So, this is what is known as an 'Epic Fail'

Taken while photographer keeling over at horrible-ness of blouse

When I mentioned in my Giveaway post that I had made a Violet blouse that I had not yet blogged about, a few people commented that they would like to see it. I actually finished this blouse at the beginning of January, so you might wonder why it is only now making it to the blog. The reason is simple - I didn't like it.

However, I wrote up a draft blog post and then put the blouse on for some photos last week, only for my husband to offer to take pictures of me in my 'diahorrea-coloured jester costume.' Hmmmmm.

Do you remember last week, when I was asking whose opinion you trust on your sewing? Well that is why I was thinking about that particular question. Sadly, I think he's hit the nail on the head with this singularly horrible description.

Although I loved the feel and drape of the fabric, it's a weird colour. And the sleeves are a bit mad. And it's very unflattering. And I messed up the buttonholes. And....and.....I've written a review anyway. Since I am interested in seeing other peoples' failed projects on their blogs (I know that sounds mean, but it's nice to see that even the coolest and most stylish sewing bloggers are human) I knew I had to share my own disaster.

Pattern Used

Colette Pattern's Violet blouse - I made view 2 with mid-length sleeves with an elasticated hem.

Does it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? 
In essence

Were the instructions easy to follow? 
Yes, as ever, they were a dream.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  
I liked the Peter Pan collar and the fact it seemed like a good, versatile basic. 

Fabric & Notions 
I used some kind of man-made fabric that I got from a charity shop. It's really soft and drapes nicely, so I thought that would mean the blouse wouldn't look too 'boxy' when finished. On the minus side, THE COLOUR (what was I thinking?) and it is static like you wouldn't believe - when I take it off it really crackles, and makes my hair stick to my face. I dislike this a lot.
The fabric covered buttons are from a Laura Ashley dress that I restyled last year and have been saving. I also had a strip of the dress fabric left which I managed to make into bias tape for the elastic at the sleeve hems. Resourceful, eh? However, this took ageeeees and was really fiddly since there wasn't much fabric to work with. In the end, you can't even really see it because of how the sleeve sits!

Pesky, puff-tastic sleeves

The Laura Ashley fabric is navy with a red and pink pattern of redcurrants. Does this even go with the main blouse colour? I'm not sure. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made
I added 1.5 inches to the length since I am tall, and wanted to ensure that it wasn't going to end up as a crop top.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?   
I would like to sew it again as I think I MUST be able to do a better job, second time around. 

Did you use any new skills? 
Putting the elastic in the casing at the sleeves was a new thing for me.   

What wardrobe gap does this fill?
I need more separates, particularly tops. Not this particular one though - the only gap this thing will be filling is in a bag for the charity shop.


Fabric      £2.50 (Charity shop)

Thread    £1.45 (Remnant Kings)

Buttons   £0.00 (Leftover from this charity shop dress)

Pattern     £0.00 (Christmas present) 

Total      £3.95 - At least it was cheap!
I'm not in love with it for numerous reasons and I am definitely peeved that the bias tape isn't really visible after all the work I put in for that, and to finish the whole thing properly. I also did a poor job with the buttonholes and placed the top one too far away from the front edge, meaning that the top of the placket didn't sit properly until I fixed it by making a big wide buttonhole, and it's still not quite there. I'm not convinced about the sleeve length, and found that it didn't sit as well as I would have liked under a cardigan. The fit is also very unflattering.

I would make the pattern again though, and I have seen lovely Violets on other blogs, luckily enough, to give me some inspiration. My two favourites belong to...

 ScruffyBadger is one of the few other people I have seen who made the same sleeve option as I did. I also love the colour of the fabric, and that size of fabric pattern is just perfect for the blouse. (Image from here. You will note how nicely the sleeves end below the elbow - maybe my sleeves should have been longer so they didn't sit about the elbow and puff out.
 Lladybird, who made hers in a lovely Swiss Dot, and made it more fitted at the front. I love how gorgeous a simple white blouse can look. (Image from here)

I want to try sewing with Liberty Tana Lawn this year, as I have never done so. Perhaps this may be the pattern I revisit to do that - I don't want to write this pattern off because of my unfortunate version of this blouse.

