Completed: the Meissa Blouse

28 Feb

I think every sewist has a dream fabric that they’ve spent years searching for in vain. It’s not necessarily a weird combination of prints and colors on a totally inappropriate weave, but whatever the specific end result is, it’s nowhere to be found. I have two – a wide (like 3″ or more) white and navy striped twill, and a bicycle print that is NOT quilting cotton.

Meissa Blouse

I gave up on the stripes, but the bicycle print really haunts me. I’ve seen some cute little stylized bikies (see my Bicycley Belladone for an example), but I was holding out for that literal printed-bike-on-some-lightweight-cotton-in-a-nice-color-combination that didn’t seem to exist. And NO pennyfarthings! I want real bikes, not some super hipster twiddly mustache crap.

Meissa Blouse

I had this particular fabric in mind when I was contacted by Organic Cotton Plus with offers to try out some of their yardage. I’d just been back from snooping at Brooks Brothers, specifically zeroing in on this Bicycle print button-up. Isn’t that shit amazing? Argh! So I thought to myself, “Cool, well I’ll just get a stamp and make my own, yeah? Oh, they don’t have any batiste in good colors… but they do have dye…”

And this, my friends, is how I ended up with two yards of white cotton batiste, emerald green Procion dye and some weird little bag of soda ash. Have I gotten in over my head? Probably.

Meissa Blouse

My first couple of days were preparing the fabric – first, I dyed it in a bucket (for real; I stood at the kitchen sink with a my Kindle on Netflix and squished it around the water while wearing gloves, ha!). I wish I would have used a bit more dye in my mix; the end result color is pretty, but it is lighter than the emerald green I was anticipating. On the flip side, though, the dye took evenly all the way across the fabric, so yay!

After I finished the dye bath and let the fabric dry, I took to stamping the entire yardage with a rubber stamp and fabric paint (I blobbed my paint into a dried-up ink pad to make it easier to use). I thought this part was gonna take forever, but it wasn’t too bad! Since stamping tends to look pretty, well, stamped (i.e., it’s not exact and you won’t get a perfect image transfer every single time), I didn’t follow any straight lines and just kind of stamped around haphazardly. After I cut the pieces, I re-stamped a few that had big gaps. This particular ink is great because you don’t have to heat-set it to keep it from washing out (which is good bc I’d spent long enough prepping the fabric, so one less end task is good in my book!), and the ink itself absorbs into the fabric and is not stiff.

Meissa Blouse

Other than the dye reaction it had (which is I think my fault for not making a strong enough dye bath, oops. Live and learn!), I really enjoyed working with this fabric. The batiste is one of those good ones that feels like there’s silk or something smooth and luscious blended in the fabric, but it is truly 100% cotton (and organic, no less!). Because it is cotton, it presses well, which makes it perfect for shirtmaking. It’s also not super sheer like some batistes – even the virgin white would be fine for a shirt. Always a plus in my book!

Meissa Blouse

The pattern I used is the Meissa Blouse from my beloved Papercut Patterns. I love this pattern because it’s a casual button-up without being an Archer (which I obviously LOOOVE, but hey yo, a girl’s gotta branch out!), ha. The little feminine details – the rounded collar, the shoulder yokes with the little gathers, the double buttons – seemed like a good match for this fabric, and a nice nod to my original inspiration without being a blatant copy.

Meissa Blouse

The pattern instructions make this thing really, really easy. Katie has had lots of praise around the webs for how good they are, and it’s all try! Really basic, really straightforward, and beautiful results. I did change a few things just because I’ve hit my personal shirtmaking stride – I flat-felled every seam (the way the shirt is made, only the side and underarm seams are not enclosed, so it’s not like you have a flat fell a million seams to do this) and I pulled in the waist an additional 1/2″ or so. I also shortened the sleeves by about 1″.

Meissa Blouse

Meissa Blouse

Whatever I did to the sleeve seams now means that I cannot button the cuffs around my wrist – they are WAY too small! Whoops! Oh well, this is totally a summer shirt, and I’ll never wear those sleeves rolled down anyway. Ha!

