Grateful for Gingham- Cologne Blouse

I am a gingham fan-girl.  This hard-working (and inexpensive) fabric does it all.  It is normal and noteworthy; down-home and uptown; classic and light-hearted.  The fabric of table cloths and aprons is also worn by financiers.  It’s both Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and Bridgette Bardot on the beach.

I can go on….  Gingham mixes easily with other colors and patterns; it never looks dated; and -did I mention? - it is super affordable, often the cheapest cut at the fabric store. 

Sewists know gingham is perfect to use as a toile- or a test fabric for trying out a pattern.  Even better than muslin, gingham is a perfectly balanced checkerboard grid with no right or wrong side; Gingham makes test sewing -- appropriately – a picnic.


So when I discovered this Cologne blouse pattern from a new pattern company: Bella Loves Patterns- it made sense to first try it out in this heroic workhorse of a fabric.  And I am happy with the final results.


I made this pattern up with absolutely no modifications.  The pattern has clear and straightforward instructions, and I LOVE the pleated sleeve.  I will definitely be on the lookout for new patterns from this maker.


This is a simple, boxy and slightly drop shouldered top- so I wasn’t super worried about fit- but I was concerned how it would work on me and mix with my wardrobe.  I am typically an “untucked” girl and the styling for this top was all “tucked in” styling. 

My first outing in the top was untucked- as shown below which is a comfortable and a typical look for me. 



I also managed to track down an old and mostly unworn belt in the back of my closet and tried tucked in styling as shown in photos at the top of the post. I like that option too.

And because this post is a bit of an homage to gingham- here’s a bit of history I found about this matchless fabric because if you aren’t a gingham fan yet- perhaps you should keep reading! Oh- and this gingham is from the fabulous Treadle Yard Goods!

Gingham was first made in Asia, possibly in Malaysia, and imported to Europe in the 17th century- with the word gingham first used in English in 1615.  Gingham was set up for production in the United States in the 18th century.  The fabric was favored due to its simple design and ease of production which made it inexpensive and popular for use for clothing and home furnishings.  After World War I, gingham is a popular fabric of choice for inexpensive ready-to-wear clothes.  In the 1930’s, gingham makes a notable star appearance on Katherine Hepburn in “Philadelphia story.” Mid-twentieth century, gingham continues to flex its high low muscle and shows up on celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day, Grace Kelly, and First Lady Jackie Kennedy and –famously- is the fabric for Bridgett Bardot’s first wedding dress.