Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Airelle Blouse: Pleather Treatment

This blouse took me way longer than it should have done. Mainly because the vintage fabric I used was an utter bitch. No joke, I reckon it would have spat in my face if it could have done.

After deliberation over what fabric to choose (with the aid of Twitter/Instagram, we chose the 'crazy cookies' aptly named by Emmie), I had the feeling that making the entire top in 'crazy cookies' could end up looking a bit boring or a bit old lady. So, I decided to use some left over pleather (come on people, no need for leather anymore!) I had in my stash from my 'Pleather Peacock' dress and this is how it turned out.

The blouse is a great pattern to put together, very simple with clear instructions and basic techniques (gathering, yoke, waist darts). However, when you have the bitchiest fabric from hell, it all suddenly becomes exhausting and you wonder why you even started sewing. Okay, maybe not that drastic, but this fabric tried to destroy my soul.

The main problem was skipped stitches. It's a vintage polyester of some kind and it just didn't want to be sewn. I tried various needle changes, thread, tension, you name it I tried it. After investigation on Google, I even tried a ballpoint needle as one person mentioned on an interesting post in 'Yahoo Answers'. But no, this fabric didn't want to compromise.

The only way it cooperated was with the use of tissue paper on the seams. This worked fine but is something I just find annoying to do. All that unpicking etc, urgh, life is short. In the end, I used strips of black silk organza, basted them over the seam line and then stitched normally. Albeit time consuming, this seemed to work perfectly and was far neater. To finish the blouse off, I pinked all the seams inside to keep it soft and to prevent any serge lines showing.

But, back to the good stuff. I measured the flat pattern and decided to cut a size 38. I didn't make a muslin as I knew this top was supposed to have a slightly loose fit, and it turned out perfect. Thumbs up to Deer & Doe. I'll definitely try this pattern again as it's a great staple as far as tops go for work or smartening up jeans.

The construction is super easy and would make for a great beginner's introduction to gathers and cuffs. Definitely try it out!

For the collar, I used some pleather that I had bought from Dalston Mill Fabrics. This is £9.99 a metre and at the time I bought 1/2 a metre and it's starred in two projects so far, nice going pleather!

Working with pleather is really easy. I use either a sharp or a leather needle, and either works well. In this case, I found the sharp worked better. You can use a teflon foot to help glide over the pleather or I have read posts where scotch tape has been stuck to the bottom of the foot. I am yet to try this method.

The only thing is you need patience working with this stuff, especially when it comes to pressing. You'll need a good pressing cloth (I use my faithful square of true silk organza) to prevent melting it and time! You need to go easy and really talk to it, "come on baby, you know you want to lie flat and look pretty, come on don't say no, Mama don't like no", that kind of stuff. If that creeped you out, sorry.

Eventually, your pleather will submit and let you turn it into a collar. I have made a studded detachable collar using this as well, which looks kinda cool. I'll try and dig it out for photos.

As pink is one of the big colours for A/W 13, I teamed my new Airelle blouse with my Whistles wool mini skirt, tights and my favourite black patent 'boy' shoes. It's hard for me to find nice vegan shoes, but I found these earlier this year in Next for a mere £26.

Oh and it's Autumn! Yey, my favourite season of all. What are you looking forward to wearing?

(Credit to @Shorak for correcting my wonky photos!)

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