I was pretty disappointed when my first two Akita Blouses ripped in the same spot in a matter of weeks. Even though I like to keep things positive, I also value honesty, so I mentioned my frustrations with the finishing technique in my blog post and on Instagram. The folks at Seamwork reached out to me and said they would give my feedback to the pattern designer, which I appreciated. A few weeks later, they direct messaged me on Instagram and suggested finishing the sleeve with bias tape. In fact, they recently updated their pattern to completely avoid the “snip the seam” step that so bothered me. While I haven't tried their new solution yet myself, their openness to feedback and willingness to improve inspired me to take another shot at the pattern.
Using my Staple dress pattern as a guide, I redrafted the side seam. Whenever possible, I like to use French seams on wovens, so that's what I did. Then, I used bias tape to finish the sleeves. It's not perfect, but I am super happy with it. In fact, I was so pleased with my newly tweaked pattern that I made it twice!
For the first adjusted Akita, I used some Gleeful voile, underlined with white lawn. I bought the fabric ages ago from Intrepid Thread when I was vacationing in California. The blue really speaks to me. I have washed this shirt several times without incident and have worn it weekly. I’ve received several compliments on it a work, which is always nice.
As soon as I finished my Gleeful Akita Blouse, I started another. This time, I chose Cotton + Steel's Mightnight Gust rayon, which I purchased from Island Quilter's pop-up shop at the last Pacific Northwest Modern Quilt Guild Meet-Up. Now, I learned an important lesson about this fabric that I want to share with you: follow the care instructions! When Cotton + Steel released their first rayon fabrics, I read blog post after blog post stating that the care instructions were dry clean only, but various bloggers washed the fabric in the washer and dryer and it was fine. As a result, I washed my Gemstone Staple Dress normally. Over time, I noticed that the white diamonds weren't so white any more. I decided that for my Midnight Gust Akita, I would wash the fabric normally once, and then hang it to dry going forward. (I'm not the only one who does laundry in our house, so I wanted to pre-shrink the fabric in case it ever ended up in the dryer by mistake.) After I washed and dried my yardage, I noticed a few light spots on one end. I was puzzled, since Cotton + Steel's fabric is generally high quality, but I figured these things happen. Since I had about half a yard extra, I just cut out the pattern piece from the unblemished section. I stitched it up without any issues, and finished it just in time to wear it on my birthday. It was my new favorite shirt. Then I washed it and hung it up to dry. Can you guess what I discovered when I went to iron it? The spots were back! My previously pristine shirt now sported several splotches. They weren't imperfections in the fabric, they were the result of washing it in the washing machine. Needless to say, I was crushed. I had ruined my new favorite shirt by disregarding the fabric care instructions. Never again!
It's a shame that I more or less ruined this shirt, as it has an additional detail that I really like. I didn't want to fiddle with rayon bias strips for finishing the sleeves and neck, so I used a coordinating Cotton + Steel quilting cotton. Nobody sees it except me, but it makes me smile. I'll probably still wear this shirt under cardigans that covers the spots, or around the house. I like it too much to throw it away.
So far I have made four Akita blouses, and only one turned out well. Despite bad luck with this pattern, I still really like it and plan to make it again. I'll just pay closer attention to the fabric care instructions next time.