Friday, May 13, 2016

Pattern Hack Tutorial:The Ehlen Blouse

Next month is "Indie Pattern Month" over at The Monthly Stitch. This will be my second year participating in the June month long Indie Celebration. This year I'm sponsoring TWO contests-
  • One Pattern Two Ways
  • Hack It 
Prizes are many, sales are huge, and we've all pitched in a pattern or two for a PDF bundle sale that is listed as " up to 40% off" but in actuality, much more than that. HUGE discounts.

 Get the details about Indie Pattern Month here:

 With the sponsorship I was inspired to share a tutorial on this Ehlen blouse variation. I made this outfit for the IPCA fashion show for the International Textile Expo, an industry buyers event. The point of the fashion show is to use vendor fabrics and provide buyers with ideas and inspiration. I think it turned out nice.

  As written, the pattern recommends a  medium weight fabric and is entirely lined and trimmed with lace or piping.

In my hack,  I used lining and chiffon layered together, each piece basted inside the seam allowance and treated together as one and trimmed with binding. It's very light weight, and using the methods I will show you, it's much quicker to assemble too. I enjoyed playing with the contrast of the shiny lining and the dullness of the chiffon. The bow can be wrapped and tied in the front or back depending on where you want the drama!

1.Cut one layout each of lining and chiffon. Additionally, cut about a yard of 2 1/4" wide bias from the lining fabric. Fold in half lengthwise, with wrong sides and raw edges together, press. The ties are two 6" strips the full width of the fabric (45" -60"), or as long as you want them.

2. Pin lining to the chiffon and baste the perimeter of each piece just inside the seam allowance.

3. Follow instruction booklet, sewing back to front at shoulder as pictured.

 4. Sew a stay stitch around the neckline, at 1/2". Trim neckline seam to 3/8", or 1/4" from your stitching.

 5. With bias binding to wrong side of neckline, raw edges together, sew bias to neck edge. * Because this is a long seam to sew, I did it in two steps. The first row of stitching is 1/2", over stay stitching, and I'm not trying to be too precise. I just want to get it attached. The second  row of stitching is measured from the bias FOLD LINE. I want my binding to fold over to an exact width of 3/8", so I am going to sew 3/4" from the bias fold line to get that exact width.
 6. Trim again and clip in a "v" configuration. This allows the neckline to move and bend without puckering. Press binding to the inside.
 7. Fold bias to front, matching fold to seam. Top stitch close to fold. When I say, close, I mean a SCANT distance, which is to say it's next to almost nothing. Turn your computerized machine to slow if you need to.
 8. Trim the binding to match the front raw edges then sew the center front per instruction booklet.

9. This is the sleeve at the peek-a-boo opening. Following the same procedure for both the front and back sleeve, finish this opening with binding .Sew wrong sides to wrong sides.
Trim, press, and topstitch. 

Here's a helpful tip for sewing accurate curves on those sleeve bands. I make a template cut from my pattern and then trim the seam allowances off. put on my edge and with air erasable pen, draw in my stitching line. It helps to have something to follow!
10. For the ties, along one long edge, sew a clean finish (folded at 5/8" and inside the allowance again at 1/4" and sew close to fold) along one edge, fold up creating a diagonal as shown. Sew together at 5/8". Turn right sides out and press.

11. Clean finish the opposite side. Run that top stitching from the square end, to the point end.
Hummmm...why is this one upside down?? Well, you can see the whole tie here.
12. Sew two rows of basting on the short square end, gather it up, and pin to blouse front at waist, about 3" wide when finished.

13. Sew to side seam.

14. Finish up the garment as needed per instruction booklet, omitting the lining as a finish. I hemmed my blouse with a clean finish too. It's such a tidy sewing method!


Get your pattern here:

I hope this inspires you to join the sewing contests.

Happy Indie Pattern Month!

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