgivings that the extra square of fabric might show through, but I decided that if I avoided the print and cut out plain little squares, it would probably work out.

And this is going to be worn close to the body, not held up to a window full of sunlight, so a shadow of extra fabric is probably never that big of a deal.

I have shown this method here on the blog many times, and it's my favorite.

And the plain white fabric squares worked perfectly - the show through was not a problem.

The main alteration that I wanted to make to the design was the sleeves.  As drafted, the high cap sleeve cuts my arm at it's widest point and I don't find it very flattering.

My first thought was to substitute a puffed sleeve (I've been making a lot of those lately), but my fabric limitations weren't going to allow for that.

My initial addition of fabric at the bottom of the sleeve was a little too much, though.  I pinned it in place and tried on the top and it felt quite restrictive.  Now granted, it was ridiculously hot up in the sewing room that day and I was feeling rather grumpy which could account for part of my discomfort, but I still thought it best to shorten my altered sleeve just slightly.

The slightly longer sleeve did not affect the construction method recommended by the pattern instructions, so I went ahead and followed them.

This creates a fully lined garment.  It's not my usual method, but it works nicely with a cap sleeve like this.

This project was a real pleasure.  I just love when a fabric behaves so nicely, and bonus points that the print is so cheery.

I was unable to match the center front seamline at all because of my limited yardage which slightly bums me out.  On the other hand, I found a use for 12" wide fabric, so I call that a win!

And now I have an idea of how the pattern fits and if I would like to make any additional changes before cutting into my fabric remnant that will match this skirt.

And I have a cute garment to wear in the meantime.

So while the extra time spent on things like bound buttonholes may seem silly for a wearable muslin, there is always a chance that the practice garment may turn out even better than expected, so why not make an effort on the details?!

And that's the story of this little project.

The oversized buttons turned out fine, although this version is probably a bit tighter than the pattern sizing originally intended because of the change.

But this will definitely be a great option for wearing during the Summer months.

And it feels like the pattern was meant for this particular patterns seeing that I can't think of another that would have worked with this vintage textile remnant.

And that makes me very happy!  Sometimes things are just meant to be.


  1. And I bet you have a lovely blue skirt that will go perfectly with this cute top!

  2. You've been sewing up a storm lately! Love seeing all your projects. Thanks for sharing them!

  3. The front of the blouse is perfect! It looks a tied ribbon bow at the top and the bottom has the top of another bouquet. Don't fret over the pattern not matching.