24 January, 2015

Floral blouse, or: when fabric determines the pattern

Normally, I decide on a garment first, find a likely pattern, and only then seek the fabric for it.  In this instance, though, I looked at the fabric and thought, this can be made interesting.

I had 3 yds of this silk charmeuse, and used some of it to line a jacket.   This remnant - about 1.5 m - is just enough for a long sleeved blouse.
The print, as you see, has some peculiarities - I highlighted one of them with the two orange pins and the ruler. Also, there's only one flower-free border along the selvedge (shown): the chryssies are printed all the way to the selvedge on the other side.

The print has a nice small scale abstract as background. Since I'm not much of a florals type of person, I chose to highlight the flower-free edge in my blouse.  Two widths of the abstract-only edge  along the front, when worn under a jacket, would conceal the flowers completely.

Since the fabric demanded a pattern with a CF seam,  Burda 10-2011-128, which I'd used recently to make three blouses, was an obvious choice.  I'd already altered the Burda pattern at the shoulder and armscye from the dropped shoulder sleeve to a standard set in sleeve. To make this blouse a little different than the other three, I now altered the pattern further:

1. dropped the shoulder seam 4 cm towards the front 
2. added two pleats to the upper front panels at the above seam
3. converted the collar ties to a stand-up collar
4. finished the front neckline with a facing 
5. widened the sleeve and shortened it to bracelet length, finishing it with a 22.5 cm/9" circumference closed cuff (no buttonholes!!!)

Burda pattern at left, my alteration at right.  The green lines at the front and on the collar mark use of the flower-free selvedge. At 1.5 m, there was exactly enough of that selvedge for the two front panels and the collar. The collar is a simple rectangle, folded in half lengthways. 

I find it much easier to alter a successfully used pattern for small variations like these than to hunt for and test an entirely new one that's as likely as not to come with its own set of new size and fit issues.
Even though the fabric was narrow, I was able to lay out the pieces in such a way as to preserve a continuous strip along the floral selvedge.  I turned that into a scarf, of course!

And here's the result: a two-tone front...

...and a very chrysanthemum back:

The stand up collar, neck opening, and the chrysanthemums give it a faintly Japanese vibe, which I like a lot.

But under a jacket, we're very serious indeed:

...where the blooms only play peekaboo: 

that is, until you flash'em: 

Both blouse and jacket play nicely with the matching scarf:
Styled with chunky modern silverware to reassure myself that I haven't fallen into a Victorian time warp.

Are we done yet??? It's c-c-c-cold!

A moment like this, when I get to decide on one small item to fit in with my personal style, is what makes sewing so rewarding to me.  


  1. Wonderful combination...love it.

  2. Totally fabulous!

  3. I like the blouse and the jacket!

  4. Your thought process for this blouse is so interesting and I really like the way you have used the fabric and changed the pattern. Gorgeous.

  5. Brilliant! And also very pretty!

  6. Wow, love the blouse with the jacket - very cool!

  7. I love fabric and when it's showcased so brillantly I'm even more thrilled! I love, love, love what you did with this!

  8. love it. You championed your fabric. Great job

  9. Wonderful! I love it looks great :)

  10. Isn't it fun to plan and plan and then voila execute it is such a daring and surprising way? Love the shocking and coordinated lining and blouse photo!