Meissa Blouse

Meissa Blouse

To keep the shirt from being overwhelmingly green, I added some cotton braid to the inside of the button band (butted up right against the stitching line) and inside the sleeve cuffs.

Meissa Blouse

Meissa Blouse

The sleeve cuff treatment is something I saw on the Brook’s Brothers shirt (seriously… if you have a Brooks Brothers in your area, you should snoop it. Some of the finishing inside the clothes there was pretty awesome!). There was a little piece of petersham ribbon tucked in the seam at the top of the cuff, which shows when you flip up the cuffs. Using that inspiration, I tried to do the same thing with my shirt. It’s a liiiiiittle sloppy because I was experimenting, but I like how it turned out! It even makes me ok with the fact that I can’t use the cuffs πŸ™‚

Meissa Blouse

I’m super happy with all the detailing on the shirt. I used lots of topstitching so it would really stand out.

Meissa Blouse

And hey, check it out – the shirt is long enough to where I can tie the bottom in a knot, like a fashion blogger or some shit.

Meissa Blouse

Meissa Blouse

~So fashun.

Meissa Blouse

I still have quite a bit of the dye & soda ash left over. I’m thinking I may buy a load of silk and sandwash the shit out of it. My friend Elizabeth uses soda ash to prewash her silks into this amazing textured wonderland, so I can’t wait to try that! I will definitely report back with results. First, I gotta find a washing machine, though πŸ˜‰

Ok, ONE last thing – and I promise this is a good one! Remember The Great British Sewing Bee and how we (we as in Americans, ha) bitched about not having a US version of the show? Well, I was contacted by a Love Productions, who is in the process of producing and casting a pilot for – you guessed it – an American version, called The Sewing Bee! They are currently on the hunt for amateur sewists in the NY, CT & NJ area (although if they get picked up, they will expand to nationwide). I actually ended up talking to one of the producers on the phone and I’m really excited to hear about the plans they have in the works – such as, the show will differ slightly from the UK version in that there will be a different set of contestants and winners every week. One thing that is similar is how they plan on editing – as far as I know, it will be as drama-free as the UK version, which is what I like most about it!

Click here for a bigger version of the flyer

If you’re in the area (or don’t mind traveling and camping out for a couple of weeks, I guess), you should definitely try out for the show! And then report back to me, because I want to see y’all on the teeeveeee!


65 Responses to “Completed: the Meissa Blouse”

  1. carlalissa February 28, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    OMG Lauren you rock on da shirt!!! looooove it!!!

  2. Anna February 28, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    Excellent shirt! I want one πŸ™‚

  3. ekabby111 February 28, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    I love it! It’s a very elementary school process that gives you a result that doesn’t look like an elementary schooler made it!

    Also, so you were on the phone with a producer…does that mean that YOU’RE GOING TO BE ON TEEVEE?! Oh em gee. You should totally be on teevee! Because that would be so swell.

    #boundlessenthusiasmforyourstardom #toomuchcoffeetoomuchworktodo

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:24 am #

      haha helllllll naw!! I don’t think I can handle any more sewing contests πŸ™‚

  4. Kristin Saunders February 28, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    Love this! I recently bought a cotton gauze, dyed it red, and hand stamped it for a Valentine’s Day scarf (we were in the midst of a snowstorm and went out for pizza – a dress as gorgeous yours for V-Day just wouldn’t have worked). I’ve dyed fabric in the washing machine and much prefer the bucket/sink method…rinsing all the dye out of the machine ran the H20 bill WAY up! Spoonflower has some bicycle prints and some different fabric choices (if you don’t mind spending a fortune per yard). I do mind, and I sometimes question how well their fabric colors hold up to washing and wearing. Beautiful shirt, I especially admire the details and top stitching.

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:26 am #

      Oh, that sounds cute! Now that I’ve got the hand stamping bug, I want to print everythinggggg haha. And yeah, I like some of the stuff I see on Spoonflower but it’s a bit out of my budget right now!

