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Gemma’s Bakerloo Blouse

Gemma has joined the Bakerloo Party, using her shimmer viscose from the Classic Box to make the Bakerloo Blouse by Nina Lee

We all know that I’m usually a late entrant to a pattern party, deciding to make a popular pattern long after it has been released. This time is no different! However, the pattern I chose this month is gaining popularity at the moment despite being around for a while, and when I saw the fabric I knew it was perfect timing for giving it a go.

The fabric is everything that sums up this time of year – red, shimmery and luxurious. It gave me glitzy party vibes, and I wanted to make something that would make me party ready should I get a last minute invite. Despite looking beautiful it is a slippery fabric, and does tend to fray, so I wanted a pattern that was simple yet effective in showing it off, without the risk of it coming apart, and decided it was time to join the Bakerloo Blouse Party.

Big frilly collars are very in right now, especially as layering pieces. This pattern by Nina Lee is a great statement piece: extravagant ruffled collar, voluminous sleeves, and a button/keyhole back closure. It can also be made as a dress, but I thought the Blouse would look amazing in this fabric – I was really starting to think of Quality Street sweets! And for once I would be on time for a pattern party, what a win!

Nina has launched an expanded size range for her patterns which is great, however for me I was on the fence for either the largest of the first size band or smallest of the second, which was quite a dilemma. I would have liked to have the options for all sizes, especially as it was the first time I was making it, but decided to go with the smaller size band, and went with the size 20.

You do need to be really careful when cutting out this fabric: it does tend to move around quite a bit! Luckily there is a little forgiveness with these pattern pieces, but I would recommend a lot of weights when cutting.

I found the construction of the blouse pretty straightforward – Nina has great step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. I thought the collar would be complicated to make, but if you take your time with it, it comes together fairly well – the trickiest part is getting that corner frill looking good. I’m happy with how mine has come out the first time, although do make sure that your ruffle does not get caught on itself. It feels a little magical when you turn it out and have such beauty constructed!

I like that the neckline is finished with bias binding, but I didn’t fancy trying to handle making one in such a fluid fabric, and opted to use a floral cotton from my stash – you might actually recognise it from a previous box! I think this also helped give a little more stability to the neck, adding a bit more structure, especially at the back with the button and keyhole closure. It also gave a neat finish, as this fabric does fray, so I really recommend finishing your seams with your overlocker, or go one better and use French seams.

I did have one issue when making the blouse (I knew it couldn’t be that simple!) The sleeves. I’m not quite sure what happened, I went with the longer length version as I wanted a full sleeve however when I tried it on before adding the elastic they were miles too long, way past my hands! I know I’m on the shorter side but this was comical! Rather than wasting fabric and re-cutting the shorter length I just decided to cut a big chunk off and add the elastic in with a channel on the hem, instead of using a facing. I don’t think it’s that noticeable and still comfortable.

Considering a few years ago I preferred unfussy, plain necklines on my garments, I can’t get over how much I love this! I think it is the best Christmas pairing I could hope for, and feels incredible to wear. I can see why this pattern is so popular, it is simple yet very gorgeous and looks a lot more complicated than it is. It’s such a versatile make in terms of being a wardrobe staple, and given how much of a repeat pattern-er I am, I know for sure this will be my latest obsession! I’m already planning to sew the dress version, and cannot wait to wear this blouse throughout the festive season!