A gathering of flowers

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Burdastyle 01/2011 #102.

One of the reasons for starting this blog is the thought that I might be more inclined to complete my projects if I document my progress and have the chance to show the results to others. I must confess that I have the tendency to leave garments unfinished when encountering an obstacle or when I can’t decide on how to complete them. Most of these almost-finished garments live in the notorious black boxes that are stored beneath the bed and that is also where the blouse I am writing about today lingered for about four years.


The technical drawings (source: Burdastyle.com).

The pattern is the Short Sleeve Blouse, pattern #102 from Burdastyle magazine 01/2011. As soon as I saw this vintage-inspired pattern in the magazine, I fell in love with it. After four years I do not remember all the details of sewing it together, but as I did not have a gathering foot on my sewing machine back then, the gathering must have been time-consuming and is not as even as it should have been. Another challenging feature of this pattern are the squared armscyes. Although the first corner came out a bit wonky, by the time I got to the fourth I got the hang of it. I did not bother making the button loops myself, but used ready-made black button loop trim instead, most of which I cut off after the facing had been attached.


Front view. Notice all that extra fabric around the bust? Well, there was even more of that before I took in the side-seams.

Once the blouse was almost finished and I tried it on, I was not so sure whether it was the right style for me. It was much more blousy around the bust and in the back than the garments I used to wear and the armholes were very wide as well. I took in the side-seams as much as possible without totally distorting the armscyes, but I still wasn’t satisfied with the fit. And I wanted to like it so bad! I thought the pictures in the magazine were gorgeous!


I like the shape of the yoke and am happy with how the neckline turned out, but there is just too much gathering for my liking. Oh, and in case anybody’s wondering: the hemline is not that wavy when I am wearing the blouse.

Recently I decided to give the blouse another chance. I think that this style might have grown on me (or I may have grown into this style), as it did not seem as ridiculously blousy as I remembered. I am also still very fond of the fabric, although in hindsight it is perhaps a bit too thick and stiff for this particular pattern. It was difficult to gather evenly and does not drape very well. In addtion, the squared armholes, one of the special features of this pattern, are barely noticeable due to the busy print.


Still not sure how I feel about this blouse.

Anyway, the only things left to do were to understitch the facings, sew on the buttons and finish the hem. While I feel relieved to have completed the blouse at last, I doubt that I will wear it very often. As long as it’s on the hanger I think it looks great, but when I wear it I find lots of faults with it. First of all, the sleeves don’t hang in the same way – probably a result from the uneven gathering or taking in the side-seams. I also wish I had lowered the waistline so it would fall at my natural waist. Now I have the tendency to pull it down all the time. Lastly, I don’t know what to wear it with.


This picture shows how wide the blouse is in the back and that the sleeves are uneven.

To end on a more positive note: I spent barely any money on materials for this blouse. The fabric was bought a long time ago at one of the thrift stores around where my parents live and they usually charge about 1 Euro per piece. About half of the fabric was used for a skirt, but unlike the blouse, that garment did not survive all the moving around of the past years. The flower-shaped buttons I salvaged from a worn-out cardigan. It always makes me very happy to assemble garments with recycled materials. I still used new thread, interfacing and button loop trim, though, so it’s not a 100% environmentally friendly item.


Detail of front closure showing the texture of the fabric and the flower-shaped buttons.

To sum up: I don’t think this blouse is an all-round success. The stupid thing is that I continue to be drawn to this pattern and I am tempted to sew up one of the dresses based on it.

No, I must resist!

Printed rayon blend: charity shop
Buttons: salvaged from old cardigan

3 thoughts on “A gathering of flowers

  1. Zara

    Thanks for posting. I want to make this blouse too. I think it looks so nice in the magazine and has a bit of a 40s vibe. It’s interesting to hear what you encountered while making it. I think I’ll take a close look at the width of the body pieces before I cut it out based on you having to take yours in. I think it looks very pretty on you 🙂


    1. iris Post author

      Thank you for commenting! I think I liked the pictures in the magazine so much that I didn’t realize that they don’t show the fit of the garment very well. It’s probably possible to take in the body a lot without changing the overall look of the blouse, at least if you don’t do it afterwards, as I did! Only recently I noticed that Burdastyle has a blouse pattern with a similar 40s vibe but with what appears to be better fit and less fiddly sleeves: http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/alexander-blouse I plan on trying that one out instead of altering this pattern, because I still like the overall look.

  2. Pingback: A 40’s-style blouse in 50’s fabric | IrisArctica

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