Springtime Sewing Means Blouses


I don't know about you all out there in internet land, but I'm about ready for warmer weather. And it's not even about the shortness of the days, the snow, or the freezing rain (ok, it's a little about freezing rain), but I like making warm weather clothing so much better. In the winter, give me a comfy pair of pants, some boots and a variety of cozy sweaters and I'm good for months. But beyond sewing the pants, which we're doing in the boxes we are sending out to you on March 1st, and knitting the sweaters, which you can do if you're so inclined, winter me-made outfits, to me, are less varied and more time-consuming to make. God bless all of you out there with the patience to make coats!

Therefore, I'm really looking forward to Spring. Now, those of you out there keeping track, you can see that we started out with dresses, a lovely, one-stop me-made outfit. Then we moved on to skirts and trousers. So, the next logical step in your subscription me-made wardrobe would be... (da da DA) Blouses!

We are exploring different blouse options for the month of April so that after two months of sewing bottoms, you won't have to go walking around topless (unless that's your thing). Now, there are a lot of options out there for separates that you can pair with skirts and trousers: woven tanks, classic button-downs, tunics and more. But, we chose blouses because they combine classic styling with unique features that lift them above the ordinary. Because, at the end of the day, we know you want to make tops that look just as good with jeans as they do with your best skirt.

Lightweight Box: Alma Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns

The Alma Blouse is a feminine, semi-fitted blouse with darts that create a fitted silhouette without being too tight. It also includes an optional tie belt to cinch the waistline and it closes at the side with an invisible zipper.

There are two qualities of the Alma Blouse that made it a perfect choice for our Lightweight Box. 1) It is ideal for lightweight cottons, making it a great introductory blouse for beginners. 2) It's got so many customization options - cap sleeve, long sleeve, notch collar, peter-pan collar, tie-waist - the list goes on. This one pattern can net you 9 different tops!! And while we only provide you with fabric for one, you can certainly turn the pattern into a staple of your wardrobe.

For fabrics, we chose three lightweight yet easy-to-sew cottons. And no, not quilting cottons, though they would work fine. These are high-thread-count shirting fabrics that will last you for years. In terms of color, we are embracing the springtime theme with a lighter and softer palette. Gone are the black and deep saturated tones of our previous boxes, in are florals, stripes and pastels, three words certain to lighten your mood and brighten your day.

  • Blue Variable Stripe Cotton Shirting - There's something about blue stripes that make me think of the seaside. Maybe it's the swimming costumes that you see in old photographs, maybe it's an association with seersucker, but either way, this fabric makes me think of warmer weather. Soft and lightweight, this 100% cotton shirting has a pattern of alternating bands of stripes that has as much interest up close as it does from afar. You'll also love how the fabric, with just enough crispness, feels against your skin, especially when the hot weather hits. Plus, because we're including enough fabric to make the long-sleeved version, feel free to play around with the direction of the stripes on a short-sleeved version. A bias-cut collar or even a whole bias-cut bodice would be stunning.
  • Petit Fleur Blue, Green, and Peach Cotton Lawn - Lawn is definitely my preferred lightweight cotton. The softness and opacity of it make it so versatile and wearable that I have made quite a few items out of this wunder-fabric. This lawn is no exception. The tiny flowers of green, blue and peach lend a playful tone to the fabric without being overdone and the colors blend nicely with the black-brown background. In many ways, I think of this fabric as a floral for people who don't normally like florals. Choose this fabric and sew up a sweet but not saccharine top that's sure to become an outfit favorite.
  • White Dobby Cotton Shirting - There's little more classic than a white blouse. They brighten up any skin tone and they can be worn with practically any outfit. Some may be hesitant for fear of spilling something on it, but because this fabric is 100% cotton, it is eminently washable. Though it can be a little hard to tell in the photographs, this fabric has a one-inch tone on tone stripe created by the dobby loom. Reminiscent of eyelet, though without actual holes, the stripe looks almost like a band of quilting or embroidery stitches at even intervals. Embrace your bohemian with this fabric and turn your Alma top into an interpretation of the classic white peasant top.

Medium Weight Box: Orla Top by Tilly and the Buttons

Orla Top Tilly and the Buttons

If you're looking to experiment with a drapier blouse, the Orla Top is the one for you. Orla is a semi-fitted shift top with delicate details offset by a modern exposed zip. The bodice is shaped by curved French darts at the front, with contour and shoulder darts at the back for a great fit. The booty-shielding dipped hem is finished with a facing. Classic at first glance, a closer peek reveals a wealth of interesting design details to develop your sewing repertoire.

