Hot! The “Life Happens” Blouse | Debi Fry

The Facts

Fabric: 1.5 metres red polyester fabric £6 from Edinburgh Fabrics
Pattern: McCall 1192
Year: c.  1945
Notions: 12 metres red sequins £6

Time to complete: 12 hours so far…

Wear again? I am lovin' this blouse

Total Cost: ~£12

Ambitious project + Crazy life events = Unfinished object

For this week's sew weekly theme I was super excited to delve into a project that I've been wanting to do for awhile:

Picture 10 I love sequins!  Not just any sequins but the types of sequined projects from the 1940's!!!  Really of all the decades, the 1940's knows how to pull off sequins elegantly!

So I began my sequines blouse.  I had some soft and drapey polyester fabric in my stash and found the perfect matching sequins at my local fabric store.  I set out to cut my fabric and then the doorbell rang.  Someone very official looking.  They handed us an envelope.  In it was a notice to quit our flat–the woman that owns the apartment wants to move back to Edinburgh and we have until the middle of July to pack up all our belongings and find a new place to live.  What????  For those of you who follow my blog, you'll know that we just moved into this flat–exactly six months ago.  We love it.  In fact, we just unpacked our last box.  Arrrggggg…

So I go back to cutting out my fabric (bad idea) and it slips around and I mess it up! To make matters worse, I didn't have enough fabric to recut the main pieces!!  grumbly, grumbly….Luckily I ended up finding more fabric at the fabric store that matched the sequins! phew!  Cutting it the second time around I was much more careful, while desperately trying to not think about all the work it's going to take to pack up again, the pain of canceling and restarting our telephone, gas, electric services, etc. etc.

DSC02091 This pattern comes with a transfer to stamp on the design guide for the sequins.  I think it's been used before but it still worked and stamped beautifully on the fabric! 

How long could it possibly take to make this blouse?  After all, I've got strings of sequins, it's not like I have to sew each one on individually.  My dear readers, I think I suffer from an acute disease called Severe Time Underestimation Disorder (STUD).  Seriously, what was I thinking?  That I could whip this up in a weekend?? (just to clarify…yes, that's exactly what I was thinking!!)

DSC02101 To add the sequins, you basically slipstitch the thread onto the stamped design.  The tricky part is you have to fold under the string at each of the ends and whipstitch those under the sequins for each swirly design (because all the swirly designs are not connected).  It's pretty straightforward but the slippy fabric makes it a bit more difficult!  18 swirly designs are done so far and there are 9 left.  It takes about 30 minutes to an 1 hour to complete each one!

I really love the design on the back of the blouse!  There is going to be an opening down the middle of the upper back–exactly between the two middle designs.  If I can get away with not putting the opening in the back then I'll just leave it!

And if I thought my week was bad enough, I also found out that I'm being made redundant at work.  I knew this was a distinct possibility but we found out that we aren't getting the funding that would have continued my position.  I'm devastated.  I love my job.  I've found the perfect mix of wonderful colleagues, amazing boss, neat location, nice environment, amazing work and good work-life balance (When do all of those ever happen all at once???)  I've been super sad all week long.

DSC02106 To cheer me up, David even spent three hours sewing sequins onto the blouse with a big bottle of wine with me! How sweet is that???  It definitely cheered me up (though despite our efforts I still didn't complete the blouse)!!

DSC02126 The good news is that I am feeling much more optimistic today.  The whole team at work is trying really hard to bring in some additional funding and I've got a few grants that I'm working on (I do research for my day job).  So I am trying to see the bright side–new opportunities and experiences!  Hopefully it will all work out but I'm trying not to stress out about it!  Maybe I should invest in Wearing History's 'Smooth Sailing' trousers pattern :)  hehehehe…that might bring me good luck!

I'm also definitely looking forward to finishing this blouse. We have international visitors flying in tomorrow to stay for a week so that will cheer me up too and hopefully I'll have some time to finish adding the sequins. 

I wanted to say a big thank you to Mena for being so supportive this week with my delayed sewing.  Do you ever have those crazy weeks, months, years where all it seems to be are lots of changes? 


Debi from My Happy Sewing Place

Debi Fry LOVES vintage patterns. She started sewing in 2009 and has been going since. In 2011, she participated in the Sew Weekly challenge and looks forward to the new challenges that lie in store!


