Pink Ice Cream

After years of min-maxing my sewing stats, it’s not totally surprising that I like most of the pants I sew, while shirts are hit and miss. This one is a wearable miss. It checks off the essentials; it is a shirt, I think it’s reasonably well-made, I like the fabric, it fits my body. But if my list of its qualities starts with ‘it is a shirt’ you can probably tell it’s not a love match.  

This is a Seamwork Natalie blouse which in retrospect I shouldn’t have sized up. Alternatively, I should have sized up way, way more. This is a 12, one size up from my recommended 10, and instead of feeling breezy and effortless it’s just a bit big. Camp collars, y’all. I was aiming for safari style; I landed in the service sector. I’m basically dressed as the top 50% of the waitress in this Bleachers video (the irony being that I’d rather dress like Jack Antonoff and I have nobody to blame but myself!!).    

I only made tiny changes to the pattern, by adding a pocket and straightening the sleeve hems. I also used cream quilting cotton instead of interfacing. I’m not convinced I’ve been attaching interfacing well enough, as I’ve had some bubbling in the wash lately, and since most of the facing is freely moving within the shirt, I didn’t want to risk it. It made the facing a bit thick and independent-minded – hopefully it’ll get washed and worn into submission. I invisibly tacked down each side underneath the centermost corner of the pockets, but they still have occasional fits of exuberance and try to roll free. No. Stop it. Conform.

 I almost ditched the chest pockets halfway through. They kept squashing out of shape regardless of staystitching, pressing, etc., so the only iron-on interfacing is on the back of the pockets, with the seam allowances removed, to keep them on the rectangular-and-symmetrical path. It was that or throw them in the scrap box. Even though I’m not convinced they add much, I grudgingly allow that they are not too bulky, despite the double-folded box pleat at the top hem. Originally I planned to place the pleat intake on the inside but I was worried that any deep breaths would make it look like my boobs were talking and/or blinking. Nightmare averted?

I borrowed the pocket placement from my Sewaholic Granville pattern. I was surprised to see it didn’t cover the Natalie dart end – the Granville dart extends further – but for once my bust darts seem to be pointing in the right direction, and I wasn’t going to rock the boat.

I edgestitched the facings but found my stitching line upsettingly wobbly (this fabric was happy to meet an iron and it eased nicely, but it was squishier than most cotton/linens, not to mention it frayed like a sonofagun – actually, it was kind of a hot jerk) so I unpicked that sewing and replaced it with short horizontal lines.

In a partially-successful attempt to keep the facing at the back neck in place, I added a little stitched box where the collar would hide it.

You can see the fabric pretty well there; it’s a new-to-me version of Kaufman’s cotton/linen, Essex Speckled Yarn Dyed. It’s a pretty icy pink and I love speckles, but I mostly bought it because I pointed it out to Professor Boyfriend at the store and said “Look! Pink ice cream!” before realizing the actual name was “Gelato”. It was destiny. “Pink ice cream” is a reference to a monumental temper tantrum I had at age three. I screamed for ice cream for hours, one for each year of my life (I got it, too – I tell my students this story with the moral “if you scream long enough…”). As near as I can guess pink ice cream was strawberry, which continues to be one of my favorite-ever flavors, so there yah go.

I had a heck of a time choosing buttons for it; dark buttons looked objectively nice but the high contrast kind of summoned a Pink Lady energy, mother-of-pearl was too feminine for me, the wood option was too big, etc.. I bought these buttons, unsure if I would use them but convinced I just needed to get something, to add a little chocolate and vanilla to the strawberry ice cream – Neapolitan buttons.

This is a reasonably breezy blend but eh. I did not achieve the summer safari sensation I wanted. I’ve mostly been wearing this blouse open over a tank for sun protection, but I’m just unenthusiastic! I know some people lose interest in dressing for fun in winter, but that’s me in summer. I don’t have a ‘character’ for summer, just a repeatedly thwarted urge to pass myself off as an extra in The Mummy. If you’ve got a go-to pattern for breezy summer button-ups, I’d love to see it.

Stay hydrated, Northern Hemisphere! Southern Hemisphere – you have my envy.

Pattern: Seamwork Natalie

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 12

Supplies: 2 yards of Essex Speckled Yarn Dyed Gelato cotton/linen, $26.96, Gather Here; buttons, Gather Here, $4.20; thread, Michael’s, $2.39

Total time: 7.5 hours

Total cost: $32.55

13 thoughts on “Pink Ice Cream

  1. Bummer that the shirt didn’t work out but I’m happy to say that reading the post actually made me laugh out loud. I have to admit I can sort of see the service sector. Maybe it’s a mix of the color and the cut? Would dyeing it help? I have dreams of throwing a bunch of my clothes into a vat of dye, which I’m convinced will solve 90% of my problems but also I’m too scared to actually try. What about tying it in the front or tucking in (which are my solutions for any shirt that is meh but I still kinda want to wear)?


    1. Unfortunately I sew with polyester thread so dying wouldn’t work (well it would, it would just also up the contrast and I’m not that confident in my topstitching, haha). I think it’s the fit, sadly. Tying helps, good idea! Sadly, tucking just makes it look like I’m a very tidy waitress from that video. ^^


  2. It has potential! Maybe shortening the sleeves will make it look less like it’s a tad-too-oversized?

    Bubbling interfacing is the bane of my existence. All the collars on my boyfriend’s shirts I made with Kaufman cotton/linen look like a hot crunchy mess, probably because the fabric also continues to shrink and texturize over time too. I’ve started to just not interface things and deal with those consequences. I think camp collars are definitely okay without interfacing due to the casual vibe anyway.


    1. That could help! I could probably stand to reshape the side seams too.

      That wrinkly collar issue is the wooorst. I also hate cutting and marking interfacing, so I might follow your lead here and just stop. Or maybe get hardcore into buckram or something. Who knows.


  3. This is such a beautiful shirt – the fabric, the buttons, those beautiful pockets – but I can tell you’re not feeling the love, which is a shame. By the way, I have had similar problems with a blouse where the facing wants to flop out even though it has under-stitching etc. I put it down to linen being a bit bouncy. I like your idea of the square under the collar to try to tame the facing.


  4. I’m not getting the waitress vibe there (but am from the UK, maybe it’s cultural!) Sorry it’s not working for you though. So frustrating with an involved project.

    I love Style Arc’s Juliet shirt for something a bit different although it’s worth reading all the online reviews as the instructions leave something to be desired.


    1. Ooh that’s a pattern I hadn’t seen before, thanks for the tip! It’s on the right side of the line between casual and sloppy that I so often seem to tip over.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. If it helps I don’t use iron on interfacing either due to similar issues. I use various weights of cotton muslin or silk organza. The latter makes for beautifully crisp collars


    1. Thanks! Is silk organza easy to sew? I’ve never worked with silk, but I’m not at my best with slippery fabrics.


  6. I think it is lovely, but maybe a tad long. The fabric is adorable close up, particularly. I love the Helen’s Closet Gilbert button up!


    1. I’m feeling more encouraged to go back in and change some stuff. Right now it’s in the wash, but when it’s clean, I might try a shorter hem, shorter sleeves, etc.! Thanks for the recommendation!


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