The beauty of Orla, on top of that killer exposed zip, is that it can handle a variety of fabrics, anywhere from cotton batiste to silk charmeuse. As long as it has a soft drape, your possibilities are quite open. This element also makes it perfect for sewers who want to dip their toes into drapey fabrics with a clean, simple design. Besides the two darts and the back contouring, Orla is pretty simple to sew. And the hem facing means that you don't have to play around with any rolled hems, especially if you don't have the rolled-hem foot (And you're not getting mine; I love it too much). So we've chosen three fabrics that will drape beautifully without killing your spirit (or make you break out the starch).

  • Fox on Navy Viscose Twill - Up until now, we've avoided animal prints. Not animal prints like leopard spots or zebra stripes, but actual animals printed on the fabric. That's not to say anything against them. Instagram is loaded with beautiful outfits bedecked with unicorns, owls, pigs, cats, and, nowadays, llamas. However, they are much more of a top-weight fabric, so we've held off until now. But let me tell you, I love this fox stripe design, like little foxes rambling around your blouse. Plus, this lightweight, ultra-soft viscose twill has a fluid drape without being too slippery. A must-get if you want to show off your "foxy" side.
  • Powder Blue Brushed Viscose/Cupro Twill - For those unfamiliar with cupro, it's produced by taking the tiny strands on the outside of cotton seeds and processing them, similar to rayon, to form a lovely, soft, smooth fabric that has an almost sand-washed look. Combined with viscose and woven with a twill weave and you have a beautiful fabric that looks like sand-washed silk but has the wearability and washability of rayon. This lovely powder blue screams Spring to me. And man, wouldn't it look nice with the lipstick pink double-faced woven from March's trousers box?
  • White Viscose Batiste with a Woven Off Kilter Chevron - What do you get when you combine a herringbone with a zig zag? This off-kilter chevron viscose batiste! With a beautiful sheen and a fluid drape, this fabric looks like plain white from afar, but up close, has a one-of-a-kind pattern in the weave. Plus, name another piece of clothing that goes with everything besides a white blouse?A top made out of this fabric is sure to become a favorite.

Wait! We're not done! We've also given you the choice of what color zipper tape you want to use for the exposed zipper, whether it's matching or contrast. You will be able to choose from navy, white, light blue, hot pink, tangerine and teal. A top made with the fox on navy with a tangerine zipper is already making me swoon...

Heavyweight Box: Pussy Bow Blouse by Sew Over It

Ok, I realize that we've been hitting Sew Over It pretty hard the past few months, and we will be taking a break soon in upcoming boxes. But, come on, you must admit that they have such great choices. The Pussy Bow blouse is no exception, a beautiful, classic design that will always be in style. With two different style options you can choose between a v-neck version or a keyhole opening. The blouse features full-length sleeves with a cuff, a slightly dropped shoulder and a loose-fitting dartless bodice. Stylish and versatile, it’s perfect for the office but can be dressed up for a night out. (And it will go perfectly with either the trousers or the pencil skirts you've already made).

The challenge of this blouse pattern is mastering of drapey, fluid fabrics, but the reward is getting the easy fit and the beautiful feel of the finished blouse. For fabrics, we've chosen silks and viscoses with bold colors and designs that are sure to show off the simple styling.

  • Super Soft Deep Ultramarine Viscose Woven - Do you remember in middle school when everyone was obsessed with the cerulean crayon? No, just me? No matter. But if you're familiar with the crayon, you'll realize that this fabric is the color embodied. Vibrant and striking, the color shows off an incredibly soft hand and a waterfall drape. The finished blouse will glide over your shoulders and make you feel ever so posh. A no-brainer of a choice. 
  • Liberty Of London Green/Blue Floral Stretch Cotton Poplin -  Those familiar with Liberty of London know their unmatched quality and unique patterns. We've chosen one of their cotton poplins with an almost illusory pattern of hand drawn floral images in lime green and baby blue. Soft and feminine, a blouse made with this fabric will become your go-to when you want to dress up any outfit.
  • Green Paisley Floral Silk Crepe de Chine - Looking for a statement blouse? Look no further than this luxurious crepe de chine in a gorgeous emerald green. Smooth and cool to the touch, this crepe has a unique mix of floral and paisley horizontal rows that will look amazing on this blouse pattern. Plus, the silk just feels amazing against the skin. Just remember to break out a scrap piece of muslin when you cut to keep it from slipping off your table.

So that's it, folks! Our April boxes in brief to get us ready for Springtime. Head over to the product pages for more details about difficulty levels and what else is included in the boxes. 

Happy sewing!

-Mary