Comments are closed.

  1. Wow, what a horrible week you have had, I do hope lots of good things come from the changes.
    I adore the pattern – I have been slightly obsessed with these 40’s short sleeved tops lately, I can’t even think what that “sleeve” or non-sleeve is called, but it has got to be flattering for a girl with swimmers shoulders and tuckshop lady arms like myself!!
    Can’t wait to see the finished product, would it have helped to completely overlock all the pieces first, in an attempt to stabalise them? For the ammount of handling required it may be worth it next time. Well done!
    Trish Blair

  2. I think you are looking at it the best way you can- who knows, all of these changes could lead you to some wonderful new opportunities! Sorry it is all happening at once though, and I hope things all go as smoothly as they can from here on.
    That blouse is just gorgeous. I saw that pattern on eBay recently, and I contemplated buying it, but someone snapped it up. It’s just lovely in the red, and I can’t wait to see it finished :)
    Take care! Chin up!

  3. OMGosh! My heart breaks for you, but what a supportive and handsome husband you have. The blouse is going to be so beautiful when it is done and I can’t wait to see it.
    To answer your question yes I have had weeks where there were lots of changes and they are stressful. The entire past two years was a big change for me. I am so sorry that you not only have to look for a new place to live (and maybe work. Yeah for the co-worker efforts to keep you.) but that after just barely unpacking you now have to do it all over again. You’ll be in my prayers.

  4. Debi! What is HAPPENING over there!? I am so sorry for the horrible no good very bad time you are having! If it helps, the blouse looks amazingly beautiful, and your husband is a keeper!
    love, Elise

  5. WOW what a week. I’ll cross my fingers (and eyes!) that things pick up.
    but also:
    WOW – Look at that blouse. This will truly be sensational when finished. I admire your patience and perseverance (and great taste in patterns and fabric).

  6. (((Debi))) I think you are amazing. What a pants week. And what a great hubbie (NO way would I let mine “help”, that would NEVER cheer me up!). Sending you my love and thoughts, Charlotte xxx
    PS at the risk of sounding shallow, that is going to be one great blouse, it’s gorgeous!

  7. Yikes Debi, you poor thing! What a week! :-( Sending you big virtual hugs from the other side of the world, and hoping you guys find an even awesomer flat and you get a job that makes you just as happy if not even more so!
    That blouse is going to look simply stunning when it’s finished. How exciting!

  8. Gosh what a stressful week! I’m one of those horribly optimistic people who think it’s happening for a GOOD reason, certainly hope so!
    Your blouse looks lovely, I used to love sewing sequins on, I often repaired my vintage clothing with sequins as often that’s the first thing to go. I love this blouse think I’ll have to keep an eye out for that pattern!!

  9. margueritedesigns

    All I can say (and I hope I don’t seem flippant) is keep calm, steadily work your way through it all and it will all come right – you’ve got some great support. Having a great distraction is a help – sew your way through the bad stuff! Blouse is amazing!

  10. Debi; I am sorry you had such a horrible week. Didn’t you have a contract for the rental of your flat? I do hope more funding will be found and that your job will be saved. I hope you received my little package and that it did manage you cheer you up just a little.

  11. Right there with you, hun! Got my fingers crossed for you :)

  12. Hi Debi,
    I find even your unfinished projects inspirational, you’ll tackle anything. You and your husband have such a positive vibe, as my Gram would say 1 door closes and another 1 opens, and it’s bound to be exciting ride! All the best.

  13. Wooowww! I made a lot of this works on evening and wedding dresses: it’s a very long work!!!!
    Good luck and I’m loooking forward to see your finished blouse!
    Alice :D

  14. Ah Debi, it’s awful when everything comes along at the same time… At least your husband is a total star! Have fun enjoying your international visitors x

  15. Best wishes Debi,
    Yes, sometimes life happens when you are minding your own business and happily going along. Thank heavens you seem to have a terrific support system in a super husband, great co-workers, and a small army of readers here from all over the world sending you prayers, hugs, and positive energy. AND…your blouse is going to be AMAZING.
    Oh, my….STUD!! So that is what my husband has!! It has a name. Is there a cure? For those of us not sticken with it, it is so sad watching the afflicted when they start a project:)

  16. So sorry to hear that you are having such a stressful time at the moment. On the bright side, your husband is just lovely, and on the fun side, the blouse is gorgeous. I find you to be very inspirational: you dream big! And not just with sewing; your radiance shines through your posts, both here and on your blog, and I am sending all the best for the flat and work situations to come out well!

