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June 19

Completed: 50s Scalloped Blouse

I’m quite thankful that I decided to take a mini break from Sew Weekly over a week ago.  I have no idea what happened but all my weekends are completely filled with events & activities, now till the 2nd week in July!  I’m hoping I can continue to have sewing projects in the works, but I fear posts may end up being a bit more sporadic on my blog.

In light of all of the summer activity, I’m happy to report that I’ve completed the Mail Order 2629 Scalloped Blouse.

I know I said it before, but I wish I had taken a picture of my muslin before I made the alterations.  It’s totally night and day from how baggy and big it was to how it looks now.  I feel like it should have had this silhouette from the beginning with sans alterations… one can only wish though, right?

All of the pieces for this blouse came from my stash; the buttons & bias binding was my mom’s estate sale find, my fabric was from the flea last May, and I got the pattern via etsy last June.

Guess what….I was a rebel, sewing up this blouse.  A ‘certain someone’ constructed it without any interfacing or stabilization of any kind.  Pure craziness!  heh

The fabric itself is a light to mid-weight cotton; it’s lighter than a quilters cotton, but thicker than a voile or vintage bed sheet.  So I really didn’t think it needed any extra stabilization at the buttonholes since I was sewing through 2 thicknesses of the cotton.  It may surprise you but I’ve actually come to dislike interfacing on the inside collar for summer blouses.  I do know some styles/fabrics need it, but with this blouse I nixed it and I’m glad I did.  The result is a nice, breezy summer blouse that was made to beat the heat.

Can I just point you attention briefly to my peplum waist seam line?  The two flowers you see crossing over the waistline seam…. that was pure pattern matching magic!  Felix didn’t really ‘get’ it like I know you gals will.  The lower blouse seam (waist line) is straight whereas the peplum waist seam is curved yet somehow I was able to match the floral motifs.  I tried to get as close as possible when cutting it out, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it actually worked when I stitched it together.  :)

I’m planning on cutting out fabric for version A next, the scalloped collar one, and I bet I’ll be adding interfacing to that collar so it holds it shape.

Having no yellow thread in my stash, I sewed the buttons on with white thread.  The yellow buttons I used feel a bit cheap and lightweight, but they were the only yellow buttons I found and were luckily are in the right shade.  So, really I can’t complain.

One thing I’ve learnt with making this blouse, which I should have been well aware of before now, is taking into account the pattern details with my own figure.  I have really narrow shoulders, that come close to a size 2 or 0 (via Colette pattern sizing) yet I’ve picked out a pattern that has a shoulder detail: smocking-gathers.  I have a lot of patterns that feature tucks, gathers, and smocking at the shoulder as design details with I love.  But having such narrow shoulders, I’ve had to heavily reduce the size of the smocking on this blouse.

You may be thinking I should have done the opposite: since I have narrow shoulders I should have more smocking to accommodate my figure.  But this would have resulted in a huge *poof of fabric* right below my shoulder to my bust, which the muslin did!  Instead I took a 2″ chunk out of the top shoulder and heavily reduced the smocking detail, and shifted it further in towards my neck.

Looking at my pink pattern piece vs. the original:

You can tell the difference between the two by the width of the shoulder seamline.  The two holes on the original pattern piece is where the basting stitches are to be positioned for the smocking detail.  Whereas on my pink pattern piece, you can make out the green dotted line in the middle of the shoulder and the pink dotted line near the scalloped neckline…. that’s my gathered width; it’s about half-the width of the original.

Here’s my front bodice pattern piece with my crazy angular tuck:

There are two french darts radiating from the lower side seam.  I have the smallest tuck at the lower waist area since the waist was fine as is, but it was the bust and shoulder area that was gaping, so that is where the tuck starts to get wider.  If my second muslin hadn’t worked out, I was going to just take a wider tuck until it fit properly.

I didn’t want to mess with the center front seam & neckline by taking width out there, I figured it would throw off the fit and style lines.  I also didn’t want to take out width from the side seams since it was perfect on the back bodice piece.  In retrospect, this was probably a pattern that may have benefited from a sba…. but my large tuck worked out just fine since the shoulders were too wide, and not just the bust area.  This  blouse ended up being one of those fixes that I needed to “sleep on” in order to work things out in my head before adjusting the pattern piece.

