Friday, June 3, 2011

The no-drama blouse

After my last project (a button down shirt that I have yet to photograph because it's been too hot here in Montreal to wear it recently), I wanted to make something that would involve absolutely NO fitting drama, just wear and go right from the pattern.

I decided to make a blouse from a dress in the April '11 Burda issue (dress 135A, in the plus size section -- this is one of those cases where I'm lucky to be a size 44 in Burda patterns because it often means I just fit into the high end of the normal and the low end of the plus patterns!). As a dress I thought this might end up a little shapeless overall, but I thought it might work as a blouse in a very drapey fabric. It's also perfect for a no-drama project fitting wise. It has raglan sleeves (therefore no fitting that the shoulders), lots of space in the bust and the waist, and opportunities for gathering the neckline a bit more if it's looking too wide. I used the purple rayon print from my trip to Japan, which was a tight squeeze out of only a yard of fabric but doable.

The construction was super easy; I didn't do anything fancy on the inside other than finishing off the seams with my faux-serger stitch on my Pffaf and I finished the arms and neckline with self fabric binding. I like the way that the binding gives the bottom of the sleeves just a little volume.

The neckline did turn out to be a bit wide on me, which is at least partially my fault for not staystitching it to keep it from stretching out during construction, but it probably at least partially because the pattern is drafted for someone who's wider across the shoulders than I am. I considered just easing the neckline into the binding to reduce the width all around, but I ended up just gathering it between the two raglan seams at the back. Reducing the width right there rather than all round seems to help it stay in place on the shoulders better (which it does pretty well, considering what a big neckline this is).

Silly things that I did here that I should know better than to do by now: The blouse ended up being a bit short; it's okay, but definitely could have used another two inches. I guess I just didn't plan well here and it wasn't until it was all cut and hemmed that I realized it was a little 80's cropped shirt looking. Since it's a blousy blouse I didn't want it to become long and tent like, but the blousiness also means that cutting it a bit short makes it feel quite short. I also cut the binding strips on the straight grain rather than the bias. I certainly know better than to do this, but I had a severe lack of fabric here and thought the fabric was drapey enough that I could get away with it. Obviously you can, but it's not ideal and the neckline doesn't lay as nicely as it could.

One major lesson to take away for the future here is that I need to stop buying one yard pieces of fabric as souveniers! I always think that I can squeeze a top out of a yard of a fun print, and then I always do end up *just* squeezing a top out. From now on I'll buy myself 1.5 yards minimum of "just for fun" fabrics.


  1. Your top is lovely. I think the shorter length gives you a longer leg line, so while it might be shorter than you prefer, it does looks nice. I was delighted to see the fabric you used for this blouse because it has big, fun polka dots. I bought some fabric with big dots like this recently, and was looking for inspiration ideas. I think as long as the dots are not bright and in random colors (i.e. circus) they look modern and chic. I actually like your fabric colors better than mine. Mine is white jacquard woven dots on a sheer background and I don't wear much white.

  2. Thanks for the vote of confidence on the top, I appreciated some outside confirmation that it does indeed look nice enough to wear out and about. I really love this fabric, too -- I find it a bit tricky to find prints that aren't flowery (I just get tired of wearing flowers after a while), so the simple dots really drew me in. Looking forward to seeing what you make with your big dot fabric!

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