Completed: The Birdy Blouse

First of all, I know I’ve posted since, but I wanted to thank you gals for all of your home-buying expertise.  I had Felix read through all of the comments and we had a great discussion afterwards and have plenty of food for thought.  So thank you!!


Secondly, in the midst of all of this, it’s been quite a challenge to find a large chunk of time to go outside and take photos of myself.  Chicago weather isn’t helping either since it seems to rain at least once every weekend.  So I’ve had to scale back the photos and am doing things renegade style.  Which means, posing for photos for 5 minutes on the way to work, and right outside my apartment.

As a result, these photos are exactly how I went to work that day; 40’s blouse with a mix of modern working gal.

I used the vintage Vogue 5011 pattern and only made a few adjustments to get a perfect fit: added with at the waist and hip & reduced with at bust and finished the edges with a narrow hem by hand.

I’ve worn this blouse quite a few times since completing it a few weeks ago.  The blouse is made with a 3-ply silk crepe which is my favorite fabric of all time.  It’s such a supple yet drapey fabric, and being silk it feels like butter.  I’d wear 3-ply silk instead of the softest t-shirt any day of the week; it’s just that wonderful.

Unfortunately, this fabric comes with a hefty price point.  I normally see 4-ply silk crepes for $50 a yard at my local fabric stores ($40 @ Mood).  But being a 3-ply it has a nicer price, plus the place I’ve found it had last year’s price tag (instead of the new, higher price tag as I was told by the sales staff.)  So every fabric store I’m at, I always check for price errors on this stuff as it’s hard to come by at a more reasonable rate.

I paid $20 a yard for this fabric.  But since it only needs 1 yard of fabric I’ve made myself a luscious silk blouse for $20 in materials… not too shabby, no?!

If you find silk crepe and can afford it please buy it and try for yourself.  Silk crepe is much less shifty than your charmeuse and is quite easy to sew.  You don’t even need to cut (or sew) with tissue paper to work with the stuff which makes it pretty ideal for a silk-sewing newbie.

*Please don’t let my wrinkles dissuade you, I had my purse swung across my body before these shots and I got it a but rumpled.*

I shared this info with my mom and I’m pretty certain she thinks I’m nuts for paying this much on any piece of fabric, no matter what the content.  I feel like I’ve turned into a bit of a fabric snob…. sometimes.  I’d rather pay $20 a yard on really wonderful silk than its weight/length in cotton any day of the week.  (Says the gal who just bought more Michael Miller quilting cotton for a summer top.)  But really… nothing beats a wonderful piece of silk fabric, other than a great wool in the winter.  heh

Blue birds:

I love the little bird on my top.  It’s not the best embroidery out there but I think only I would be critiquing it so severely since I see flower petals that are oddly placed at various lengths.  It was a challenge to embroider the fine feathers on the original image even with using only 1 strand of floss.

Lladybird-Lauren pointed me towards the flickr group Hoop Love a while back and it’s always the first place I go now every time I debate adding on some embroidery to a project.  They have perfect vintage transfers for any of your projects.

Even though the blouse pattern is from the 40’s, it’s such a classic-basic that I’ve worn it with a 40’s style skirt, 50’s style skirt, as well as my basic, casual style trousers and it works well by itself or layered under cardigans.  It’s officially my new favorite go-to blouse pattern.  I loved it so much, I’ve made it twice now – which is quite unheard of for me to make the same pattern twice.

I also wanted to call your attention to my hair.  I love having hair discussions and wanted to mention that my hair in these photos is the result of brushing the curls on the morning of day 2 of a rag curl set.

(Compare with day two of sponge curlers.)  I’m not sure why but sponge curlers just hold curls better for my hair…. But the comfort of sleeping with rag curls beats sponge curlers any day of the week for me!

Cheers ladies! And don’t forget to put a bird on it.

In: Sewing

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

Comments (21)

  1. Tasha June 13, 2013 — 8:18 AM

    ‘Tis the season for embroidery, I just saw Lauren’s embroidered dress, your embroidered blouse and I’m working on an embroidered skirt. Hee! I’ve always loved that Flickr group, I do embroidery in fits and spurts but wish I did it more often, so I should remember to check that group regularly for inspiration to keep me on track.

