Casual, Chic, and Quick to sew
Sew this stylish top and be ready for your next outing with time to spare. The top in question is one of my scrap fabric creations. It uses 2 rectangles, 5 stitches, a bit of hemming and you’re good to go. Featuring a boat neckline, one short kimono type sleeve and a blouson effect at the hip. The left shoulder is gathered to create an asymmetrical silhouette. Plus, the elasticized blouson provides comfort and a perfect fit. Who knows, it might end up trading places with your favourite Tee for good.
piecing fabric for length
A friend gifted me more than 4 yards of this vibrant rayon print a while back. After completing a couple projects, I had a few pieces left. Two measured roughly 20” X 20” and another strip around 6” X 60” wide. When I decided to make the top, I knew the larger remnants were not long enough for what I wanted to do. So, I sectioned the 6” X 60” scrap and stitched it to the bottom of the two 20” X 20” pieces. But after joining them, the seam fell across the body about 2 1/2” below the waistline. I didn’t like the way it looked; so, I thought the easiest way to fix that would be to turn it into a blouson. The resulting design is not the initial plan but I feel it turned out better.
Suggested fabrics for top
Easy is addictive though; I’ve made more than a few variations since. If you have remnants or large pieces of leftover fabrics, it’s a good time to look through them. If not, you’ll need about 1 yard material at 54” - 60” wide. I prefer buying fabrics that are wider in widths. That way, yardage is the same for a range of sizes. Lightweight cotton, rayon, synthetics and poly/cotton blends are all suitable.
about Making different types of blousons
A blouson type garment is designed with a fabric overhang that forms a puff in the area it’s placed; think puff sleeves.
To create a blouson, you can choose a number of techniques. As this blouse uses elastic, let’s look at it first.
(a) An easy way to create a blouson is to mark and fold the fabric on the wrong side -in the area you want the overhang. Then, stitch a seam/pocket deep enough to hold the width of the elastic. The seam becomes a tunnel through the elastic is threaded. Add an extra 1/4” to the casing width for ease of insertion and to ensure elastic lies flat. To use this method, add casing width to bodice length before cutting.
(b) Cut a separate piece of fabric wide enough to accommodate the the width plus ease and stitch it to the marked area on the wrong side of the garment. For (a), (b) and (c), leave a small gap open for threading the elastic through.
(c) For items that are joined and have seam allowances, in the area of the blouson, stitch the seams shut and insert elastic in the pocket/tunnel formed. Use a safety pin to thread elastic through pockets in (a), (b) and (c).
(d) Cut elastic to required length; mark the area of the garment you’ll like to place it; stretch it across the fabric evenly and stitch it in place. In this method, elastic will be exposed on the wrong side.
Decide which of the above techniques you are using before cutting fabric. I used (c); folded the seam upward and stitched it down.
Drawstrings for blousons can be made using the same process as (c) above. The facings can be applied on the inside or outside, around the entire width of the garment. Or sometimes, a gap is left between both ends of the facing, where the tails of the drawstring will hang.
If the garment is lined, cut the lining shorter than the outer fabric and attach layers at the bottom.
Insert a yoke between the upper an lower sections of garment.
What you will need
7/8 to 1 yard fabric 60” wide
For scraps and remnants: At least 6” wider than hips; length needs to be about 4 1/2” longer than finished top for seam allowances and elastic casing if using.
Pins - straight and safety
1/2” to 1” elastic - enough to go around hips
Tape measure, straight edge, ruler or yardstick
Iron and ironing board or flat padded surface
Measure neckline width - To determine the width of the neckline, hold one end of a tape about midway at one shoulder and measure across front neckline to the same point on other shoulder. Allow tape fall loosely about 1” down.
Measure armhole depth - Hold a tape around armhole, in a loose circle, at the tip of shoulder. Allow it to fall downward from armpit, to a point you feel will give you the most comfortable fit.
Measure hip to shoulder - Place one end of tape at mid shoulder and measure down to hip level - around the fullest part of your tummy. Use this measurement to mark elastic placement on wrong side of top.
Use measurements to mark guidelines on wrong side of fabric panels.
Alternative measurements method
The above method offers a fit that will be more tailored to your body. But you can skip the body measurements and opt for the alternative below.
Alternative measuring method
Neckline - Lay a shirt or top on a flat surface; a Tee or polo shirt is perfect. Locate the mid point of both shoulder seams and mark or pin. Measure across the front from shoulder to shoulder; allowing the tape to line up with curve at front neckline. Use in place of measure neckline width instructions above. Transfer measurements to fabric and mark with a snip or notch.
Armhole - Using the same shirt, measure down from the tip of the shoulder to the underarm where the side seam and sleeve connect. Use a top that fits well but not fitted like a leotard. Use that measurement plus 5/8” seam allowance in place of the measure armhole depth instructions above.
Hip to shoulder - Mark the middle of one shoulder seam with a safety pin. Slip on the shirt; stand in front of a mirror and decide where you want your blouson to be. Use another pin to mark the location on the same side down from the pin on the shoulder. Remove shirt, measure from pin to pin and use in place of measure hip to shoulder above.
Note: 1 1/2” must be added to obtained measurement to create a blouson. Also, ensure casing width is included in total length before cutting.
Record measurements; mark accordingly on wrong side of fabric.
helpful construction notes
Use 5/8” seam allowances at side seams; it is also the edge of the sleeve.
Increase seam allowance at neckline to 1” or more; this allows for a fold over finish that works as a facing and doesn’t require hemming.
If you’re using scraps and remnants, as I did, that might not be possible. In such case, use whatever seam allowance the fabric permits and hem the neckline as you would the sleeves.
Anything narrower than an inch will not lie flat; you’ll need to stitch it down.
Make a loop/tab and gather shoulder
To keep the gathers at the shoulder in place: Cut a rectangle of fabric; I used 3 1/2” x 2 1/2”.
Lengthwise, with right sides together, fold the rectangle in half and stitch a ½” seam along length; leave short ends open.
Trim seams, turn right side out and press or finger press depending on fabric type.
Gather the shoulder
Gather the centre of the shoulder seam with your fingers and wrap the loop around it - wrong side up. Adjust gathers and use pins to hold it in place. Stitch, trim and turn loop over - right side out.
Centre loop over shoulder seam; arrange gathers and hand-tack in place on wrong side.
Cut a piece of elastic to a length that fits comfortably around your hips and apply according to your chosen method. Turn over and press.
That’s it; you’ve finished your top. Congratulations! I hope you mix and match it with your other favourite pieces and enjoy wearing it to the max. Stay tuned; other season appropriate variations are on the way.
Thank you for sharing your time; take care and be well.
Until the next time, if the Lord will, see you next then.