A Peplum Party

Oof, it’s been a little while since you’ve seen me around these parts, eh? Life got a bit busy, truth be told. I started my Masters, which goes hand in hand with a full time placement which seemed like a great idea at the time, and now… well put it this way, if I’m not at work, I’m writing essays, and if I’m doing neither, I’m having a recurring dream about the many many case notes I’m inevitably falling behind on. But anyway, I digress. Safe to say, life has been a bit busy and sewing has fallen by the wayside. I’ve missed it terribly but just haven’t had the energy for it in the snatched hours I’ve found to relax here and there. So when my manager suggested I take a full two (two!!!) weeks off over Christmas I leapt at the chance, not just because it would give me time to make my brother’s Christmas present (more on that another time).

To ease me back into it all, I decided on a tried and true pattern that I knew I’d love. It’s a peplum top, taken from the same block as my summer dress of dreams (which I just tried to link, and I’ve realised I haven’t blogged about it. Classic). So here’s the Instagram post instead. It’s a design I’ve made before, in a very brief afternoon of sewing somewhere between finishing my intensive summer of lectures and starting my intensive life (?) in the office. But it’s one I’ve found myself reaching for time and again; it’s comfy, office appropriate, working-with-families-appropriate, and looks pretty cute if I say so myself. Every time I realise it’s in the wash (or that it’s the exact same outfit I wore last time I was in the office – WFH life, am I right?) I stare at my wardrobe in horror at the idea of having to use enough brain cells to pull together another outfit. So I did what any sensible sewist would do and made two more, #obvs.

It’s a very very straightforward bodice block with a bust dart, back neckline darts and a cropped waist. I then added a peplum by gathering three long rectangles of fabric (it would’ve been two, but fabric on these was tight so one of the pieces wasn’t cut on the fold) and my favourite elbow length sleeves. I often find facings more hassle than they’re worth so finished the necklines with bias binding, both of which were designed by the fabulous Laura of The Specky Seamstress as part of her latest venture. Are there about 6 more of her designs in my basket? Who can possibly say…

I also added one of the gorgeous new labels from Little Rosy Cheeks to the monochrome blouse. The company was set up by Victoria when her children returned to school after lockdown – and I don’t know about you, but I think they’re absolutely beautiful and definitely not just for little ones. It took me a really long time to choose which ones I wanted first (because obviously I’ll be buying more) but I settled on “you do you” (a phrase I find myself uttering almost constantly) and “I am smart / I am kind / I am brave / I am me“. The latter was definitely designed for children but I think we all need a reminder sometimes, and it’s a message I want to take forwards to the children I work with so it’s a nice reminder when I get dressed in the morning.

Somewhat unusually for me, these are both made out of cottons (What? No viscose? U ok hun?) but they’re two I fell head over heels for and bought without hesitating. Both are also remnants, something I’ve long avoided out of fear of not having enough for a project but I’m starting to love it for fabrics like these that are so well suited to becoming blouses. The first is a monochrome cotton ikat from Minerva and the latter is Lady McElroy’s Sketching In Class cotton lawn which I picked up from Sew Me Sunshine. Both sewed up like a dream although I had to be careful about pinning the Lady McElroy lawn and I used a Microtex needle to make sure it sewed up snag-free. The one thing I will say though is that being woven cottons, neither have much (or any…) give in them, so I’m definitely feeling those pounds I put on over Christmas… my first version was in a viscose crepe which has a bit more give, and really does make all the difference. I still love ’em though.

I’m sure I’m the last person on the planet to have jumped onboard the remnant train, but for anybody still hesitating I’d absolutely recommend it if you’ve got an idea of what you’re going to make (and that the pattern is going to fit the piece you’re buying!). Done properly, remnant buying is more wallet friendly as sellers often add a cheeky discount, and of course it prevents offcuts from going to waste. That said, remnants that are bought and then sit in our stash unloved, unsewn and unworn just add to the literal and figurative mountain of fabric waste that already haunts our hobby, so I guess we’d all better get on with it eh!

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