Category: blouse

Finished Project: Cara Top





I finished this project a few weeks ago and only had a chance to blog about it now. This is my first time trying a Style Arc pattern and it did not disappoint. I used a really cheap $4/yard cotton/polyester with excellent drape that I got from Chic Fabrics in the Garment District. I made no changes and it turned out cropped, but mid-length for someone like me since I’m short. I’m wearing it with high waisted pants here, so the silhouette sort of works out. I still have no idea how to style this for our blazing hot 30C weather here. It definitely needs a high waist to balance it out so it’s not too cropped, but my usual jeans are way too heavy and warm for the summer.

(The pictures show a very wrinkly Cara top since I didn’t have my travel iron yet here and it got wrinkled by being in my duffel bag. More well-pressed projects next time!)

Pros: On trend, easy to sew.

Cons: Summer is nearly over but I still haven’t worn this anywhere! I’m still not sure how to style this for work or if the off the shoulder top will be too much, but I need to figure something out soon.

Project Details:

Pattern: Cara Top from Style Arc

Pattern Sizing: size 4 to 30.

Description: This on-trend top gives a gorgeous look with its flattering, gathered, off the shoulder neckline with a floaty raglan sleeve. The elastic at the back neck band keeps the shoulder line in shape. Wear it with jeans or dress it up with a fabulous print to wear to a special occasion.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Cotton/polyester.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. There was a diagram included since one part was tricky, but that was really helpful.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s really easy to make and on trend.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, it’s a very cute top and a fast and easy make.

Project Revisited: The Really Voluminous Swan Blouse





It’s still really hot here, and I’ve ended up wearing this blouse around once a week since I finished it. The huge amounts of billowy cotton voile though were really bothering me, so I removed 2 inches from the bottom underside of the kimono sleeve / side seam, basted in the new seam, tried it on, and serged the sides again. It’s much more wearable now. It still has that oversized look but less pronounced.

(By the way, this blouse has a lot of wrinkles since I had to stuff it in my duffel bag to go to Montreal and my husband doesn’t have an iron.)

Finished Project: Colette Violet






This blouse took forever. I’m not quite sure why it did, either. I started this project around three months ago. Nothing was particularly challenging. I didn’t make a muslin, I made a few practice buttonholes before starting, but I’m still not sure why I’m sewing soooooo slowly nowadays.


I’m not sure how I feel about this pattern (or maybe my execution?) I didn’t make a muslin for this, and that might be why there are weird diagonal creases. I think maybe I should have gone up a size, but all the reviews I’ve read say that the pattern is too boxy. I’m satisfied enough with it that I’ll wear it out, but that might be the extent of it.

Project Details:

Pattern: Colette Violet.

Pattern Sizing: Size 4.

Description: Button front blouse with short gathered sleeves.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Cotton.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s really comfortable and easy to follow.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don’t wear a lot of button down blouses, so I probably wouldn’t sew this one again.

Now With Sleeves

it only took a few months but now there are two sleeves. #sewing #coletteviolet #blouse

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It only took a few weeks but my Colette Violet finally has sleeves. Now I just need to find buttons.

Actual Sewing Content

Keeping it classy with canned corn pattern weights. #sewing

After procrastinating for many many weeks, I finally had a chance to trace and pin the Colette Violet pattern. I’m on the fence about pinning. Sometimes I think it leads to accurate cutting, sometimes I think it makes the fabric bunch up and I like to keep it as flat as possible. I’m using a striped grey cotton from my stash.

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Esteemed Sewing Assistant turned Pirate Cat. #sewing #cats #catsofinstagram #cat #sphynx #sphynxofinstagram

Esteemed Sewing Assistant in Training, trying to be a Pirate Cat.

What you don’t see are hours spent saying, “No, don’t sit on that!” — everything from the fabric, the ironed out patterns, the pattern on the fabric, to “No don’t play with the pin cushion!” until Esteemed Sewing Assistant in Training fell asleep.

More to come soon.

The Black Liberty Print Blouse That Never Was


Don’t you just hate it when you find the perfect fabric for a project in your stash only to discover that it’s only a remnant? Sigh.

What I Wore Today: Sencha’s Last Stand

Front view 1, awkward pose.

