Saturday, 11 October 2014

Polka dot Mimi Blouse

At long last, I have finished my Mimi blouse! I started this in the summer but had put it to one side as was finding it a bit tricky.

Mimi Blouse

Now I've finally finished it, I'm so pleased with the finished result. Although sewing this has made me realize I have nothing in my wardrobe that it really goes with!

The Mimi Blouse is taken from Tilly Walnes' excellent book Love at First Stitch that I wrote about here.  I'd previously made the Delphine skirt (my first skirt) and wanted to tackle the Mimi blouse next. Maybe I was being a bit over ambitious, anyway it's certainly added some new skills to my sewing repertoire.

Mimi Blouse from Love at First Stitch
Mimi Blouse taken from Love at First Stitch

I love Tilly's style and think that  the book is an excellent resource for anyone beginning dressmaking, as is Tilly's blog.

The Mimi blouse uses quite a lot of different sewing skills, and I wouldn't recommend tackling this as your first make from the book. I made the blouse in a size 4 (Tilly's patterns range from size 1-8) based on my measurements. The blouse does include a lot of ease (7 inches) so if you like a more fitted style you may want to go down a size or tinker with it.

Mimi Blouse - front view

The material I chose was a cheap poly-cotton mix that I got on the market at St Albans. It's got a nice drape to it but I did find it very difficult to gather. I've gathered skirts and sleeves before and never encountered any trouble. When I tackled the gathered sleeve heads, the gathers just dropped out no matter how times I pulled them up. In the end I gave up and decided to try and ease the sleeves in. I managed this with only a few puckers.  Maybe the difficulty I had gathering the sleeves was something to do with the fabric? Any advice?

The Mimi blouse has a chelsea collar which is a cute detail.  However, the chelsea collar is much trickier than a Peter Pan collar as it's hard to get the points to match perfectly and they took a lot of coaxing out with a pin.

Mimi Blouse

Things I like about the blouse:

It's cute and has a vintage feel.
The polka dots!
The little pleats on the sleeve edges.
My button holes. All neatly done and evenly spaced. They came out slightly larger than I had planned so I just scaled up the buttons to 15mm rather than the 12mm recommended in the pattern.
My self covered buttons. I used my new gadget and it's great!

Mimi Blouse - Back view

Things I don't like about the blouse:

Nothing! I'm really pleased with this bit of sewing. It was time consuming and I nearly gave up at one point but I'm glad I persevered.

Mimi Blouse

I'm not sure I would want to make this blouse again but I definitely learnt a lot making it. I also like how Tilly makes suggestions in her book on how to make the blouse your own such as adding details like piping.

A couple of tips:
Tilly doesn't mention how to trim down the hem at the front facings to make it less bulky. I followed a method described in the Complete Book of Sewing that I've mentioned before, which really is like my sewing bible.

Complete Book of Sewing
The Complete Book of Sewing by DK

I  trimmed the hem allowance on the  facing to 5/8 inch wide , then the next part of the hem allowance to 1 inch wide stopping about 1/2 inch away from the point where the facing reaches when folded in. This made the hem much less bulky.

I would also move the button holes slightly as the spacing as per the pattern seems to leave a rather large gap at the top.

All in all, the Mimi Blouse is a great pattern. It's as Tilly says - "super cute". It's maybe a bit smart for every day wear, for me anyway. I think I need to start thinking about what I would want to wear on a daily basis rather than making something just because I find it irresistible!

The weather has turned colder the last few days and I'm thinking practical winter dresses or skirts in corduroy or heavier material, and I'm going to be tackling some knit fabric. What have you got planned to sew for the autumn/winter? I'd love to know.

Mimi Blouse

Also apologies for all the cheesy photographs, I've just treated myself to a tripod and have been experimenting with the self timer!


  1. Lol, love the cheesy photos! I like your mimi blouse, the polka dots are very cute, thanks for the warning about the button spacing too I'll keep that in mind for when I finally get around to sewing one for myself.

    1. Thanks Grace! I love polka dots. Just had a look at your blog you've been sewing some great things too x


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