Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Ehlen Blouse, Sew Chic 1313

I'm so excited about the Ehlen Blouse, my new pattern this season, and have wanted to take you on a tour to show it off. This blouse may look simple at first glance, but there are some really nice features and techniques that may not at first be obvious, thus the reason for the "advanced" rating. I've also made some changes to the instructions that I hope you will be excited about.

Meet Ehlen A and B. A has the ties and lace for the frilly look, and for a tailored look, B has the buttons. The common features are the "v" neck, the princess seam at the bust, a front midriff yoke, a peplum, and short "peek-a-boo" sleeves - THAT I really love. They both also have a side zipper opening.

 This blouse design started with the idea of a cut-on neck scarf that could be arranged differently just using a new knot, or add in a broach, buttons, tie tacks, or any other means to create a new look. To test the wearability, I tied this cotton version with an overhand knot, and it stayed perfectly in place all day long. If you were to make it from a slippery fabric, I'm sure you could not expect the same results. 
 To stay with the theme, the sleeve band is also tied. A square knot is the most tidy. The other thing to note about this sleeve is that it's SHAPED down the center seam to give the illusion of, or make room for, a broad shoulder. A shaped sleeve and adjustable band that will fit nearly any arm is nice!

  Staying with the vintage vibe, and because it will be tied, I have not used any interfacing in my sleeve band.  The lace trim looks pretty, but it also serves as a stay for the bias and curved edges.
You could add a light weight interfacing if you wanted to.

 Reinforcing the stitching where the center front meets the ties, then clipping right up to the stitching is a really critical step. Too many times people do not clip close enough, but the fabric can't turn properly and lay flat any other way. If you fear the fabric will unravel, use a product called Fray-Check. Just a drop will do it.
 The inside of this blouse is completely lined. The front lining is cut from fashion fabric for ties that are faced with the same fabric on both sides.

View B is trimmed in bias binding, folded in half and pressed flat. Sew it in place as you would piping, but without using a zipper foot. Keeping the trim a consistent distance will be the only challenge.

"Tapering" the trim off the seam, it disappears from view
just at the last moment.

No special techniques were used to apply the trim to the sleeve, such as mitering corners. Keeping the trim narrow is the key. This band is interfaced, and is held together only with buttons. Initially I was going to make buttonholes and then I thought - Why? There was no need to "unbutton" the band. Simply try it on for fit, pin in place and add buttons. Keep it simple, right?

These blouses unzip from the bottom up the left side, exposing a beautifully lined inside. Sewing for a special needs person, continue the zipper all the way past to the sleeve. For a clean look, I have used (and the pattern recommends) an invisible zipper but an all purpose zipper could also be used.

Here's a view of the zipper from the inside.

 This photo shows how the sleeve is finished at the armscye.

The other great technique that should not be ignored is understitching at the hem. Understitching keeps the seam turned to the inside and keeps the lining from showing.
 In my classes, students said that they like the way that vintage patterns were illustrated, so I made some small changes from my usual instruction that I hope is a help to you.

Who uses a pattern layout anymore? Most people I know don't even bother with them, but for those of you who do, I have labeled the layout with the pattern number and given the number an "R" if the pattern has been reversed.

Just like many of the vintage pattern instructions, and as the steps will allow, I have only one illustration, with the seams numbered to match the written instruction. In this way, you can see how the garment is put together and arranged in 3-D rather than drawn flat. 
The sections are still organized into "STEPS", but rather than repeating the numbering, the numbers run continuously so no procedure is given the same number.

The lining can double as a "test" fit or "muslin" of the blouse before cutting into your good fabric. Formal or casual, this blouse is perfect for fine fabrics, great prints, or natural fibers. It has the details that make it special, easy to wear, and attractive for all figure types. There are so many reasons to love the Ehlen Blouse. You can pick yours up here:

I hope you've enjoyed the tour, and  I look forward to your feedback on the guide changes!


  1. Love love love this! Bring on payday, and it's mine!!!

  2. I love the new pattern. I can see it being very versatile.

  3. I love the blue one! Great pattern.... difficult to resits :-)

  4. I love your new pattern. The sleeve details and the structured look caught my eye.

  5. Yes, I don't use the layouts but yes, I do read them. Mostly to make sure the pieces that go on the fold do that, and verse vice-a. And they are appreciated.

  6. Yet another gorgeous pattern - and knowing your patterns, perfection too. I'll get this when spring comes in. I am happy you're creating separates patterns - my 8-gore skirt is a marvel!


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