Back to the finished blouse, check out more of my crazy-awesome pattern matching:

Thaaat’s right!  There’s a center back seam line in there somewhere.  hehehe  Truthfully though, it took me forever to cut out the pieces on this bodice.  The fabric seemed to be silk-screened and I could barely find the correct floral motif to cut around since all of the motifs are slightly different.  I did try to match up the motifs on the center as well, but I only got about 90% accuracy on it, opposed to the back which is pretty close to perfect.  :)

I had the hardest time finding something to wear with this blouse.  You wouldn’t think so since I have so many color options… but I have few summer skirts that are solid colors and in a straighter, A-line silhouette.  I had plenty of wool skirts or full skirts, but nothing for this bodice besides jeans.  (I did wear this cream linen skirt but it’s a bit snug to wear around…or sit).

I guess this is yet another gap I need to fill….  This one I don’t mind since it would enable me to wear this blouse more often (other than with jeans/trousers).  :)

  1. Marie / Jun 19 2012

    This blouse is so sweet and you’ve really matched up the flower pattern so well…what a great job! I love the fabric so much and I’m so into peplums at the moment. I too have narrow shoulders and always have to adapt patterns to fit me better, you’ve done it so well here!

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Thanks so much Marie! I’ve been longing for more peplums in blouses and skirts for a year now… I was glad to finally make this one.

  2. Miriana / Jun 19 2012

    It’s really lovely.

  3. Tasha / Jun 19 2012

    LOVE it, Liz! It’s just darling. Of course I already said I am in love with the fabric (no surprise there). But the fit on you is great. The scallops are so perfect and big props for all that pattern matching, wow! I admit that the only particular pattern placement I made on my current WIP dress was to make sure a tree didn’t fall smack on the center of the highest part of my bust, aka across one of the girls. ;) I need to take away from this the same note you made about changing the shoulder, I have narrow shoulders as well.

    I can see why you didn’t interface or stabilize. I find that so much easier to wear in this kind of weather. I have many vintage cotton blouses and dresses that have very little or sometimes no stabilization in collars, facings and button plackets, and they do just fine in terms of stability and crispness. Perhaps they were sewn for hot muggy weather in mind. lol

    Btw I too am realizing my wardrobe has a huge gap in solid skirts to wear with patterned blouses, meaning I never have anything to wear with my summery blouses except jeans. I really need to fix that too! Trying to decide what kind of fabric would be heat-beating, though. Maybe a cotton twill. Hmm.

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Yes! I had to take extra care to make sure with all of my seam-pattern matching that there wasn’t a motif on one of my ‘girls’.

      The pattern instructions didn’t call for any interfacing either which gave me more confidence that I didn’t need it in this blouse.

      All of my skirts are solid colors and I have some in the perfect colors but they’re all full skirts & winter skirts… barely any light breezy ones in the bunch. It really goes to show when I started sewing. heh

  4. Corinne / Jun 19 2012

    Dear Liz, I never cease to be amazed at your talent. This little blouse is just right. What a great look. I agree that not everything needs to be interfaced. Let the weight of your fabric dictate the need. I keep a bit of silk organza around at all times to substitute for traditional interfacing. Also, save the selvages from the organza, they make outstanding seam tape. With no added bulk or weight.

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Thanks so much Corinne! I was debating using silk organza on this one to keep it light, but I took the plunge to go sans-interfacing. :)

      Organza selvage for seam tape –> what a great idea!

  5. Meli / Jun 19 2012

    This is so adorable! Great job!

  6. Pam / Jun 19 2012

    This is my favorite blouse of any sewing blog this year! Congratulations on a total and complete success! Wow! Those scallops look difficult. Beautiful!

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      heh Thanks so much pam! The scallops weren’t too hard to sew. I mark all of the high and low areas with my chalk pen on the underside piece to sew them accurately.

  7. Lauren / Jun 19 2012

    It’s beautiful! I love the pattern matching – it’s totally pro, I don’t even SEE that center back seam (are you sure you’re not making it up? :) haha!). The fabric is just gorgeous, perfect match for the peplum & scallops. Yay!

    I am thinking a top like this would look great with a variety of stuff – jeans, an A-line denim skirt, or oooh even a red skirt. So many possibilities!

