Do you ever need a quick sewing win? Life has been busy for me recently and following the completion of my Robson coat, a quick win was exactly what I needed. I've seen many Afternoon blouses popping up and decided to jump on the train.
If you don't know the Afternoon Blouse, it is the first pattern by Jennifer Lauren. It was designed with beginners in mind to complete in an afternoon (hence the name) and is very appealing due to its cute design and the fact that it has no closures. The button on the front is decorative, removing any potential beginners fear around button holes. That's definitely a win in my view! Oh, and it has Kimono sleeves. You can choose from two decorative necklines. I went for the square/triangular one as I feel it has a much cleaner finish.
Let's quickly talk about the PDF pattern. This is the best PDF pattern I have used. Jen has really thought about the best layout for the pattern. The front and back pieces are put together in separate blocks meaning you just print what you need and you have little waste. It is also exceptionally easy to put together and everything matches up perfectly.
I whipped up a quick toile to test the fit. I fell between sizes and went for the smaller one as I like a more fitted look. I also wanted to try out attaching the facings before I cut out my fabric. This is the trickiest part of construction as you have stitch the facing starting and stopping at the same place on the centre front seam. Finding the place to stop stitching is the hardest part but stitching slightly slower at this stage should give you a good result. Alternatively, you could mark the spot on both sides.
I'm on a self-imposed fabric buying ban at the moment and turned to my stash for this make. I chose this beautiful floral cotton that Kelly kindly gave my for my birthday last year. It has pin tucks and stitched in ruffles throughout. While it is very pretty, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to pull it off and feel comfortable in it. I have a mixed relationship with florals - it is so hard to find flowers in the right size, get the correct colours and find the right balance between the flowers and the background. I'm also not a huge fan of ruffles but these are small and sweet.
This blouse really does come together very quickly, mainly because there are few pieces and the stitching lines are mostly straight. My seams are turned under and stitched and I hand stitched the hem. I choose to finish the blouse with a wooden button from Hobbycraft which adds more flowers!
I like that I can match this blouse with many of my trousers and skirts. I've worn it a couple of times now, despite my initial hesitation with the fabric, and I think it will become a much worn item. However, I am surprised by just how casual the top feels. I had hoped that it would become a top specifically for the office (which I'm desperate need of, especially with the arrival of warmer weather) but it feels much more like a weekend top. Or perhaps that's only because I've worn it with denim so far...