Hot! The “geology” outfit

The Facts:
Fabric: Thrifted cotton/rayon blend blouse ($2) and thrifted polyester skirt ($3)
Pattern: McCall’s 5372
Year: 1991
Notions: Bias tape
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: February 2012
Wear again? I’ll wear the skirt again. I like the blouse, but I’m not too sure about it. And I don’t think the two are very flattering together, after all.
Total Cost: about $5.50


The print on this blouse reminds me a lot of geological thin sections – rock samples sliced very thin and polished smooth to be examined under a microscope. Some of the resulting images are really beautiful, I think.

Thin section (British Geological Survey)

Blouse pattern

I try to buy most of my fabric, notions and patterns at thrift stores and estate sales – to save money mostly, but also because the treasure-hunt element sort of appeals. It had been a long time, though, since I had shopped for clothing at a thrift store, and it was a little overwhelming at first. So I picked up the top because I liked the print and figured that was as good a place as any to start.

It was a simple, short-sleeve button-down blouse, that I turned into another kind of simple, short-sleeve blouse – but with buttons down the back – using a “fashion basics” pattern.

There’s a lot of early ‘90s styling to get past on the envelope, but I have to say, the silhouette itself seems pretty relevant (I especially like the sleeveless version with the bows). It’s a super easy pattern – I think it took as long to take the original blouse apart as it did to sew up the new one –and I’m sure I’ll use it again.

I just wish I had made it a bit longer. I felt like I was always wanting to tug it down.

The skirt is was just one of those high-waisted, calf-length numbers that thrift stores are always full of.  I liked the pockets and the pleats on this one. All I did to it was take a few inches off the bottom, so hardly a refashion. But nonetheless, a good reminder of how useful, if a little boring, it can be to hem. I’ll wear it again, especially in the spring. But not with the top: Worn together, I lose my waist.



Jennifer T.

Jenn Torres lives right in the middle of California. Sewing is one of the things she's trying to get better at.


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  1. That’s so cute! The fabric also sort of looks like the sateen from the fall Lisette line

  2. Cute simplicity. Nice work.

  3. The top is super cute. You now pair with pair of clover colette pants, it will show off that waistline! The fabric for the top is super fun.

  4. Oooh, I really like the fabric from the top! And what a fantastic inspiration – the thin sections. I can see how the top might be too short. What about adding a band of another colour, or gathering it into a waistband, for a blouson effect. Or adding a band with a tie, like I did with my Deco Echo blouse?

    I’d love to see a full image of the skirt too.

    • Such good ideas! Thank you so much! I used the hem from the original shirt, so I was thinking that, if I was careful and patient, I could take it apart and gain another inch or so. But I like your thoughts a lot better.

  5. I love that you have compared the fabric to the slide section, that is really cool!

  6. I think you’ve got the figure where that cute top would look great with a pair of slim cut pants, else the idea of adding a band could work well.

    • I like the idea of slim-cut pants with this. Thanks! I think I’d still be more comfortable with better waist/belly coverage, so maybe the band idea too?

  7. Love that print! I must agree, a pair of clover pants would really set that look off!

  8. I LOVE that you named this geology because of the fabric. As a geologist I am always looking for patterns with a sedimentary or rock resemblance. Not something I would wear in the field though!!

  9. Love that top! I’m becoming quite the fan of unusual prints. This is a great one and would look good with those high-waisted slim pants everyone keeps mentioning.

  10. I just love your inspiration! The top is very contemporary, in that nod to the 90s way that’s happening. I think the length is great on your slim figure :) I’d always be tugging at it.