Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Blue Floral Blouse

Chronic illness and perpetually scrambling to keep up with commissions kept this project on the shelf for two years. As I rebuild my strength, I've been tackling the 'small' projects, and finally took this fabric off to try and do something with it.

I actually don't mind that I had time to think about the design. When I originally bought this fabric on sale at fabric.com, I was envisioning it as a comfy knit dress. However, like most white base fabrics, it was too thin for this to become a reality. I then played around with making a skirt out of it... but I kept seeing poofy sleeves. And that meant I needed to make a top with it.






Because the fabric is so thin, I knew that I was going to have to layer this top. Due to my fibromyalgia, layers and long sleeves can get uncomfortable/constricting. Since this design was going to have both elements, I needed to come up with a versatile solution. I decided to construct it as a wrap top that could function either as a removable shrug OR a blouse.


I draped the pattern on my dress form. No darts, just some gathers along the front shoulder edges.


This fabric was a little fussy to work with, so I had to proceed delicately.


I chose to finish off the collar and front edges with a band of fabric, rather than a hem. This worked well, as it would likely have stretched out in an unsightly manner had I gone with a hem here.


At this point I was thinking along the lines of keeping it a shrug, but I didn't like how unflattering the silhouette was. I started considering the different ways to turn it into a secured wrap without losing the shrug option.


I barely had enough fabric to eek out the sleeves. I actually added a 2 inch strip of scrap fabric into the inner seam to ensure that I got the volume I wanted in the sleeve.


The first cuff size was a little too big, so I tightened it up a bit.


After attaching the sleeves and trying the top on, I was not happy with all of the volume in the back. So I decided to create a shirred panel, with rows of gathering and securing stitches.



 It worked beautifully! I then decided that I definitely wanted to make this into a wrap top, but I wanted it to be convertable back to a shrug. I didn't want to use ties, because these can put too much pressure on my stomach and also can slip and not look great. So I decided to use a hook and eye combo.  I then attached a hook  each side of the front edge, and an eye to each side of the side seam (inside on the right, outside on the left). This allowed me to hook the sides in place and create the blouse style I wanted. (I used this feature on my black chiffon dress a few years ago and it also worked well there).


Very, VERY happy with how it turned out!


This print is a tad on the busy side for me, but the top is really comfortable and turned out more flattering than I was anticipating. I definitely want to replicate this style in the future!

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Welcome to the discussion! Please note that due to chronic illness, I am no longer taking commissions of any kind.

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