  17. Awww Debi! I’m so sorry but I am confident you will turn this all around and make something wonderful out of your situation. I feel your pain on both accounts :( but on a brighter note, your blouse is stunning. David is a sweetie, so nice that you have each other! You are a lovely couple!

  18. One of the wonderful things about this sewing blog is the honesty that comes from the sewers. We have all had bad weeks in which our project didn’t turn out the way we planned or issues going on outside our sewing world. Thank you for being so frank about your situation. It makes me feel better knowing that I am not the only one who has weeks like yours.

  19. Oh honey that sucks! Best of luck finding new funding for your job. If you want to get a drink sometime and moan about it over gin and tonic let me know.
    The top is so beautiful though, and I can’t believe how much effort you (and your fantastic man!) have put into it, but it looks like it is definitely going to be worth it!

  20. judy roberson

    Just want to say…My heart and prayers are with you..What a low blow..first the news to leave your home and then your job…all in the same week. I must say ,you are an amazing woman..To have went ahead cutting out this Beautiful blouse and adding all those[me ,,I would have felt so sorry for myself…I would have sit their and cried!!!!].What a sweet help you sew on the sequins.
    The blouse is excellent!!! and we see its beauty at this point. and also see what the future holds for it..just excellent.[as you are].
    Know I will be praying for your job ,that funds will come, so you can keep it..Also, that the perfect house will you can stay and not have to move for a long,long time…

  21. Oh, no! That’s terrible! But hopefully awesome David + wine + soon to be fab blouse made you feel a bit better. Best of luck getting funding for work and finding a new flat.

  22. Oh my gosh Debi what a horrid week, I hope, no actually I’m sure everything will work out in the end, I’m a great believer in things happening for a reason and no matter how awful they may seem at the time it will all work out and be so much better!
    I’m torn between wether I would let B loose with a needle and thread or not, on one hand he’s great at details (he paints miniatures) on the other hand I think he’d spend most the time stabbing himself with the needle :)
    The top is fabulous, I love the swirls of the sequins and the colour matching is amazing! Can’t wait to see it finished :)

  23. Oh Debi- what a terrible week you are having :( I hope it starts getting better from here- because now you have lots of good wishes coming your way!
    The top looks fabulous… and how sweet of David to help you :) That photo made me smile- what a treasured memory! I can’t wait to see it finished (I know I understand why it is not yet done- I am sure everyone else does too!).

  24. I love the look of your blouse, and yes sequins can be hard to do elegantly.
    Personally speaking for this type of fabric I have got into the habit of starching it first, to tame its tendancies to ‘wander off by itself!’ and find that this helps enormously especially for cutting out.
    Hope ‘life’ settles down soon for you.

  25. You poor thing, I’m so sorry! Your blouse is beautiful and I’m impressed that you got as much finished as you did. And what a sweet picture of your husband!

  26. I hate it when life sucks all at once!! Your shirt is coming along wonderfully and will be a great cheery thing to wear when this is all done. I will send a quick prayer up for smooth sailing from here on out.

  27. I’m sorry to hear all those obstacles this week, Debi. Your shirt is beautiful though, and I can’t wait to see it completed!

  28. Thanks Trish! Actually now that I look back at the pattern instructions they do say to staystitch around all the edges but I just sort of dove in with the sequining :) I think a blouse like this would look awesome if you’ve got swimmer shoulders…I think it looks great on so many body types!!

  29. Thank you so much! I also think that some wonderful opportunities will come out of this…I’m trying not to be too nearsighted but to enjoy the moment and not to worry too much (but of course, but in the work to make good things happen)…thanks so much for your encouraging words!!

  30. Thanks so much Sue! A good dose of extra prayers would be fabulous :) And yes, David is such a sweetie..thank goodness for someone who is so supportive!!

