When the Cali Faye Valley blouse came up as the July make for Project #SewMyStyle, I was not into it.
It’s a fine pattern, but it’s not my style. The puffy sleeves were a little too on-the-nose boho for my taste. I planned to omit them from my interpretation.
Going sleeveless was just the beginning of my pattern hacks to the Cali Faye Valley blouse!
Cali Faye Valley blouse construction details: The pattern hacks
I started this sewing project with a muslin, sleeveless and size small. The fit was fine; no alternations needed.
The original pattern has a buttoned keyhole opening in the front. With my muslin, I pinned the button closure and concluded it was unnecessary. The head opening was generous enough to easily slip the shirt over my head.
To eliminate the button closure, I removed 2 inches of width from the front pattern pieces. No sleeves = Hack No. 1. No keyhole = Hack No. 2. I was on a Cali Faye Valley blouse pattern-hacking roll!
My next hack was the big one — turning the blouse into a dress. I looked hard at my muslin and thought, “You know, this would be really cute and comfy if…”
I added about 8 inches of length to the front and back skirt pieces. Hack Número Tres! I was liking this pattern more and more!
My final hack was to include an all-in-one facing to finish the neck and arm openings. I’d never sewn an AIO facing, much less drafted one. The facing was fun to sew and is neater looking than bias binding. (Plus, I wasn’t looking forward to making bias binding for this garment.)
I plan to write a tutorial for drafting and sewing your own all-in-one facing soon, so stay tuned!
Oh yes — one more hack — I raised the neckline three-eights of an inch. This seems like such a minor alternation, let’s call it Hack No. 4.5.
Four-and-half hacks! How about that.
The fabric situation
Because I was sort-of “meh” about this pattern, I didn’t want to buy anything new to make it out of. This garment was to be born of my stash.
When I planned to make a sleeveless Valley blouse, I reached for cotton lawn. But when I pivoted to a dress, I pulled out 1.5 yards of poly twill that was a Mother’s Day gift from my older son. He and my husband were at Jo-Ann, and my kiddo pointed out the fabric and said, “I think Mom would like that!” All together now — AWWWW.
The twill is Nicole Miller for Jo-Ann, like the scuba knit I used in my Victory Patterns Jackie dress. The poly twill is opaque and fairly heavy with moderate drape, making it perfect for a skirt or swingy tank. I would not use this fabric to make something fitted; the poly would make such a garment uncomfortably hot.
Because I had limited yardage, the pattern placement on the skirt is not ideal. I’m living with it; I used pretty much every inch of my cut of fabric, so I’m taking that as a victory in low-waste sewing.
In defense of the muumuu
When my hacked Valley blouse/dress was finished, I had a revelation.
Oh geez, I thought. I made a muumuu. A mini-length muumuu.
I wasn’t trying to make a muumuu. I saw it more as a baby doll dress.
But the fabric — its bold color and big pattern — totally gave me muumuu vibes.
And those muumuu vibes worked for me.
The muumuu gets a bad wrap, like its sister garment, the caftan, for being the uniform of individuals who’ve given up on life. For too many, these dresses are synonymous with shapeless sacks.
Wrong wrong wrongity wrong.
Here are four reasons to try a muumuu:
1.) They’re perfect for in-your-face hues and patterns. If you live for color, here ya go.
2.) They’re the ultimate feminist garment. Heather Lou of Closet Case Patterns argues that flowing swaths of caftan fabric announce your presence with drama and confidence while covering all your sexy parts.
3.) They’ve got a tropical pedigree. Muumuus were born in chilled-out Hawaii.
4.) They’re comfortable. OBVIOUSLY.
I embraced No. 4 on my recent vacation to northern Wisconsin, where I worn my Valley muumuu for the first time. My food baby belly had all the room in the world in my muumuu. Yes please to more fried walleye!
And when you’re not eating, you also can wear a muumuu to herd turtles. See below:
Over to you: What’s your greatest pattern hack to date? What are your feelings on muumuus and caftans? What’s your favorite thing to wear when herding turtles? Please sound off on all these questions AND MORE (!!!) in comments! Thanks for reading!
P.S. Sorry for my absence last week! I was on holiday in the Northwoods, and I feel so recharged, you guys. Boy, I needed that!
P.P.S. Here’s my last post before I went on vacation, Sewing DIY ebook: How to make a flying geese block pillow.
P.P.P.S. If you like this #SewMyStyle project, check out my other SMS makes:
Mom status: Effortlessly cool in a Megan Nielsen Briar top
Cali Faye Collection Pocket skirt + How to use basting tape like a pro
Bridgetown backless, the forever dress
Becoming a (Manila) leggings person for Project #SewMyStyle
Named Saunio cardigan: Harder than it looks
Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2: The stylish sweatshirt