by Daughter Fish

When I first moved to New York, I came with $2,000 in the bank, no job (but with a list of contacts), and two suitcases of my worldly possessions. Plenty of people have had it worse. At least I had a sublet of a sublet: a squalid one bedroom  in the East Village with a shower in the kitchen and a paint-caked floor so warped it tilted 30 degrees toward the slumped center of the building.

Somehow, I was able to line up four interviews at magazines that week, but when I turned to my suitcases found nothing interview appropriate. I’d been kickin’ it in casual Santa Fe for six months, and polar fleece-loving Seattle before that, and hadn’t really needed “office wear.” An hour before my first interview, I ran to an Ann Taylor and bought an office-y blouse that I wore to precisely four interviews. It didn’t really represent my style, and eventually I gave it away.

In the intervening years, a few other blouses have come in and out of my closet, but they’ve mostly gone the way of Ann Taylor’s button up. Lately, though, I’ve been itching for some respectable tops that do represent my style. I decided to experiment with the bodice of one of my favorite dresses, which I made last spring:

I love those soft gathers (from darts) around the shoulders. I made it from this saucy 80′s pattern, altering the  bodice to get rid of the faux wrap, and to create more gathers along the shoulders.

This blouse version is my first test. I added a facing along the neckline so there are no visible seams (I found this Colette tutorial helpful), and finished the sleeves with bias tape.

I’m not sure if the black really shows off those darts, so I’m planning to experiment with some other colors, or subtle  prints.

As for moving to New York with a couple grand and no job, it was a rough ride for a while, but definitely worked itself out. It always does, doesn’t it? But if you’re planning on doing the same, bring a few good blouses (preferably that you like!). Believe me, they’ll come in handy.