  31. I know!!!! Thanks Elise…I am really liking the blouse so far and I think having some visitors and taking the next week off and being a bit of a tourist in Scotland will be super helpful! It was fab to meet you!

  32. Thanks so much Jen! I adore this blouse pattern and was super happy that I tackled it this week–even if I didn’t finish it…it was exactly the sort of task that was really good for taking my mind off things!

  33. Charlotte…your comments about not letting your hubbie near your projects cracked me up! Remember our conversation about hubbies who help out? heeheee… Thanks for your good thoughts…I will definitely keep them with me!!

  34. virtual hugs back to you…thank you so much!! I am going to use your positive thinking that an awesomer flat and a job that makes me just as happy or more so…as my new mantra! Thank you so much!!!

  35. Thanks Fiona! I’m a total optimist myself and after everyone’s amazing support am definitely feeling so much more upbeat! Thank you sooo much!!
    I think I might have to do much more vintage sequiny things! I love it!!

  36. Thank you so much Diane. It is really true that I’ve got amazing support…just reading through all these comments makes me feel so grateful that I’ve got such amazing support!! And such good advice to sew my way through everything! I definitely felt that way with the blouse this week!!!

  37. MARINA! Your beautiful, beautiful drawing came yesterday! It made me soooooo happy! I took it to work and put it up on my desk! Thank you so much!!!

  38. Thanks Alana!! Such a sweet comment!

  39. Thanks Krista! It is definitely an exciting ride ;-) We are trying to take in stride! As my ma says, it’s by the seat of our pants but we’ll make it!!!

  40. Thank you so much Alice! Your work is so inspirational–and yes, sequining does take a looong time but it’s sort of a meditation and very soothing!

  41. Thanks Amy! Yeah…David is stellar…an amazing guy! And I think having our guests will be a great break!!

  42. Thanks so much Helen! I do have such amazing support and I feel so grateful! It is such a blessing to read through all these amazing comments! Thank you so much! And I always wondered what it is like for those without STUD to watch those afflicted…both David and I have it big time…hehehehe

  43. Thank you so much Sarah! Your comment really made my day! David is such a sweetie (and a good sport for letting me share him with the sewing blogging world..:)) Thank you for the good wishes! I am definitely keeping them close to me!!

  44. Thank you so much Cathe!! I know we will turn this around as well…one day at a time! And I am super lucky to have David–he is such a gem and a real supporter!!

  45. Thanks so much Anna Jean! Your comment is really wonderful!

  46. YES!!! Gin and tonic!!! That would be fabulous!! Maybe at the beginning of June? Can’t wait to meet you!!

  47. Judy, you are such a wonderful person. Thank you so much for your sweet comments! Your prayers and comments mean so much to me!!

  48. Oh yes!!!! I have to say the combo (David + wine + sewing) makes me feel like I can get through anything!!! :)

  49. Thanks so much Kirsty! I do believe things happen for a reason as well and I’m trying to get my larger picture eyes on! :) David’s amazing with details as well…In fact, I’m fairly sure that in a side-by-side comparison of the sequins that his may just be much more professional looking :)

  50. Thank you so much Rachel! It is indeed a treasured memory…the beautiful thing about blogging. I’m sure in 6 months I’ll look back at this post and smile to see where I’m at this very moment and how far I’ve come :)

  51. That’s a great idea Rosemary…and the thought of this blouse wandering off by itself made me smile because that’s what it feels like sometimes :)

  52. Thanks so much Amanda! I am loving the blouse as well! And David is such a sweetie!!

  53. Thanks so much Jessie–your good wishes are just what I need :)

  54. Thanks so much Stacie! I love the shirt as well! I’m hoping I can spend some time with it this week :)

  55. Debi – I’ll go with the important stuff first: YOUR HUSBAND SEWED SEQUINS ON YOUR BLOUSE FOR YOU???? OK, there’s a candidate for sainthood if I ever saw one. Keep believing something good will happen – I had a week like yours with the culmination of being fired on the day our contractor decided to start working on the basement of our house, so I came home with no job (and no more money to pay him), to find a giant hole behind our house, the entire back wall of the house missing and the hole completely filled with with water(that eventually took days and days to pump out). My memory of that day was that I put my head down on the steering wheel and cried. But things did work out. And they will work out for you guys too. [hugs]

