Monday, April 6, 2015

Pattern Tutorial: Ehlen Blouse Variation

Trying to match a brown and gold polka-dot shantung silk pant, I found a gold lining in my stash that was the perfect color. While a blouse could be made exclusively from lining, in my opinion it looks a little cheap. This fabric is very light weight, and exceptionally shiny, so to tone down the shine and give the look an upgrade, I decided to pair it with chiffon in a champagne color. The result was a really pretty dull/shine iridescence. 

To pull out this contrast even more, I bound the neck and sleeve peek-a-boo edges in bias strips made from the lining and also added in a sash that is sewn into the side seams. This soft and sweet blouse turned out to be super quick to make, and in fact, I sewed it together in one day.

This tie can be worn both wrapped and tied in the front, or to the back. I love this look with jeans; a sassy bow and long ties floating behind....

First things first, get your pattern here:

Then, to prep for this project, you’ll need an additional ½ yard of lining fabric for the binding and ties. Follow the same number to cut except for the sleeve band you'll need to cut 2 of chiffon, and 4 of lining, both front and back. You will also need to rearrange your lining layout to accommodate space for the bias strips. You'll need 2 strips cut on the bias about 1 ½” wide and about 30” long, or enough to go around the front and back neck edge. One will be for the neck and the other will be used for the sleeves. Don't cut anything to size until after it's sewn. The first ¼ yard of lining will be used for the ties. Cut 2 strips 8” wide the full length of the cross grain. 

Once the chiffon and lining are cut, layer the sheer over lining and pin all the way around, with pins no less than 2” apart. Baste around all pieces ½” from the raw edge. Prepare the binding by folding in half, raw edges together, press.  Because the binding will finish the edges, and the lining will be used as one with the sheer, be sure to include a seam finish as you sew each seam. With the exception of the sleeve band, no lining is used on the inside. We want to put this together fast!

The bodice will need to be sewn together in a little different order than your booklet outlines. Here is how I did it:

 Sew the bodice back darts, and front to side front, then sew the front to back at the shoulders.


Sew a stay stitch around the neck edge at 5/8”. Trim to  slightly less than 3/8”. I did this to keep the seam allowance/binding edge manageable, and make sure that my stitching won’t show once the neck is complete.
With wrong sides and raw edges together, pin binding to neck the first few inches just to hold it in place. With the binding towards you under the machine, sew a roughly 3/8” seam. Now I say roughly because my eye stays on the folded edge of the binding (and the distance from the presser foot) at all times. I want that binding edge to be an exact measurement all the way around the neck. In this case, the seam allowance is not my biggest concern.

 Sew again, about 1/16” inside the seam allowance. This is an extra precaution against raveling.

Trim the seam to 1/8” from that second stitching and clip the curves as usual.

      Press the binding and seam up, then press the binding down to the right side of the blouse, folding down right on that seam.
    Top stitch on the right side close to that fold. Scant is the word we use to describe this distance- which means it’s so close you can’t really measure it!

    Sew the center front seam from that symbol all the way up the front. If you’ve measured that binding distance correctly, those binding edges will match right up.Now finish the front and back with the midriff and peplum.

I made my ties using a typical vintage fold up method, but for this light weight fabric, I think it weighs the ends too much. I recommend that you cut the ends on the bias and then clean finish all three edges, which is to turn under 5/8" and then again 1/4" to the inside of allowance. Stitch close to that second fold.

Make sure your ties are finished so that they mirror each other.It's easy to mix up which is the right/left/wrong right side of the fabric.

     Sew two rows of basting stitches at 5/8” and 3/8” along the remaining short end.
  Pull bobbin threads to gather to half the width, about 3-4”.
With right sides together, pin tie to bodice front at side seams above waistline seam.
 Baste to the side seam. Now you are ready to install the zipper.
    The sleeve won’t be lined either. We’ll finish the edges with binding instead.



       As before, stay stitch, add binding to the front and back where the angular peek-a-boo  opening of the sleeve will be. Press to the front and top stitch. Now sew the sleeve front to sleeve back as usual.

Sew the sleeve band as guided by the booklet. I make a template from scrap paper, then use chalk or disappearing marker to create a sewing line to help me get a nice curve around that corner.

I finished my hem with a clean finish as well. It's quick and neat, and won't get in the way of the zipper. Let me know if you make this blouse! I would love to see your creations!



  1. Gorgeous and I love how you toned down the shine. Lovely!

  2. What a pretty, feminine blouse. Love the sleeve detail.


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