Manequim silk birthday blouse

I love this blouse!

It all started in Paris last June when I saw this amazingly gorgeous silk satin (charmeuse) in Tissues Dreyfus that I just had to have. But it was €22/m (zoot alors!) so I only bought 1 metre. But even now I still love it love it love it love it so it was worth it worth it worth it!

Ever since, I kept my eyes open for a good blouse pattern that only needed 1 metre of fabric, and along came Manequim Feb 2011 #158, which called for exactly the amount I had – 1 metre long and 150cm wide!

These two were clearly meant to be together! I don’t often do prints, but this one is just so gorgeous with the psuedo-floral/paint splatters of silver, black, orange, and fuschia that I wanted it to form both the centrepiece of my March Mini Wardrobe as well as be my special birthday garment this year!

Here it is paired with my NY-Lon jeans:

As you would expect for a silk blouse, all the seams here are french seamed to prevent fraying. Except the centre back seam, that is, because I needed to cut the back pieces against the selvedge instead of on the fold due to my fabric being only 140cm wide instead of 150cm. Having this edge on the (non-fraying) selvedge means I can do a regular seam here, which is super lightweight and hopefully less noticeable.

Here’s Manequim’s suggested layout diagram, where they have the back on the fold:

With my fabric being slightly narrower, I had to put one of the back pieces on the left and one on the right of the main front piece.

As you can also see, there aren’t any shoulder seams, but instead the front extends over to meet the back to form something like raglan seams back there, but the sleeves are really more like loose cap sleeves. All in all, this makes for a super comfortable, super flattering, basic pullover blouse!

You totally don’t need the slit and button opening in the back like Manequim suggest – the neckline is plenty wide enough to even go over my pumpkin of a head!

Eliminating these also makes the finishing of the neckline, sleeves, and hem much easier, too. I ditched the front and back facings and just did a doubly-turned over hem and sleeve hems, and on the neckline I did a narrow bias edge, which gives an easy, clean finish with far less bulk than a facing, and guaranteed to never flip out!

My favourite feature of this blouse is the pleat detail:

I just love the asymmetric pleat on this top! It looks a bit intimidating on the pattern piece, but I took the extra time to mark this really well before removing the paper pattern from the fabric. First I thread-traced around all the edges of the pattern piece at the pleated area with some silk basting thread. Then I cut into the pattern along each of the the pleat lines, and basted along those with the silk thread, too. Then it was just a matter of pinning all the pleats together and then sewing that central seam (which I also made as a French seam). The nice thing about silk basting thread is that it just slides out in one go when you’re done, so I didn’t need to get the seam ripper anywhere near my precious fabric!

I totally love this blouse pattern so much that I’m strongly considering folding it up and taking it with me when we go to France at Easter so I can make it again if I come across a good, wide 1 metre of fabric for it, so I can make it then and there!

This is the third of my finished garments for my March Mini Wardrobe, and hopefully you’ll get to see my leather skirt next week before I run out of time!

Oh, and if you hadn’t been keeping track, I am 32 years old today!

I always make myself something nice and special to wear for my birthday each year…

Past Birthdays

31st – LMB draped birthday dress in teal silk jersey:

30th – Green silk birthday dress using a Burda magazine pattern a emerald green silk satin:

29th – A bolero and jeans, on which I put the outline of the Thames on the back pockets, and lined the bolero with some vintage apron fabric from my Granny:

28th – I was homeless and living out of a suitcase in my boyfriend’s parents’ house, watching the Shipping Forecast every single day, hoping for good weather to sail our boat across the North Sea. My sewing machine was in storage, so I couldn’t make a new outfit, and frankly, ALL I wanted was for our boat to arrive. And it did, on the evening of my birthday.

27th – New Look 6429 in a fun sparkly knit from Walthamstow Market (and then about three days later decided to lose all that excess weight for good!).

26th – (probably the first year I was really into sewing) my favourite vest pattern with a red vinyl square neckband:

Does anyone else share the same birthday sewing tradition?

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