I had hoped to sew a small stack of Oakridge Blouses for our trip. Sadly, this was the only version of the pattern I made. Mostly, this is the only version I made, because I don't love it. I'm not giving up hope that Oakridge and I can be friends, but that remains to be seen after a bit of pattern tweaking.
Oakridge and I got off on the wrong foot. I bought the PDF version of this pattern during the Sewaholic Birthday sale with the plan to have it printed full-scale at a print shop. I love knowing I have the option to re-print my favorite indie patterns after I've loved them to shreds, but I really don't love taping together tiles. I was really excited about the print shop option. Except, it wasn't as excellent as I'd hoped.
Due to page size of the printshop version of this pattern, it was too large to print on the blue printer printer at my local Staples. The good news, is that Staples has a large scale document printer, the bad news is that it would have cost me $118 to print my pattern using said printer. FedEx- Kinkos has an Oc'e printer that can print documents large enough to print a sewing pattern without scaling, but they were unable to print the Oakridge (or the Granville) blouse(s) due to a security encryption placed on the files. It took me more than a week of emailing print shops and the ladies at Sewaholic before I was able to get this pattern printed. In the end, it worked out.
I am happy to report that I had incredibly positive experiences in all my email inquiries to Tasia and Caroline at Sewaholic. They were responsive and professional throughout our entire interaction. Ultimately, I was able to print the pattern at FedEx. For whatever it's worth, they get my highest possible rating in overall customer service and satisfaction, truly.
Regarding the blouse, the shape of the blouse doesn't suit my preferences. I should have taken photos to illustrate how flared this shirt is. I am a pear shaped lady, no doubt; however, the flare on this blouse is far too exaggerated for my personal tastes, and it makes me feel wider at the hip than I am. I would never wear this blouse un-tucked, because I feel that the flare draws more attention to my hips, the area of my body I typically dress to minimize. It does work tucked into a skirt. Also, I love the bow neckline as an alternative to a collar. So, at some point, I may try to redraft the body of the blouse into a more subtle A-line and see if I feel more comfortable wearing it. After all the trouble I went to in order to print it, it deserves a second look.
The backdrop for the photos of my Oakridge is Canal Saint Martin. During the planning phases of our trip, the group made a list of all the things we preferred in our accommodations. Having all lived in Chicago, one thing we were certain about is that we didn't want to stay in or around the 1st arrondissement, the area with the most tourist draw. To us, this seemed comparable to staying on Michigan Avenue during a trip to Chicago, which we know, is not where the best parts of the city are found. Hoping instead for more local flavor, we chose to stay in Canal Saint Martin.
The location was exactly what we'd hoped. Our apartment was approximately a block from the canal & the Republic Metro station. Within the same radius, we had access to two grocery stores, a cheese shop, a top rated bakery, numerous cafes, bars, restaurants and shops.