Two Airelles


You may remember that I was given a couple of Deer and Doe patterns for my birthday. And that I was psyching myself up to make a couple of Airelle blouses. One as a sort of wearable muslin on cheaper fabric, and the other on some lawn that I spent far too long deciding on. Internet shopping is terribly addictive, but also the bane of my life. Time just slips by.


The “practice-run” was made in this green fabric that I picked up in town, one evening-impulse-fabric-shopping-trip after work. You may recognise it from the emergency tortoise I blogged recently. Actually the tortoise was made from the remnants of the top. I don’t necessarily blog things in the order that they happen.


(Yes, I do keep some of my fabric in my grandparents’ old bread bin. I’d love to use it for bread, but my kitchen is just too darn small.)

I sewed it in a bit of a hurry, before I popped back to England for The Tree Man’s surprise birthday visit. (Which really did take him by it. No cats out of the bag there!)
The pattern calls for contrasting fabric to be used for the collar and cuffs, but the identical-but-red fabric that I had left over from my red Belcarra didn’t have enough large pieces left to do both sides of the collar, (although there was enough for a tortoise belly, legs, head and tail!) In fact I had to sew two pieces together to make a piece big enough for just one side.


I also did the top-stitching on the collar and cuffs in contrasting thread. This worked nicely on the nice smooth curve of the collar,


but not so well on the cuffs. Which is why you’re not getting a close-up of them!

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If you look very closely, you’ll see that I didn’t do a very good job of getting the collar to meet at the front. There’s a gap of about 1/4 inch. Which I suppose is acceptable for my first ever collar.



When I came to cut into my gorgeous paprika-orange “Flight” voile, I was so glad that it wasn’t my first go at the pattern. For this version, I took about 1/2 inch off each side of the side seams at the bottom, and tapered it to nothing about half-way up the blouse. I also added an inch to the length of each sleeve. The cuffs on the first blouse sit almost exactly at my elbow, and I prefer them to sit just below the elbow.

Setting in the sleeves was the most difficult bit, the practice I’d had on the first blouse didn’t make it suddenly easy, I guess it takes a bit more practice than that!


On the first blouse, I gathered the sleeve slightly at the top, but this time I just went with a (insert collective noun here) of pins. My lovely old Singer is doing me proud, and is a pleasure to use. I do almost everything on it, apart from zigzagging on more delicate fabric, as it moves the fabric rather than the needle.


I went with the contrasting orange top-stitching on the navy-blue collar, as you can see,


although I avoided it on the cuffs. There’s enough to be thinking about what with gathering and pinning and what-not. Getting the stitching perfectly straight too would just be too much ;)
I took it one step further, and used navy thread for the yoke top-stitching. You can’t see it very well from far away, but it makes me happy!7



I also french-seamed the side, sleeve and yoke seams. On the first blouse I just zig-zagged and trimmed, but they do fray a bit. I often find myself picking loose threads off my freshly-washed clothes!


And then yesterday the weather was good enough (and warm enough, at least when we got high enough uphill to be above the fog) to take a couple of pictures, unhampered by jumpers and coats.

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I just love the colour of that voile! And the “V”s of migrating birds are perfect for this time of year.


6 thoughts on “Two Airelles

  1. Lovely blouses. You remind me so much of when I was your age and used to make my own clothes.
    When it comes to setting in sleeves; have you tried running two lines of stiches just inside the seam line. Tightening the upper tension so that it pulls up in a teeny gather? makes the easing easier and the pins seem to sit down on the fabric better for sewing.
    BTW 2lb of sloes from our own 2 bushes are in the freezer waiting for a rainy Sunday when i can’t get in the garden. Maybe I should start my own blog. Today emptied another spent gro-bag into large pots with ancient sprouting and almost alive spuds to go into (one of my!) greenhouse(s) so with any luck we might have new pots at Christmas.
    Seems to be spinach pickable in the ‘allotment’ self seeded from the old plants that went to seed and i left in situ as they were acting as a weed supressant.
    Oh, Roe Zee you must come down and relieve me of some more of your Grandparents things. Their old linen press is now completely full of fabric and yarn! Mind you, I thought that I had the old bread bin! Do you mean the blue enamel one, or was there a white one as well?

    1. I did use gathering stitches on the first blouse, and then on the first sleeve for the second. But I think because the fabric on the second was so much thinner, I couldn’t sew it without sewing in gather-wrinkles (I’m sure there’s a proper term for that!) so I tried the second one with just pins, and when it worked, I re-did the first sleeve.
      Re tightening the upper thread tension, I may try that next time. Good idea, thanks ;)
      I’ll be more than happy to relieve you of some of their stuff! But it may have to wait til I have a bigger flat… The bread bin I have is white with a pale blue lid and BREAD lettering. I’m pretty sure it came from Caversham…

    1. Thanks! I’m really happy with them :) and perfect for a warmish autumn, as they will be for spring. I think we tend to forget about clothes for the in-between seasons.
      Did you use a ton of pins on your sleeves too?

  2. Oh they are beautiful !
    I really love the flight fabric as well, and this colour is just gorgeous (and it looks very soft and confortable too!)
    Well done, well done !

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