Friday, December 2, 2022

Red Velvet Nicks Blouse

We're making festive frosting over here.

Someone on the internets said something to me recently (specifically something about what "influencers" do with all of the clothing they make) got me thinking again about that perennial topic of discussion in the sewing world, cake (meaning basics and wardrobe staples) vs frosting (fanciful, fun, frivolous projects)

Frankly this comment had me seething and defensive and of two minds. First: yeah, I sew a lot of clothes. But I buy next to nothing in terms of ready-to-wear, and I wear everything I make, every day. I make almost exclusively staple items... cake, if you will. Second: mind your own business! So what if I made a ridiculous sequined ball gown frosting fantasia every day?! If the process of sewing gives me pleasure, that's all the justification I need. 

So after all that, I went ahead and made this very frosting-y project. A fancy fabric that has next to no place in my wardrobe. But it makes me happy!

The fabric is Telio Royal Rayon Nylon Crush Velvet in red, which, according to my records, I purchased from (RIP) in November of 2020, probably when I was facing the deep dread of our first pandemic winter/holiday season. It then sat in my stash for two years, untouched.

While I love the look and soft feel of this velvet, honestly, I don't know why anyone would sew with velvet. It's awful! Simultaneously slippery and sticky, it's impossible to sew precisely. And it sheds like crazy. 

For a pattern, I chose one of the newer Closet Core patterns, the Nicks blouse pattern, named after Stevie Nicks, a favorite of mine.

The Nicks has a loose-fitting V-necked bodice, and the front and back bodice pieces are gathered into a yoke. The sleeve gathered at the shoulder and has wrist pleats for shaping and an elastic gathered cuff. I went with the faced neckline with no buttons, but there is an option for a bias-bound neckline with rouleau button loops and buttons. There is a dress version, too, but I obviously chose the blouse here.

The Nicks goes up to size 32, which is designed for a 60 inch bust and 63 inch hip. I chose a size 20 from the larger range, designed for a D-cup. It worked well!

The bodice is purposefully very voluminous, although I found that the shoulders and yoke fit nicely, so be careful if you decide to size down. If you wanted to lose some of the volume, it would be wiser to just narrow the front and back pieces to take some volume out of the gathers.

I enjoyed the pattern; I like the clever way the neckline is clean finished. And I like the shape of the V-neck, which is pretty perfectly not too high and not too low. 

I love the volume in the body and sleeves. Lots of movement in a drapey fabric! You can see if blowing in the wind in these photos (and you can see a few snow flakes blowing through- that’s not dandruff!).

This combination of pattern and fabric is pushing the limits a bit. My gathers are a little bit thick in this velvet fabric, but just on the edge of reasonable.

 The elastic casing at the cuff is quite chunky in this fabric. I kinda wish I had sewn the casing as a facing in a different fabric, inside the sleeve. But what's done is done and I'm sure as hell not unpicking this fabric!

I am pretty pleased with my frosting project, haters be damned. I feel pretty fabulous draped in velvet and dripping with jewels from my favorite local jewelry designer, Soul Simone. I think Stevie would approve.