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Side view 1, possibly bad ass pose.

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Blouse: Sencha, handmade fail
Pants: jeans, hand me down from my mom
Shoes: thrifted

When I’m too lazy to set my hair the night before, I default to some kind of classic look.

I’m on the verge of retiring this Sencha, and now I know why.

I made this a year or so ago out of polyester charmeuse. I was still new to sewing then and didn’t realize that quality fabrics were not polyester. Today it’s 80 degrees and very humid outside, and the material was not helping.

As for modifications, I cut the neckline a lot lower and made covered buttons. I finished the sides with French seams and learned how to work with a very slippery fabric. I also raised the darts by a good inch or so.

This version also needs about four inches added to the length. To remedy this I put a black chiffon top underneath it so I wouldn’t be tugging at it all day long.

I wore this to work today and I was mostly fine, until I had a meeting with our other devs and I was really self-conscious. It also rides up a lot because it’s so short.

Verdict: Definite Sencha fail. Definite charity donation.

The Rose Print Blouse: Simplicity 1554

Still not sure how flattering rolls are with my thick hair, but this will have to do for now. I think I’ve finally gotten over my vintage fashion-rebellion and am going back to what I’ve been sewing before. I’m slowly getting over my fear of color as well, but so far have been sticking to dark background prints, red, and black.

I finally this blouse a week or so ago and only had a chance to write about it now. Shown here with Wearing History shorts, I think it’s very versatile and should hopefully work long past Summer and straight into Fall.

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Fabric: Rayon, $7/yd, 2 yards
Pattern: Simplicity 1554
Year: 1945
Notions: black plastic buttons, $1
Time to complete: one week, working on it mostly on evenings
First worn: Hasn’t been worn yet!
Wear again? Yes
Total price: $15

Pattern used:

Simplicity 1554. I made View C, with the peter pan collar.

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I’ve made this before, but only once in View C. It’s hard to see the collar there under all that hair, but it’s there! I used rose print rayon that felt very 40s to me. It was a dream to sew and has great drape.

This is one of my favorite patterns since it can look different with very few pieces and I’d like to make it View D, the only one I haven’t made yet.

Oh. I know I said “no more vintage patterns”, but I should probably be more careful of absolutes from now on. Vintage patterns are definitely back.

What I’m Working on This Week: Simplicity 1554

I started on Simplicity 1554 this week. I’ve made this three times before, but it’s really only been wearable the past two versions. I still haven’t made all the views, but it’s so versatile that I really plan to before the year is out.

I know I said no granny floral print, but I couldn’t resist this rayon fabric I found over the weekend. Since it’s black, red, and the floral print isn’t too small, I hope it doesn’t come off as super granny.

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In the meanwhile, I’ve been watching a lot of old movies. Why did I only discover Elizabeth Taylor now? She’s awesome, and of course my favorite vintage style role models (other than Marilyn) are all brunettes.

Basic Top: First Finished Knit (sort of)

Top view. (Everything actually doesn’t look so bad until we get to the hem.)

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Neckline view.

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Inside view of neckline.

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Cuff view.

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I did end up finishing the basic top after all, just to get some practice on finishing it. Not too bad for my first haphazard knit project.


  • It fits! With no muslins!
  • Really flattering
  • Really comfortable
  • Did not take long to make
  • Neckline doesn’t look that bad
  • Sleeves don’t look that bad


  • The hem looks a hot mess, but not so bad when it’s worn
  • Neckline is still way too wide (pattern issues)

The neckline I added on based on Google tutorials and Renfrew instructions. It turned out mostly ok except for the wavy floppy parts.

The cuffs I folded over once and stitched down, straight stitch using a ballpoint needle.

The hemline I serged, then folded over once and stitched down, straight stitch using a ballpoint needle.

Does anyone have any advice on why my hem looks really wavy and how to fix it? When wearing it it actually doesn’t look that awful, but it looks really dodgy on Smurfette.

What I’ll do differently in the future:

  • Fix the pattern so it’s a standard t-shirt
  • Beg, borrow or steal a twin ballpoint needle
  • Pick a better knit that’s not see-through
  • Pick a more flattering color
  • Fix the hem (help?)

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