Feb 16, 2013

Finished Object! Bird-Print "Pussy Bow" Blouse

They said it couldn't be done. (Who are they? The voices in my head, obviously. You guys are supportive. The voices in my head are a bunch of withering bitches).


But here it is: my finished Pussy Bow Blouse by Pattern Runway (available in digital download format for just $9.50 US), sewn from a gorgeous cream-and-purplish-brown bird print silk chiffon from Mood.



I love this fabric: It's feather light, so floaty and delicate. And it feels just amazing, like the light touch of fairy wings.

But such delicate fabric requires a gentle touch — especially with the bird print running crosswise to the grain, which meant cutting all the pattern pieces with the grainline running east-west instead of north-south. If you've ever done this, you would know how shifty fabric like silk chiffon becomes positively rebellious when cut on the crossgrain. Why didn't I notice this in Mood? I know enough to know better. Let's just say I was distracted.

I also didn't buy enough of this fabric because when I was shopping I didn't know what I was going to make with it. A yard and a half seemed like enough for a top or short dress (it was 60 inches wide). But the "pussy bow" on this blouse requires a fair bit of fabric, which is why mine ended up in a matching cream color silk, which I happened to have on hand (a remnant from lining a dress).

I like wearing the tie undone, in a more menswear-inspired style (though it's a touch long to wear it that way; when I make this blouse again, I will shorten the tie by a few inches):


So what did I do to this pattern to make it fit so well? I shortened the sleeves an inch and a half, and shortened it through the waist by an inch and a quarter. But most importantly, I added some flare to the bottom hem to account for the fact that I have wide hips — hips that usually force me to leave the bottom button undone in store-bought shirts. Here's the muslin (see how it's pulling apart at the hips):


I estimated I needed to add about four inches ease to achieve a loose and floaty look. And the best way to add that much to your hem is by spreading it out (add it all at the side seam, for example, and you will create a weird shape like an "A"). So I added two inches to the front and two inches to the back, using two half-inch slash-and-speads on each of the two pattern pieces. It's so easy to do: draw a line from your neckline to the bottom hem using a ruler (just don't pass through any darts on the way). Then cut all the way up to the neckline edge and spread the pieces apart, measuring to ensure you're adding exactly as much ease as you need: 

Each spread measures 1/2-inch at the hem

Then you tape the whole thing down onto a large piece of pattern paper and use your curve to redraw the hemline (matching up all the existing points). Then proceed as normal.


I really love this blouse. I want to make another, but not in chiffon. I don't think I'll be attempting that again. I'll make the next one in a cotton voile maybe. Still, those birds...this would look great with a high-waisted skirt. 




I'll be wearing this blouse out to dinner tonight with the mister. We're going to Cookshop in Chelsea. Pray for me I don't spill anything on it (or if I do, that's it was worth it!).

29 comments:

  1. OH!! pretty pretty pretty! Have a great night out!

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  2. This looks great, I love the print! Have fun at dinner!

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  3. I was just uploading a project to burdastyle when I saw your blouse picture pop up! it looks lovely, and the fit is great too. I'm just taking a break from sewing a grey chiffon blouse that has to be ready by tuesday, it's not easy to rush with chiffon. So when I started to curse at it, I thought it best to get a cuppa and go online for a quick break!

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    1. I feel your pain. If I didn't love this prit so much, I would have soaked this thing in gasoline and set it on fire!

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  4. Very nice, love that bird print. It turned out so lovely!

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  5. oh i love how this turned out! i'm not sure i have the patience for chiffon, i've only used it for dress sash/ties and that was enough for me! the bird print is great though. good tip about spreading for extra hip room, something i always have an issue with!

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  6. Love the blouse! And the print is wonderful. I think I like the looser tie too, and would be tempted to rig up some sort of convertible something in the back where it hides under the collar to give me two lengths. A couple of buttons and buttonholes so it could be folded up a bit? I dunno ... just mumbling here. Have fun tonight! And stay warm!!

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  7. It's lovely! You can always shorten the tie in the middle back, which lays under the collar so no one will ever see it.

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  8. This is SO pretty! I've been wanting one of these blouses myself but even more I've been wanting to design one for a toddler/child. You did an amazing job though and the fabric is a great choice!

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  9. well done. it is so nice. so glad that you did a muslin so that you could have a perfect fit with this lovely fabric. have a great time on your date tonight!

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  10. ah suzanne it's gorgeous!! i love the contrast tie, i think it was a brilliant yardage mistake, the birds as a tie might've got lost.

    i hope y'all are eating and drinking deliciously. review please??? me and the rugs need to get out more, and waving a blog post in his face shouting WHYDON'TWEGOOUTMORE is excellent motivation.

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  11. This is freaking awesome! I love the contrast tie- it allows the bird print to sing (oh yes, I went there) and makes the pussy bow (teehee) stand out as a feature rather than blend in. Super fab!

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  12. Very pretty, and your picture and description of the slash n spread to add to hem are exactly what I needed to see right now too. Thanks and have a great weekend!

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  13. The blouse turned out beautifully and fits you just right. I agree with other commenters, the yardage shortage had a happy ending.

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  14. It's gorgeous and looks like you paid a fortune for it. Kudos for tackling the chiffon - that's something I have yet to do. It makes me nervous. A high-waisted skirt would be darling with it, too.

    I hope you had fun at dinner!

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  15. It's beautiful! Hard work, but hopefully so very much worth it! I love the contrasting necktie, makes the tie pop.
    Hope you had fun at dinner!

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  16. Gorgeous, a really great example of the perfect fabric with the perfect pattern! If I was making it in a voile though I'd do a different alteration to add ease at the hip because voile is soft but not drapy in the same way as chiffon (basically slash at the waist or right below the bust and open up a pointed arch over each hip and then re-true the hem)

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    1. Interesting! I would love to see this illustrated....maybe another option would be to close the bust dart, opening up the ease to the bottom hem

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    2. P.S. I love it when sewers much smarter than me comment on my blog. I love learning this way so much more than by bumbling around in my sewing space.

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  17. Oooh, this turned out gorgeous! But... why were you distracted at Mood? OH, WAIT. Never mind.

    Hope you guys had a great time! Cookshop is one of my very favorite restaurants (at least, it's one of my favorite places to go when someone else is picking up the tab... ha!)!

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  18. pear shapes, unite! it's amazing how much better a garment looks when it fits right rather than trying to cram our hips into it, doesn't it? this blouse is fabulous.

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  19. put a bird on it! (sorry, couldn't resist) but seriously, that print is awesome. too bad it gave you trouble being on the cross grain. but you made it work 'cause you're awesome like that! thanks for the slashing tip, sometimes i have the hip problem, too. and i love the white tie! this blouse looks gorgeous on you!

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  20. I loves that bird fabric and with the top it makes a perfect combo. What a great versatile blouse. It can be worn to the office with a pencil skirt or with jeans for a day in the park. Great shirt. I also like the orange one.

    www.etsy.com/shop/CurvyTiffy

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