    Anyway, love, love this blouse, Liz!! It’s such a great shape and is perfect on you. It looks so versatile so I can see why you’ve sewn it twice. I’d want an army of them!

    My main reason for not sewing with silk is based on laziness: I try to avoid hand-washing any more than I have to. :/ I wish there was a thin, soft, drapey, magically yummy fabric that I could throw in the washer and dryer. lol

    p.s. your hair looks fabulous :)

  2. Meli June 13, 2013 — 8:18 AM

    The blouse looks fantastic! I recently paid $10 for a yard of fabric, which is the most I’ve ever paid for something; I’m afraid to cut in to it now!

  3. Oooo I love the shape of that blouse! It’s so loose and billowy but still completely feminine. Of course, the cute little embroidery just adds to the charm. Great glasses too!!

  4. How lovely! I’ll be working with silk for the first time soon! It’s a blend so hopefully it’s not too terrible to work with (and it wasn’t too terribly expensive). It is plaid though, so wish me luck!

    1. Liz June 13, 2013 — 10:54 AM

      Oooh! Blends are wonderful as well. Is it a silk/cotton blend? If so, it’s just like working with a voile or cotton base. The silk enhances the cotton but it’s easy to work with.

      Do you happen to have Claire Schaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide? It a great resource to have (or borrow from the library) as it describes the best stitch length, thread, iron setting, etc for each and every type of fabric out there and sooo much more.

  5. Anthea June 13, 2013 — 11:23 AM

    Love your blouse! The embroidery is a great detail.

    I recently finished embroidering a cardigan I knitted last year. Although I love embroidery, I don’t really like doing it.

    Your curls looks amazing! My curls don’t hold that long :(

  6. LOVE. I’m really at the verge of trying some embroidery. Seeing this up close was only more support in favor of the argument!

  7. Hey, embrace the imperfections (I don’t see any, but…) otherwise it would look machine made and mass produced and you don’t want that really, do you?

  8. Gail June 13, 2013 — 3:23 PM

    Such a sweet top! I can easily see why it’s your favorite! I wish I could reach through the screen and feel that silk (is that weird?). I don’t see any imperfections in your embroidery – it looks amazing!

  9. K-Line June 13, 2013 — 6:45 PM

    What fantastic embroidery!

  10. Wanett June 13, 2013 — 9:30 PM

    This is so sweet!!! And I LOVE your hair like that!! But, I agree that sponge rollers (ALL rollers) are so, so, so uncomfortable!

  11. Jo June 13, 2013 — 11:57 PM

    So pretty. I’m in love with silk, but I’ve yet to sew with it. I covet a simple silk top like yours! Love the emboidery too, you are a star :D

  12. jay June 14, 2013 — 1:40 AM

    Nice work!

  13. Sara June 14, 2013 — 11:06 AM

    Sooooo pretty!. I’m fearful of silk (and most expensive fabric, hahaha!) but your blouse just might be the kick I need to try it out.

    Btw…$20 for a beautiful handmade garment is a good deal, IMHO. ;)

  14. Rachel June 14, 2013 — 10:25 PM

    Liz, it is a lovely blouse! The embroidery really gives it some panache… and I hear you on fabric… but I really do love cotton prints ;)

  15. Ginger June 15, 2013 — 5:13 PM

    So, so cute! I love this! The drape of the silk is amazing, and I love the neckline and sleeves so much! And of course, the embroidery is super lovely!

  16. Amanda June 16, 2013 — 6:26 AM

    This is simply lovely! The colour is divine and the drape is spectacular. I really love the pop of embroidery!

  17. Loram June 20, 2013 — 5:38 PM

    Look at it this way – what would you get in a department store for $20? What you’ve made is gorgeous AND a bargain if you had bought it. You will NEVER go wrong with good quality fabric!

  18. Oooh, this is such a cute blouse, and your embroidery is GORGEOUS! So cute and simple… I think I need this pattern :)

  19. Bridget June 24, 2013 — 8:25 AM

    What a gorgeous blouse and you did an excellent job on the embroidery! I might try my hand at embroidering, haven’t done it in years.

    I’ve been on a roll sewing tons of summer clothes, but none of them vintage. My fall wardrobe will be ALL vintage, though.

Leave a Comment