Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vintage Gingham - peasant top

Ta-da! This is the big reveal. I am feeling really excited about this little addition to my summer wardrobe.

If you remember back to my earlier post on March 28. Mena over at Sew Weekly inspired me to do something with my stash. My stash included a pattern of some cute peasant style tops I've had in the closet for years. Then on a fun thrifting jaunt with my daughter I snatched up some green - big bold vintage green gingham checks that is.
To be honest I plucked two cute fabrics that day totaling 5+ yards at total price of just over $2.50. I intended to make a cute dress with the solid green linen-like cotton but the darn buttonholes kicked my butt. I even had hubby in the dining room helping me sort through all my "extra" parts that came with my sewing machine (a long time ago) that I never ventured to experiment with - namely those required for buttonholes and zippers. We had the parts and the instructional guide open, reading, reading... Yes - I was the poster child of the straight-stitch, but hey, over the years I made a lot of darling curtains, tablecloths, quilt tops, baby blankets and pullover Halloween costumes without ever needing these attachments.

But now - at nearly 50 years of age - I wanted more. I wanted to stop avoiding the patterns that really appealed to me, and yet here I was stuck, frustrated and feeling low. Now I had blogged about that dress with buttons down the front so I had to meet the challenge. I decided to take a little break and use the gingham to meet the stash challenge and make a peasant top for summer. This would boost my sense of accomplishment, right?
Imagine my surprise when after cutting out the pattern I read the step-by-step instructions and did a double-take when I saw ...mark the buttonholes! What? Buttonholes? Where, oh where, could a pullover peasant blouse with drawstring neckline require buttonholes? It turns out the two openings that you feed the draw string through are actually buttonholes. Time to meet the challenge head on.
After asking a few friends - quilters - no help. I found a Sewing Center in a neighboring town where I took my machine in to complain it would not make buttonholes. It must need repairs or adjustments I told the woman at the register. Immediately she identified that I did not have my bobbin installed correctly - I was red faced with embarrassment but she was so kind. She talked about a "get to know your machine" class coming up in May. May? I told her I know my machine very well, just not the buttonhole attachments. LOL. Long story short she invited me that very night to an ongoing open workshop style class where people work on their own projects every Monday night, and she is there and available to call on for help. She felt very confident she could help me learn to make a buttonhole with my own machine.
Well friends, the rest is history as you can see by the pictures. I made two small and perfect buttonholes - easy peasy! Thank you Nancy! I even had the correct foot all along but just couldn't identify it from the instruction photo's. I plan to continue with the Monday night workshops - it reminds me of the sewing part of high school Home-Ec which is a fond memory for me. Some of the other ladies have been coming for 8+ years! I'm really pleased with how the little top came out and I really love the cotton crocheted lace trim.
Next project - the button down shirt waist dress.


  1. Bravo! Getting past the mechanics so you are free to create...good for you! I like this top so much, the trim, the gathering and the length...a perfect summer top, enjoy! How great to discover this Monday group, now you can take on some great projects and have back-up!

  2. @ Blue Sky - nice compliment from my favorite artist! Can you believe last night the teacher of the Monday group called me at home to tell me she quit the sewing shop...after 30 years working there. What? Luckily she will be teaching from her home and is dividing the group between Monday & Tues. evenings. Whew!