After months of wearing sweaters and knit tops, I wanted a comfortable and stylish top for the warmer spring weather. I knew this new top had to have ruffled or flounce sleeve.
I had a couple of patterns in my collection for tops with flounce sleeves, but I wanted a ruffled sleeve like this blouse I saw on Pinterest. I love this look, but with a bit longer and fuller sleeve and a longer ruffle.
So I consulted my Sewing Assistant, Miss Sophie, and showed her my fabric. After her careful inspection of my fabric, various patterns and her review of the Pinterest picture, she picked out the purr-fect pattern for me to modify. She selected Simplicity 8454, view D.
Originally I was planning to use a cotton shirting from Britex for this blouse, but then I saw this blue gingham in my stash. I purchased this gingham from the Fabric Outlet in San Francisco last year. You may recognize it from a dress that I made last summer. Fabric Outlet and their online store, Cali Fabrics, always carry a good selection of 100% cotton gingham fabric in a variety of colors. I recently redesigned my sewing studio and had shelves installed so my fabrics are in clear view. This has really helped me to consider and use the fabric in my stash rather than purchase new fabric for each project.
I started by making a muslin, since I fall between two sizes. This step adds time to the project but I always find it is well worth the time because the end result fits me perfectly. Also when the time comes to sewing the garment, I can focus on my sewing techniques and not the fitting.
I made four changes to view D. First, I increased the bust dart by 1/4″ on each side of the dart. Second, I found a horizontal wrinkle at the lower part of the armscye, going toward the back. I could not find any information in any of my sewing books or online on how to fix this.
I ended up taking 1/2″ out of the back along the horizontal where the wrinkle was and that took care of the problem.
Third, I lengthened and widened the sleeve. I lengthened the sleeve so that the straight portion ends after my elbow. In the first mock-up, I widened the sleeve gradually from the top to almost 1-1/2″ at the bottom of the straight portion. The muslin showed me that this was too wide. So I revised the increase in the sleeve width to only 1/2″ at the bottom.
I also mocked up the flounce that is shown on view D, and used this to confirm that a ruffle was the better choice for this blouse. I like the flounce, but for a fabric with more drape than this woven gingham. I’ll definitely use this flounce design option in my next blouse which I hope to make from a cotton lawn.
Instead of the flounce, I cut two long rectangles for the ruffles, twice as long as the circumference of the sleeve opening and seven inches wide. I put a 1/4″ hem along the edge and overlocked the unfinished edge before I basted for gathering the ruffle.
The fourth change I made was to remove the flounce portion on the bottom of view D and to lengthen the blouse to fall straight and end mid-hip.
This blouse has only one button in the back, which really simplifies the construction process. I thought about putting in a zipper and tailoring the blouse for a tighter fit, but I find back zippers to be a pain to zip on my own. So I went with a looser fit and a single button closure. I have a large button collection and I selected a glass button that I purchased at an antique shop in Omaha, Nebraska when I was visiting my twin sister recently. I’m glad I selected the button up option over the zipper because this blouse is very easy to take on and off.
I love the way the glass button looks on the back of the blouse.
The neckband is cut on the bias and it was super easy to put on and to top stitch.
I really love my new blouse. It was perfect to wear on a beautiful day in San Francisco. I can’t wait to make another one!
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