The networking blouse: or how to succeed in business by really really trying!

Pattern: Simplicity 1779 (view c)Simplicity 1779

They say that job searching is all about the networking.  Let me tell you from a diagnosed introvert, networking really sucks.  You really have to put yourself out there, totally out of your comfort zone and start conversations with complete strangers.  You have no idea if they want to talk to you or not.  Sometimes these conversations go well, sometimes they feel as painful as falling down a flight of stairs.  Making that perfect connection that furthers your career can feel like a needle in a haystack.  It’s also extremely exhausting, being “on” all the time.  When I come home after a few hours of networking, I feel almost as if I ran a marathon.  But it is important – applying for open jobs the old fashion way definitely doesn’t get the maximum result.  And getting a job can be more “who you know” than “what you know” in general.

I feel it helps to have some sort of ice breaker prepared.  Which is why last week, I wore this homemade blouse to two networking opportunities in a row.  I thought if anything, I could mention that I made this blouse myself, especially if someone complimented it.  Maybe it would give me some much needed confidence as I attempted to sell myself (not in a bad way) to any stranger that was listening.

Blouse fabric

I saw this fabric in the back room of one of my favorite stores, Sewfisticated in Framingham, MA.  It may even be from a famous designer, I forget now since I bought it a few years ago.  It had this great sheer quality, but to my surprise it was 100% cotton.  I really like the watercolor-like print and I knew that I wanted to make a blouse out of it.  I chose this Simplicity pattern despite the fact that it calls for a contrast fabric.  The tie-bow was the real draw for me and I feel the pattern works even without the contrast.


Stitching up front button band
Sewing the front placket – you can see how I stitched it to the front


This pattern is pretty simple, the only thing that confused me a little was the front placket.  I think I did this correctly – I started by pressing one side over, then stitched the placket to the front, right sides together.  I then folded the band so it was inside out with the right sides together and stitched across the top and bottom as shown below.

Stitching the ends of the band

Now, when flipped right-side out, the top and the bottom were finished nicely.  Lastly, I stitched along the edge to close up the band.  I was happy with this result.  The cuffs on the sleeves were sewn on in a very similar way as well – these directions were not as clear, but what I did seem to work well.

finishing up front band

As this was pretty sheer material, I did french seams on everything.  The fit on this is pretty good, although if I make this again I think I will flare out the bottom a little more, to fit around my hips better.  It’s unusual for me to make adjustments for tops, so I didn’t even think about it.

Tie Bow close up
Close up of the tie-bow, my favorite part of this blouse.

I was hoping to have some definitive news on the job front by the time I posted about this blouse, but all I can say is things are moving in a better direction.  It will be nice when this becomes a work blouse instead of a networking blouse.  However, I am starting to recognize that it will be important to continue this exhausting task of making connections, even when I am back in the working world.

final sheer blouse
Ready to take on a new job!


6 thoughts on “The networking blouse: or how to succeed in business by really really trying!

  1. Pingback: The year ending 2016 – a look back | Threading Lightly

    1. Hi! It did work a bit as an ice breaker or something to talk about when I ran out of ideas at a few networking events. I hope it made me seem a little more interesting, but I may never really know. I did get a job shortly after this post, however I did not get my job by networking. Still, it’s very important to be able to network (I’m trying to force myself to do this at least once a month) and being able to talk about other skills besides work skills does help in getting a conversation going. Thanks for the reblog!


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