  5. lisa g February 28, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    okay, i love the bicycle print! and i really like the touches of ribbon. clever girl! i’ll check out the fabric paint you used because i’ve been wanting to make a polka dot stamped chambray… and a few other random prints i have floating around in my head. great shirt!

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      Have you seen this tutorial from Miss P? I’ve been meaning to try this for ages – not necessary on RTW jeans, but on a piece of chambray because, yes, polka dot chambray is a MUST in my wardrobe!

  6. sewlittletime February 28, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    love it! the little flashes of blue at the cuffs and placket finish it off perfectly!

  7. jenna (@KittyCatStevens) February 28, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    literally cheering and crying over here. you are so wonderful! let’s make matching kitten stamped tops, y/n?

  8. smonakey February 28, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    That’s an amazing shirt! I really like how you’ve got space between the stamping. I know that I’d be tempted to fill every bit of blank space with the design & then it would look like a hot cluttered mess.

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      I know, I was tempted too! But I figure, less is more – plus, you can always fill in the gaps once you cut your pieces out (which I did, but again – haaaard to not go overboard on that hah)

  9. sewingonpins February 28, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    I am shaking my head in amazement at you. Can’t find the fabric you want? Pfft, no biggy, dye and stamp it yourself! You’re an inspiration, Lauren. πŸ™‚ That’s a great top in a really fun fabric, and you’re putting ideas in my head for getting the fabrics I want in my current wasteland of fabric options.

  10. Elle February 28, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    I’m excited to see you made this up! I know everyone loves the Archer, but I’m just not sure it would be flattering on me, and I’ve been eyeing the Meissa from a distance for a while now. Yours is super cute! Love the bike print.

  11. Kim February 28, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Love your shirt! I love the cotton braid you added. Keeping that in mind for future Archers πŸ™‚ I practiced stamping fabric the other day and really loved it. Also I love putting my silks in soda ash as it gives them a bit of a silk crepe look!

  12. Anonymous February 28, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    Lovely shirt. *Adds pattern to list*. I hear Kalkatroona is a pretty cool neighbourhood of New York. Can you invite yourself to camp at Oona’s for a couple of weeks so that you can BOTH be on the teeeveeee? Perlease? Imagine, my two favourite American bloggers on telly, it would be too fab for words [And if you feel awkward about inviting yourself, no worries, I’ve just done it for you – and I don’t know either of you. He he].

    • Jess February 28, 2014 at 11:38 am #

      Oops – I didn’t mean to post that Anonymously – typing mishap!

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      Haha, I do love Oona and I’d leap at a chance to see her pad irl, but I think no more sewing contests for me πŸ™‚ Anyway, I don’t qualify because I’m technically not an amateur (having sewn professionally in the past) πŸ™‚ But, you know, I would still love to be on the teeeveeee, so maybe some other option might present itself!

  13. Lorene February 28, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    My mom totally needs to apply for the Sewing Bee. She lives in NJ and is an amazing sewist!

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:33 am #

      Yes do it! We need more older ladies in these contests (not saying your mom is an old woman or anything… but I’m gonna assume she’s not in the 20-30 age bracket, you know? :)). I really love watching people who have been doing something longer than I’ve been alive – you learn soo much!

  14. Michelle February 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    I’m SO EXCITED that the GBSB is going to make its way to America. It’s too bad it’s not open to a larger group of people, but we’ll take what we can get and then demand more once we’ve got it. The shirt look FANTASTIC! I really love the pops of contrast.

  15. Danica February 28, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Never have seen the Meissa, but I love it! The stamps are perfect. And the comment…”not some super hipster twiddly mustache crap” made me laugh. Too funny.

  16. joellestlaurent February 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    I am dying to make the meissa! Yours is lovely, and it’s funny you posted this today and show just how far you are willing to go to satisfy your obsession for bicycle fabric, because I saw this today and thought of you!

