For a long time, I didn’t give much thought to making blouses. I wasn’t interested in designing them or sewing them, and after many a too tight sleeve or lackluster fit, I had all but given up on women’s blouses and developed a habit of shopping in the men’s department for shirts. To be fair, the guys have all the best colors, and I never had to worry about the sleeves being too snug or the buttons pulling across the bust. Those days, thankfully, are behind me, even if I do still have a few men’s shirts hanging on my side of the closet. The more I saw myself in the mirror wearing a men’s shirt, the more noticeable it became to me. It’s a cute look in the summer, with the shirttail tied around the waist and the sleeves rolled up, but it’s not entirely practical in other situations. So, my search for the perfect blouse began.
The moment I saw Vogue 8772 in the pattern book, I knew it was meant to be. The versatility of this particular pattern was especially appealing, to make no mention of the darts which give the blouse a lovely shape. The pussy bow option? Stop it, I’ll make it in every color on the planet before it’s all said and done. And the blouse with the classic collar is just that, a classic. I think the short sleeve option would be absolutely darling with a cuff added. So vintage and summery! So, after careful measuring of the pattern and myself (twice, per the rule!), I cut the pattern for the first time in chambray, the very chambray in this post. The great thing about blouses is that they shouldn’t be too tight, so getting the fit right is less of a challenge than a dress or pants. I didn’t make any fitting adjustments to the pattern which is part luck, part no need because it’s just fine as is.
For the latest version, I chose this navy blue poplin print. I found it at the fabric market in Amsterdam last spring, and I’m so excited I finally had the right project for it. It fit right in with the other fabrics in this little stash collection.
I’ve made this blouse three times now, and I enjoy making it even more every time. I think that’s the beauty of working with a pattern more than once–you’ve worked out any kinks and construction is smooth and enjoyable. Back in December, I blogged about the red plaid linen version of this blouse, which I love. However, I didn’t get into the particulars about the fit, and a number of you have asked me about that.
This blouse is designed to be fitted, so expect a blouse that follows the shape of your torso. There are front and back darts, as well as a small shoulder dart in the back. I have bigger arms, so I can tell you with confidence that these sleeves are great. Plenty of room, yet not too big.
As much as I love a good full skirt, I think this blouse would be absolutely unstoppable with a super fitted, ultra sleek pencil skirt, one that falls to mid-calf and really elongates your legs. Now my mind is swirling with ideas . . . maybe I need a new pencil skirt? Nah, I’ll save that project for later. Back to the blouse: I edgestitched the neck ties, which the pattern doesn’t tell you to do. I think it’s a nice detail.
The buttons required some extra attention. They are slightly unusual, with one single bar down the middle, so they tended to slide around as I attached them. Normally, I can sew buttons on without using the matchstick technique, but this time I actually used one to help keep the button in place as I sewed it. Doing this also helps keep the button from being sewn completely flat against the fabric. Too tight buttons won’t button easily and will create ugly puckers.
The pattern instructs you to sew the button plackets the opposite way I’ve done them here. My fabric has an obvious right and wrong side, so I had to fold the placket towards the inside. Otherwise, the wrong side of the fabric would show on the right side, which wouldn’t have been good.
In contrast, the chambray blouse looks like this:
Here’s a quick tip for marking darts: use your awl and punch drill holes in your fabric at the circles on the pattern. Tracing paper and a tracing wheel works well too, but I don’t always like getting tracing paper on my fabric. Drill holes are an industry technique used to mark pocket placement, darts, buttonholes, etc. I will punch a hole 1/2″ from the top and bottom of the dart, and then drill slightly to the inside of the circle so that when I sew next to the drill hole, I’m actually sewing exactly where I need to.
I have this blouse cut out (and half assembled) in white poplin, so I’m excited to finish that one soon. Then, I’m moving on to some new patterns for spring. Can’t wait to show you! As always, let me know if you have any questions. Happy sewing!
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