Good morning, lovelies! We’ve had a bizarrely long winter here in Texas. Just when I think it’s warmed up for good, we get another surprise cold front and I’m dragging my cozy sweaters out once again. As I write this, it’s the first day of April and I’m wearing a wool turtleneck. Shenanigans! In my sewing room, at least, spring has fully sprung. My to-sew list brims with floaty blouses and pretty dresses, while the cottons and rayons of my fabric stash are primed for action.
First up for warm weather sewing, I decided to finally make the True Bias Roscoe Blouse. This gorgeous peasant-style boho blouse was a huge hit when it released, a few years back, but at the time I was only wearing (and sewing) floofy retro dresses. Now that my wardrobe bends toward the practical, I’m always in search of cute tops to dress up my skinny jeans and flats. The Roscoe is ideal for that purpose–light and floaty in design, it’s the kind of relaxed and feminine garment that I want to wear everyday, no matter what is on the schedule.
The Roscoe is best made in lightweight fabrics with tons of movement, like voiles and crepe de chines. Use anything too crisp or heavy and those neckline gathers don’t lay down, creating a pirate-on-the-high-seas effect, instead of the casual 70’s vibe we’re going for. I instantly imagined the Roscoe made up in a pretty rayon, like this Navy Polka Dot Rayon Challis from Mood Fabrics, which has a fluid drape and lightweight feel. (This fabric is sadly out of stock right now, but Mood has a ton of other beautiful rayons and polka dot prints! This Rag and Bone Plus Sign Printed Viscose Twill is a very similar fabric to the one I used, with a slightly more refined print.)
While I love sewing with rayon, it can be a finicky fabric to work with. This particular challis unraveled easily and slipped around like crazy, so I took a few precautions with it. First off, I prewashed the fabric like usual (very important, since rayon shrinks!), but overlocked each cut edge beforehand to prevent it fraying in the wash. Then, I used spray starch while cutting my pattern out. This made the fabric stable enough to cut out precisely, but faded in strength as I moved the blouse around and sewed it together.
Sewing this pattern itself was a total delight. There is something meditative about all those gathers and the precision of perfect placket construction, especially when working with such a pretty fabric. It’s a straight-forward, thoughtfully designed pattern and would work just as well in a cotton voile as a silk chiffon. The difficulty of the Roscoe’s construction is entirely dependent on which fabric you use. This rayon, once spray-starched, is a happy medium–taking those gathers beautifully, without slipping and sliding all over the place, or stretching out as I sewed.
Fit wise, I only took a few alterations–lengthening the hem by two inches and the sleeves by one inch. I am a good deal taller than the woman True Bias designs for, so this is a standard change for me. There was no need for an FBA, even though I almost always do one, because the design is so loose and forgiving. My only quibble is that this blouse actually has shrunk quite a bit in the dryer. A classic rayon dilemma, even with pre-washing! These pictures reflect this final post-wash fit, but the initial garment was decidedly bigger and more voluminous. There is an obvious solution to this, if you’re nervous about working with rayon: either line dry the blouse or just have it dry-cleaned. Personally, I’m an impatient, wash-and-wear sort of person and chanced dryer on low heat. Since the top was big to begin with, this is fine, but it’s definitely something I wouldn’t do with a more form-fitting project!
In the end, I adore this Roscoe blouse and the two others I’ve made since. Sewing garments during the transitional seasons, when the weather acts like a contestant in the yo-yo world championships, is always tricky. This top is quickly becoming a go-to in my closet, however, pairing just as nicely with jeans and boots as it does with skirts and sandals.