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:37 am #

      Damn! That’s like, so perfect. I wonder how much their international shipping is… ? πŸ™‚

      • Joelle St-Laurent March 6, 2014 at 8:38 am #

        the shiping is a bit pricey (15euros flat rate shipping for you, 10 euros for me in europe), but i seriously want *everything* in this shop. she has all my dream fabrics. the question is how long i can resist!!

  17. maddie February 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    Yes! Please tell me that you don’t have a washer and dryer and have to go to the laundromat because I do too! It’s the happening place to be on a Sunday afternoon! Hotties in wife beaters galore.

    When I first saw this shirt, I thought the fabric was already printed. I cannot believe that you transformed plain white batiste into this green fabulousness. And what a neat trick about the petersham tape. I have some extra left over from my green dress. I might be able to incorporate it in a similar way in a pair of shorts I’m making.

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:38 am #

      Girl, we’re even trashier than that – we HAVE a washer and dryer, but they don’t work (well, the dryer does. But the set is one of those apartment-sized stackables, so if we dump the washer, we gotta dump the dryer too, argh. And fixing the washer would cost more than we can afford right now). So yeah, we wash everything at the ‘mat and then dry it at home hahaha. I don’t mind the laundromat tooo much because at least I can get everything washed at once, but, ugh, I hate lugging it all around.

  18. TheEnchantedLilypad (@enchantedlilypd) February 28, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    Omg! Yay for The Sewing Bee!!! I hope to see YOU on tv!!!

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:39 am #

      As long as I’m not a contestant, haha!

  19. tialys February 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    It will be interesting to see what the U.S. makes of the GBSB. I’m pleased they are going to keep the ‘no drama’ aspect of it. I watched the first episode of the 19th(?) series of ‘America’s Next Top Model last night’ – well, I was killing time for half an hour so it’s my own fault – and the ‘drama’ in that is enough to make a sane person renounce the T.V. for evermore, although I do find it incredibly funny. Am I supposed to? The GBSB is comfort T.V. Everybody is supportive and lovely to eachother and nobody is shouty and brash and we actually learn something from time to time – well, I do anyway πŸ™‚
    Are you not applying?

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Yeah, I don’t care much for the drama on reality tv. I understand that it makes good entertainment – and having worked in the media field, I understand how important ratings are. But I also hear horror stories about relationships being completely ruined because of the egging on and editing that happens with reality tv. What tiny bit of bleeding heart I have left HATES that! So I agree with you – GBSB is totally comfort TV. It’s just so warm and snuggly and happy!

      I’m not applying. I don’t qualify (besides the whole part about not living in the area, I also have sewn professionally, which makes me not an amateur), and anyway, I think I’ve had my share of sewing contests πŸ™‚

  20. tworandomwords February 28, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    The fabric I’ve been dreaming about is a heavy cotton twill with tiny crayfish embroidered on it (once seen in a local designer shop – the skirt was $300 and the jacket was $500), and BEES. I’ve actually been wanting to try stamping fabric but lawd I have so many other things I want to do too!

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Whoaaa, that sounds amazing!! I want some bee fabric too!! Gonna go find me a bee stamp now. I already talked myself out of the ant stamp, but maybe it would have been a worthwhile investment…

  21. Marie February 28, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    Love this Lauren! The bicycle print idea was genius and totally paid off…what a unique blouse! The pattern’s been on my wishlist since it was released…must get around to it asap! Also, I’d love to see you on the US Sewing Bee when it expands nationwide ;o)

  22. Katie February 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Ooh so cool, I’m totally going to try some stamping!
    Re stripy twill, was just browsing etsy for fabric (what’s new) and came across this. It’s a canvas cotton rather than twill but might work?!

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:43 am #

      Oooh, possibly! Thanks for the head’s up! πŸ™‚

  23. Emmely March 1, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    I like the colour you dyed the fabric! The bicycles look really cool. Did you add salt to your dye bath? That can improve the intensity of the colour. Also the lenght of time that you keep the fabric in the dye bath and the temperature (warm) during the batching process will have influence on how bright and intense the colour turns out. I usually let it sit for 24h.
    I would never dare to dye in my kitchen, I am such a klutz I would most certainly splash it all over the place.

