I've mentioned before that I often stand in front of my wardrobe each morning and ask what I am going to wear that day when it looks full. For work I have enough trousers and skirts but I'm lacking in tops to pair them with. The beautiful Mae blouse by Abby at bluegingerdoll kept whispering that it was part of the solution and I bought the pattern with some of my Christmas money.
I chose to focus on the fit for this project. I made my first toile after grading the pattern out one size between the bust and the waist. As I had hoped the front fitted well, straight out of the packet. This pattern is designed for us girls with a slightly larger cup size meaning I didn't need to worry about an FBA. What I didn't expect was the size of the back bodice. It just wouldn't do up after the second button. I slashed the toile in a straight line just away from the dart on each side and, ably assisted by Adam, worked out how much extra I needed - 7cm on each side at my hips! I transferred this to the paper pattern and then tried a second toile. This one revealed there was too much length in the back bodice and I removed about 2cm. I promise that the top fits better than it looks in the photos. I thought I had pulled it down enough before taking the photos but clearly I hadn't. The neckline does sit smoothly and there isn't that much excess fabric at the back.
Alterations completed I cut into this gorgeous blue cotton at Darn It and Stitch when I popped in to stock up on seam rippers. I just couldn't resist it and knew immediately that it would work perfectly as a Mae. For the buttons I wanted some that wouldn't detract from the pattern but compliment it and chose plain white ones with a little shine.
Constructing the top is straightforward. I decided to finish the facings by using white bias tape, which I also added to the side seams. I love little details on the inside! Normally I don't like facings but these are different. They are a little wider than you normally find and I think this makes a big difference. They sit nicely around the neckline and the armsyce and don't pop up when you put on a jacket (a reoccurring problem for me). My facings are interfaced with a lightweight white cotton as try as I might, I couldn't find my fusible interfacing anywhere.
Creating scallops was new to me. The finished look of scallops made me think they were tricky but some careful cutting, slower sewing and this tutorial from Abby revealed that they can be simple. It was great to see the curve take shape when ironing out the seam line. I was surprised at how smooth the curves are on my first attempt.
Even more surprisingly the button holes were a breeze and worked first time on all of them! I slip stitched the hem in place and I'm glad I took the time to do this as the stitches are practically invisible. I chose not to hem at the recommended 1" as I prefer my tops to be longer so settled on 5/8".
Overall I really like this top. It feels fitted but not constricting. The neckline feels as elegant on as it looks in print and I love the kimono sleeves. However, they finish a little too low at the sides and I would raise this for the next make. It looks great tucked into a skirt. It will also work untucked with a pair of trousers without a belt that makes me look pregnant. I'm not - it is the knot of the Miette skirt belt! I can't wait to brighten up my dark coloured skirts and trousers for the office this week.