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Heh I swear I’m not making it up. :)

      Ooooh Red skirt… I would never have thought of that, but it would be pretty wouldn’t it… I guess I’ll have to go to the fabric store. Darn. :P

  8. Sue / Jun 19 2012

    LOVE this blouse. The fabric is amazing! I think it would look great paired with a navy/blue skirt…or any type of bottom…even some cute shorts.

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Thanks so much Sue! Although I don’t wear shorts, I tried this blouse on when I had on my comfy-capri pants (aka workout capris) and it was a great match. Perhaps I’ll make a pair of navy pedal pushers to go with this blouse.

  9. Amy / Jun 19 2012

    What a lovely blouse! The scallops and the fabric and all of the pattern matching you did really make it quite a special piece. I do hope you find more things to wear it with because it’s quite spectacular.

  10. Rochelle New / Jun 19 2012

    AMAZING! …do I say that every time? Well it’s true :) I would NEVER have guessed there was a center back seam in there, wow! Such an adorable shirt. You did an incredible job!

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Thanks so much Ms. Rochelle! :)

  11. Meg / Jun 19 2012

    OH! Your pattern matching skills are exquisite! Seriously – I would never have guessed there was a center back seam – brilliant job! I love the fabric, and the buttons match perfectly :) The shape is fantastic on you, and I think it looks lovely with this skirt. Marvelous!

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Thanks Meg! As you know, I always tend to sew solid fabrics, so this patterned floral motif was quite a change. With making this easy-ish blouse, I had to take my time with matching or else I knew I would have kicked myself later on.

  12. SeamstressErin / Jun 19 2012

    How beautiful! I’ve recently noticed that blouses are a big gap in my wardrobe, and this one sure is inspiring. Your pattern matching on the back is incredible!

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Thanks Erin! I’ll be making more of this one for sure since I too have a blouse shortage.

  13. Sarah / Jun 19 2012

    Wow, Liz! This is an absolutely stunning blouse and flatters you so beautifully! You are definitely rocking the peplum :) The colours are lovely and all of your little details are so pretty. Well done!

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Thanks so much Sarah!

  14. Qui Pardue / Jun 19 2012

    the blouse is lovely Liz! I can’t see the front peplum seam at all–it matches so perfectly! Love all the details, and your pattern alterations blow my mind!!

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Heh Thanks so much Qui. :)

  15. Emili / Jun 19 2012

    All I can say is: a center back seam???? You must be joking… I don’t think I could spot it with a magnifying glass!!

    Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating, but seriously, well done! I believe you when you say it took forever to cut out the pieces… but it was worth it!

    Great blouse!

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      I should take a close up shot of the back so everyone doesn’t think I’m lying about there being one. heh

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment. :)

  16. Karin / Jun 19 2012

    Super cute! and definitely flattering on your figure too.

  17. maddie / Jun 19 2012

    it looks great! I also avoid using interfacing whenever possible. I just dont’ like it! Great job on matching the prints @ CF!

  18. Kerry / Jun 19 2012

    What a sweet blouse! It looks great on you. Hope to see more versions in the future too.

  19. Annabelle / Jun 19 2012

    Liz, you’ve got some mad pattern matching skills! This looks like such a fun blouse that will surely get a ton of wear. Do we get to see pictures of the inside, your previous post on this blouse hinted that it would have some lovely finishes.

    While your cream skirt is a very classy option, I would love to see this blouse paired with a skirt that pulls out some of the colors in the pattern – dark blue, teal, yellow. I think you need to make yourself a skirt ;)

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      I have soo many skirts in my wardrobe, its crazy I didn’t have one to pair with it. I make this blouse up in this patterned fabric since I assumed I’d have plenty to wear with it. But fitted skirts look best with the peplum, and I have few that are summer-worthy.

      I’m now debating making a pair of pedal pushers instead of a skirt since those with fill more of my wardrobe gaps. Dark blue you say…. :)

  20. Stephanie / Jun 19 2012

    AMAZING WORK GIRL! I cannot even see the center back seam when I try! The whole project is just perfect.

  21. saar / Jun 19 2012


  22. Donna / Jun 19 2012

    The blouse turned out adorable!