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      Yes, I followed the directions on the website, which included salt and very warm water and stirring it constantly for the max allotted time (about an hour). If you leave it for a full 24 hours, don’t you get uneven dye? I thought that’s why it had to be stirred around constantly. I’m new to this, can you tell? πŸ™‚

      • Emmely March 1, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

        I looked at the instructions on the website and they’re a little different from the ones I’ve used so far. I thought the minimal recommended time for batching was 4 hours. Most of the dyeing reaction happens at the beginning though and stirring is most important then. It might be true though that leaving it very long without stirring causes less even dyeing, it does give a bit more intense colouring though than dyeing for just 1 hour.

  24. Lori March 1, 2014 at 7:48 am #

    That is a fabulous shirt, Lauren, I just love it. Thanks for the ribbon idea, it really finishes the inside cuff.

  25. aem2 March 1, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    Looks great! *starts sourcing bicycle stamps*

  26. AmyBrice March 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    Very impressive Lauren….I’m loving the green.

  27. Laure March 1, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    Congratulations. It’s beautiful. Laure

  28. Hannah March 1, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    Love the printing, I’ve been trying out fabric paints and creating my own print fabric too, and with bicycles!!

    Love the sewing bee and always up for seeing more sewing on TV, so would love to see another version.


  29. sallie March 2, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    YYYEEESSSS!!! I love that motivation of “can’t find my dream fabric, so f*ck it! I’ll MAKEIT!” Seriously cool. Your little bicycle stamping is just so sweet – and it works perfectly on this Meissa. Also, love your little cotton braid touches – the little accent color is brilliant! And an American Sewing Bee??!?! I’d watch the shit outta dat!

  30. tillybuttons March 2, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Wow! Love the fact that you took matters into your own hands and made your own bicycle print! Very cool. Ooh that reminds me, I saw a bicycle knit fabric the other day:
    Could make a cute dress? xx

  31. reschefski March 2, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    Wow, that shirt looks really nice. I was actually planning to do a bit of fabric stamping for the first time myself this weekend, but the weather was so nice I didn’t get around to it. Your fab shirt just reminded me why I wanted to do it in the first place – to make something truly unique. Thanks for that πŸ™‚

  32. patricia March 3, 2014 at 6:08 am #

    I love the style and color. You look great in everything that you create. I love your blog! Definitely one of my favorites!

  33. Colleen March 3, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    Lauren, it’s amazing — I can’t believe you stamped that and those details on the blouse! It’s one of my favorite makes of yours!

  34. June March 3, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Ha ha, I am so going to use “super hipster twiddly mustache crap” to describe annoying things from now on. Great job on dyeing and stamping – isn’t that fun?

    • LLADYBIRD March 5, 2014 at 9:12 am #

      Super cute, but unfortunately it’s a knit… my quest for a woven bicycle fabric continues πŸ˜‰

  35. Kimmie March 5, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    The details on this shirt are perfect!! Slightly western but not over the top! I love it! I saw a bike print blouse at target the I
    Other day but it was kinda fug now that I see how cute this one is

  36. Louise Vaan March 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Saw this and thought of you ……

  37. poppykettle March 15, 2014 at 5:57 am #

    Oh so late to the party – but I freakin love this. What a fabulous pattern, but lets be honest – the fabric always maketh the pattern. Nice work πŸ™‚

  38. girlfightwin March 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    Saw this online today and couldn’t help but think of your shirt! …which is super cute bt-dubs!

    • LLADYBIRD March 19, 2014 at 7:56 am #

      Ooh, I love that! The colors are perfect πŸ™‚

  39. Suzanne Keller April 12, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    A very brilliant idea!! Never thought that an ordinary stamping set can turned out to be a very beautiful pattern. Dont worry about the color the blouse turned out to be so beautiful. Well I guess I have to asked someone to do me a personalize stamp set… i prefer the LV design. LOL!

  40. Anonymous August 29, 2014 at 6:23 am #

    Wow! you did an awsome job. Looooooove it a lot


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