15 October, 2015

Gil Brandao wrap blouse

Since I make lots of sleeveless tops that are loose, lightweight and non-clingy (think silk crepe de chine) this body-hugging wrap blouse pattern - and its intriguing description - was something new for my repertoire.

Gil Brandao wrap blouse
The body-hugging look certainly is a departure from my norm:  my son, upon seeing it said, ooo, fancy!  are you going out somewhere special tonight?  which surprised me to no end.

Its pattern is published in a book of Gil Brandao's designs, and is reviewed, with a scale drawing of the pattern, at Studio Faro's blog as one of their pattern puzzle entries. Thank you, Anita!

I looked at the pattern and thought, if I'm to make a wearable item here, I have to consider how to finish all the edges.  In the original design (I don't want to embed it here without permission) the armscye is a deep and narrow wedge, and I worried that I wouldn't be able to finish it nicely, what with binding in two directions in such a tight corner.  My solution?  I added a side seam to it:

Now each side of the armscye (the armscye is that deep vertical "dart" between the two pieces) had its own seam allowance that continued all the way down the side seam, and finishing said edges became easy.  For a nice clean finish,  I turned all SA's over twice to make a narrow hem along all edges and edgestitched.  There was a lot of basting involved, but the end result was very much worth the time.  As it turned out, at 115 cm, my fabric was too narrow to create the entire garment out of one piece, so the side seam was a necessity.

End of story?  Not quite.  When I tried it on, I realized that this design exposes lots of belly flesh unless worn with/over a very high waisted bottom. I don't wear high waisted bottoms.  This also demanded a solution, so  I added a lower panel to the under-lapping (left) side of the wrap:

A fun little winter project!
 The advantage of this added panel is that, since it's separate from the back lower panel from the waist down, it can be tucked inside slacks or a skirt.  Now both my  modesty and Gil's original concept of a body-hugging front with a little back peplum are preserved:


It's definitely wearable!  It'll look great over a nice flowy black midi skirt, won't it? And, original design notwithstanding, I'd probably tuck that back panel inside as well.

Side seam and armscye bust dart clearly visible.  The side seam's lower end could be raised so the lower panels split at, not below, the waistline
If I was to make it again, I might make some small adjustments, to wit:

1. raise the upper front;  2.  shorten (drop) the upper back, so the "shoulder corner seams" are a little further back; 3. narrow the back a little; 4. raise the waistline aka point of separation of the front and back peplums; and of course, 5. add the front peplum for belly coverage.  But these are minor.

Do you may recognize the fabric? it's a very pretty lightweight silk crepe from, I think, Fabric Mart, bought many years ago.  It responds very well to the stretching punishment of being a wrap!


  1. You look beautiful in your top! I noticed this top on Studio Faro's site and have it on my list - thank you so much for your blog post!

  2. Very interesting top love the print.

  3. Hi Digs, thx for the mention and your email. I love your version of the pattern. So clever to add the front section. :) You've bought this design into the 21st century.