  23. Jo / Jun 19 2012

    Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice pattern matching! Haha :) This is just too cute. I love the scallops. I can’t wait to make some of my own :)

  24. Esz / Jun 19 2012

    Gosh what a cute blouse! LOVE! I didn’t do any interfacing or stabilising on the little blouse I made the other week. They don’t really need it unless you’re using a super flimsy fabric and/or heavy buttons :-)

  25. Liz / Jun 20 2012

    This is fabulous – I love the scalloping and the peplum is stunning too. I am scared of peplums, keep thinking they will make my lower half look enormous, but the more I see them on other people the more I am convinced to give them a go.

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      You should totally make a peplum! I am very pear-shaped myself and I don’t think they make me look any bigger than I already am. :) In fact, I think having such a flare at the waist-to-hip on the peplum and then having a snug skirt or pants at the actual hip is decieving and more flattering. :)

  26. bonita / Jun 20 2012

    * ? * ~

    *le gasp* The scallops! The fabric! Liz! This blouse is to die for and I think you have done a simply superb job of matching your fabric’s pattern! I must confess, I am slightly obsessed with that pattern now ~ it’s too fabulous! Fantastic job; well done! :D I can’t wait to see the next installment of this pattern!

    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ? * ~

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Thanks so much Bonita!

      I love your *le gasp*. :)

  27. Charity Shop Chic / Jun 20 2012

    This is gorgeous – well done you!

  28. Sew Little Time / Jun 20 2012

    Love it! I am in awe of your pattern matching skills!

  29. Clare S / Jun 20 2012

    Oh my gods, this suits you so well! What a lovely pattern and the fabric is perfect for it!! LOVELY!!!

  30. Sara / Jun 20 2012

    don’t you look lovely! That’s a great top on you.

    Your couple of sentences about interfacing leapt out at me. When you don’t use interfacing, do you find that your fabric is REAALLLLLY wrinkled when it comes out of the wash? I have had that problem before, and it makes me nervous to try no-interfacing sewing on cuffs and collars. If you do have this issue, how do you deal with it? Ironing and starch?


    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Hey Sara! This is actually my first time sewing without interfacing… but I do have 2 vintage dresses that have button plackets- sans interfacing.
      You’re correct that they do get wrinked, but I always have to iron no matter what and once it’s pressed again they look just like they should. That being said, I have yet to wash this blouse since it only went outside 1 time for photos so far.

      Hmm… I think I’d use some lightweight inerfacing on proper collars (or silk organza) & for sure on cuffs. But more so, I think it depends on the style of blouse and fabric you’re using. My blouse didn’t need any stiffening, but for the collared version I think I will be using a very lightweight interfacing or organza to help it keep it’s shape.

      (I never use starch since I don’t care for it… I just iron with steam to press out all of the wrinkles.)

      Thanks for leaving this comment. I’ll be sure to report back how this blouse washes up. :)

      • Sara / Jun 21 2012

        Thanks very much for your thoughtful comments and I’ll look forward to the follow up!

        I too like sewn-in silk organza and find it holds up to washing well (machine delicate cycle and hang to dry, at least, as anything “nice” I’ve sewn only gets “delicates” treatment). I’ve only used lightweight fusible interfacing a couple of times, I’m not as comfortable with it as silk organza.

        I made one shirt for my boyfriend in what I think is a cotton/linen mix, with a Folkwear pattern that did not call for interfacing in cuffs, button placket or short stand collar. I followed the instructions, and now even if I iron and starch the shirt aggressively, the collar, cuffs and placket are still sort of janky and lie funny.

        Lesson learned, I’ll never sew a shirt with a proper collar and cuffs sans interfacing again. It’s easy enough to add it, after all, regardless of what the pattern calls — or doesn’t call — for.

        Now that we’ve talked it out, I can see how a shirt that has a neckline that doesn’t have a separate collar, might need only a good ironing. Thanks again.

  31. Tracy / Jun 20 2012

    This blouse is so freaking adorable on you!

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Thanks Tracy. :)

  32. Wanett / Jun 20 2012

    It’s so beautiful, Liz!! I love the pattern matching and the fit is perfect. It looks really lovely with that skirt, I hope you find other ways to wear it that please you.

    • Liz / Jun 21 2012

      Thanks so much Wanett! I’d love to make a skirt/pedal-pushers for this right away but I have a few other projects calling my name first. :) Hopefully I can squeak one in soon!

  33. Maria / Jun 21 2012

    I love it. The scallops and the smocking details are beautiful…Now I want to make a blouse with scallops! Oh, and matching the pattern on the front! Amazing. As always, Liz you are an inspiration to me.

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