staple sewing: summery blouses


Well, I’m still working on my vintage shirtdress, but as I got to the end, I realized I was out of snaps and ordered more. Then when the snaps came, I realized I’d lost my snap tool and had to order one of those.

So while I waited, I jumped into my next spring/summer project — lightweight, drapey, lovely blouses to wear to work. The kind that feels like you’re not wearing anything.

I cut out three tops at once and dove in.




I used two silk crepe de chines: a slate blue from Fabric Mart and a rich wine color from Mood. The wine color might not seem all that springy, but I had it in my stash, and I can never pass up an opportunity to wear silk tops.


The bright pattern is an Anna Maria Horner cotton voile, Mind’s Eye in Tambourine. This is a LITTLE loud for me, even though the colorway is right up my alley, so I needed to use it for something very simple if I was ever going to end up wearing it. And now that it’s made up, I actually love it. Who knew?

In my long-standing tradition of turning dress patterns into tops, I used New Look 6095, which I made up recently. I cut out the back on the fold to remove the zipper, and of course I ditched the back darts. I used this Grainline tutorial to lengthen the cap sleeves, and I added a little ease to the side seams of the cotton top to make sure it wouldn’t be too tight. (That last was unnecessary, now that I look at it.)


The usual comedy of errors played out during this project. Here’s a rundown:

  • I hate to admit this, but I cut out the back pieces on the fold without lengthening the back facing to match. On the silk tops, I didn’t want to switch to bias binding, so I made do by creating a little inverted pleat at the back neckline. I like the way that looks — but the shoulder seam is a bit too far back on the shoulders, after all that fussing.
  • Of course, on my first try with the red top, that back pleat was at least an inch off center. Was I staring out the window or something?
  • I left a food dish on the dining table/sewing work table, and realized halfway through sewing the red top that I’d let the fabric fall on the dish. The silk had olive oil stains ALL OVER it. So I had to take a break for two rounds of emergency spot treatment/handwash.


  • I lengthened the cap sleeves without muslining them, and they are … a little weird. It doesn’t show up too badly in these drapey fabrics, but there’s some weird bagginess/wrinkling at the sleeve back. I’m wondering if perhaps this particular cap sleeve is drafted to be extra loose, which would make it a poor candidate for lengthening. The armhole is pretty generous, so maybe that’s the case.
  • I used French seams as much as possible, including my first French-seamed armhole on the cotton top! But on the same top, I managed to sew one of the sleeve underarm seams backward. Since it’s such a lovely French seam anyway, I topstitched it down and called it good. TELL NO ONE.


I squeezed these tops out of very little fabric, although certain pieces ended up going on the cross-grain. For the patterned voile, I actually cut the whole thing on the cross-grain on purpose; I liked it better with the ovals pointing up and down. It took me awhile to find a combo that wouldn’t give me boob shields, but I think I prevailed.


The end result here is right up my alley. Loose, drapey tops seem so effortless to me, especially in the silk crepe’s lovely colors. And I like that the bust darts and curved side seams of this pattern give the tops a bit of shape without making them fitted.


I wore jeans in these photos even though I plan on wearing these tops tucked into skirts, because a) it is cold and b) I am lazy. But my conscience persuaded me to take one picture with an actual skirt.


P.S. I’m considering this part of my Wardrobe Architect project, but I’m a little ahead of the game. March’s challenge is to review and finalize spring/summer sewing projects, and April’s is to buy fabric — but I’m CONSTANTLY buying fabric, and I’m constantly planning out the next six months’ sewing. So I’m already deep into spring sewing, but I’ll put up a couple of posts with my total sewing plans + the fabric I plan on using.

Pattern: New Look 6095, size 12, hacked into a top without closures.
Fabric: 1.25 yards of 45″ slate silk crepe de chine, $11.25 from Fabric Mart online. 1.25 yards of 45″ wine silk crepe de chine, $21.25 from Mood. 1.25 yards of 54″ Anna Maria Horner cotton voile, $12.50 from Hawthorne Threads.



8 thoughts on “staple sewing: summery blouses

  1. Pingback: wardrobe architect: march | root branch bole

  2. Pingback: me made may: part 1 | root branch bole

  3. Pingback: me made may: part 2 | root branch bole

  4. Pingback: boring is good. | root branch bole

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