  56. You are so awesome! Thank you soooo much! And David is so amazing!!!!

  57. Thinking of you Debi, I wish there was more I could do or say! That blouse is incredible, I’ve even had it on my Etsy watch list for awhile (but suspected I wouldn’t have the patience for the sequins or ability to pull it off!). I LOVE that your husband helped you out, he sounds like an incredible (and handy!) man! The closest I’ve gotten to husband helping is with pinning muslins on me for fit, but that hasn’t been overly successful (I thought there was only one way a pin could go in… turns out there are multitudes of ways….). I also suspect that I have STUD to some extent too… but you’re every kind of sewing stud (take all definitions, apply to self, smile). Hope things are looking up soon xx

  58. Sorry to hear about the week dear but I think what really stood out is that you are blessed with an amazingly supportive husband! And he SEWS! I hope everything works out better for you really soon.
    The blouse looks amazing and you will always remember it as the blouse embellished with love by the two of you. How sweet is that!

  59. Oh Debi, so sad to hear about your week. I myself have been caught up in my own bubble of life, so haven’t checked in with your blog (or Mena’s) until now!
    Best of wishes for you and David in all regards and keeping happy karma thoughts for you! My Husbie, btw, also sends big thumbs up to your Husbie (he asked me to write that!) and I wanna wish you lots of luck in finishing this current project, but for speedy sewing in your next ones! xo

  60. You are so wonderful Amanda! Thank you so much!! And David is really wonderful! Thank you!!

  61. It is definitely very sweet and it was really wonderful to sit down together and work on this project. I love how supportive he is of my hobby!

  62. Thanks Veronica (David says so too) :) Speedy sewing wishes are very welcomed :)

  63. Oh, Debi, I am so sorry. That’s horrible news, I can’t believe you are still standing and sewing! God, what a week for you! Your positivity is inspirational. I’m so sorry to hear that, but I know that you will find a way to fix it or make it work. As someone who applied for jobs for 11 months before finding my current position as a development associate (speaking of grant writing…) I sympathize. It’s hard out there. But any company would be wildly lucky to have you.
    And that’s just the most lovely top I’ve seen in a while. I can’t believe your husband helped you sew, that’s love. I can’t wait to see the final product on you.

  64. Thanks so much Leah! You are so great!!! Yeah…job searching is really tough especially in this current climate but I am lucky to have such great support!!!

  65. Claire Williamson

    I’m really sorry to hear what is going on just now Debi, jobs are awful at the moment and to have flat problems at the same time is just terrible. If it helps just remember you live in the most beautiful city in the world (I live in Ed too so I’m biased…) and you WILL find a flat equally amazing to live just don’t rush, don’t panic and it will come along, as will a job. Life will work out and so will the top which looks lovely!

  66. ooh, a man who sews sequins? Hubba hubba! Hope things work out for the best Debi, try to keep your chin up. I am sure I speak for many of us when I say I’ll be thinking of you and wishing you the very best.

  67. Ahhh Debi I send you loads of luck to see you through this rough patch it happens to the best of us. I think your sequinned top will look amazing when she’s finished well done as all ways.

  68. Thank you so much Claire! Ed is indeed the BEST CITY EVER. We’ve been looking at flats and there are so many amazing ones! I think your advice about not panicking and not rushing is so good…I’m actually taking this week off and spending some time with international visitors and that is fantastic!!! We should do an Edinburgh meet-up!

  69. Thank you so much Jenn! Your comments are so lovely and really made my morning!!

  70. Thanks Kazz for the lucky wishes!!!

  71. Your blouse is coming along SO beautifully! I am very sorry to hear of your misfortunes at home and work. I hope it all works out, and know that we all love and support you!
    Best wishes!

  72. Thank you soooo much Lisette! I am sending a big hug from across the Atlantic :)

  73. If there had not been a picture of your man working on the blouse I really would not have believed it! That is, SO cool:)
    Ahh changes.. I have a hate and love relationship with them..
    Because when I think about it, it might be hell for some time, but in the end things have a tendency to work out..
    I was sure my world would crumble when I found I had to move.
    But after some tears, lot of research etc. things slowly turned my way.
    What can I say, now things are actually just fine:)
    So I am quite confident it will work out for you!