Meet Mimi, my first ever handmade blouse. I’m so chuffed with this make as I’ve finally mastered buttonholes after 9 years of sewing. I didn’t purposely avoid them, I just never fancied sewing shirts or blouses. But when I fell in love with the Mimi blouse from Tilly’s Love at first stitch book, it was time to skill up.
I sewed a size 3 after hearing the pattern has a lot of ease and the fit was spot on. My normal size would have been a 4. I shortened the bodice by 3.5 cms and took 1 cm off at the side seams, tapering from the hem up to nothing at the waist line. I didn’t have any issues with the cuff being to narrow.
I was nervous when it came to sewing the buttonholes and practised first. It’s make or break time and shoddy buttonholes could ruin the whole make. Fortunately my machine does automatic buttonholes so sewing was a sinch. I used 5 x 15mm buttons and re-positioned the buttonholes as I was working with 5 rather than 6 buttons due to the shortened bodice.
Tilly’s instructions were very detailed and included lots of helpful tips. I will now use 3 rows of gathering stitches in future as it does make for neater gathers. This was my first time using a Tilly pattern and her instructions were very easy to follow. I can see why her patterns are such a hit with newbie sewers.
The pattern recommends using fabric with lots of drape so I went with a floral viscose from my stash. It was a little tricky to work with and shifts when cutting. A few of my pieces didn’t quite match the pattern but luckily I had extra fabric to re-cut the really wonky pieces.
Mimi does require quite a bit of prep and is not a quick sew. Nevertheless I found all the processes fun, from creating the sleeve pleats to making the collar. I’m tempted to make more blouses in future. The patterns in the book are overlaid so tracing is unavoidable. To speed things up, I photocopied the smaller pieces and traced the bodice pieces.
I love how this turned out, it’s such a sweet little blouse. Next time round I’ll reduce the front bodice gathers as they are a little too full. I’ll also sew the top buttonhole closer to the neckline opening so the blouse buttons up better. I’m glad I’ve finally sewn something from Tilly’s book and learnt a new sewing skill in the process.