Not one of my better makes, but onwards and upwards, eh?

K x 


  1. It's not horrible, Hun... I like the colour .. Maybe it's too big on you. X

  2. Yeah, like Rachel, I think the problem might be that it is too big? Why not try pairing it with a pair of white trousers? you might be pleasantly surprised. Maybe if you took it in abit, it might be nicer as a more fitted blouse?

  3. The neckline is really flattering on you! What about removing the sleeves and finishing the armholes with bias binding (leaving it sleeveless)?

  4. I don't think it looks bad at all, but I also think sometimes pictures make stuff look better than it does in real life. It could totally be saved, though, by re-doing the sleeves to be a smidge shorter/less drapey and putting some darts down the front. Then again, if you hate the color on you it's not really worth the effort, eh?

    I'm glad you posted this - I love lurking other people's fails. I know that sounds totally horrible but I promise I only make fun of myself hahaha. Mostly it's just reassuring to know that even the bestest sewers are still human and make mistakes :)

    1. Hee hee, I agree - it's good to know that everyone makes mistakes!

      Yep, I think that I've grown to hate the colour so am going to move on.

  5. I get the impression that the most successful versions of this have relied on Sewists making the pattern much more fitted than the original. I don't get it with Colette patterns - it often seems to be great success or massive fail. Take heart!

  6. I also reckon it's too big. The line of the collar is really flattering on you though, so hopefully Mark II will be a keeper. There is something not quite right about the sleeves...too wide? Maybe think of this as a muslin, and then all your effort might not feel so wasted? Good for you sharing the less than perfect with us all...and your husband's brilliant reaction (I would have chucked it at either adjective!)

  7. I agree with lladybird; perhaps if the sleeves were a bit shorter and slimmer? The rest really does look nice though! Thanks for bravely sharing your fail with us!

  8. Oh dear, I think your husband was perhaps a tad harsh with his discription of your blouse (although I did make me laugh)!! I really don't think it's that bad - and it can definitely be saved! Like the others girls have said, what abut taking it in at the sides to give it a more fitted look? And perhaps you could cut the sleeves to look more like version 1?
    Although, if you have decided you hate the colour then you will have no motivation to do anything to it at all! I have a skirt that I made a couple of years ago that was a total fail and it's been sitting in a bag ever since because I have been too pissed off at it to get it out and try and fix it!! lol.

  9. You can always consider it a muslin... I suppose you also have longer arms, or something, so the sleeves should hve been longer... Anyway, for a fail it's not that bad at all. :-)

  10. I think you're great also, sharing your learnings. Fabric that makes your hair stand on end is not good in my book, & with this style the sleeves are very "bulbous"! I wasn't sure whether I'd like them & I think in some fabrics they would also be too much for me. I think you're right in the sleeve length - making them a bit longer under the elbow could improve the look - or go short sleeved - that version to me is a winner. So, saying all that, it's a muslin, isn;t it? Expendable fabric, learnings & ideas for the next one. Thank you for sharing, it's interesting to look more closely to work out what we might do differently as well...:-)

  11. I think they are right - it is too big. You suit something more fitted. I think both Scruffy and Llady darted theirs? And definitely shorten the sleeves next time. But the colour description was a trifle harsh, Mr Kestrel!
    I think I would be a bit scared to crack out the Liberty on this pattern - there are so many lovely styles out there waiting to be tried!
    Thank you for sharing! We can all learn so much from each other.

  12. So days are like this
    most ya win
    once in a while ya lose

    this is one of those once-in-a-whiles

    chalk it up to experience
    next time - - - - -


  13. Oh dear - it's so disappointing to look forward to a make that turns out to be total fail. But there is so much helpful advice in these comments, so thanks for posting this - hopefully the next time around it will work out better x

  14. Both blouses that you like better than yours seem to use a crisper fabric. I also think the elastic in those sleeves is too tight but since I can't manhandle the blouse here in California I'm going by the amount of poufiness. If you do make this one again I'd lengthen those sleeves a tad too since you are tall and your arms are proportional.

    I don't think you're too far off with this blouse if you go back for round two. Darts and longer sleeves should help alot. Plus I'd pick a different fabric...


Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say