Okay ladies - welcome to the last day of the sew along! We have already gotten our dresses done, gotten over our fear of zippers and are now ready to conquer the blouse version! PS - a special shout out to my talented friend Sarah of Cali Faye Collection for the Tulip Shorts. My Lou loves these in the summer!
If you are just now joining in, check out these links from the week:
Today we are working on the blouse. I will be showing you how to attach the collar and also make your blouse sleeveless by adding a lining instead of a facing. If you want to do the blouse version with sleeves as the traditional Lennon, all you need to do is to swap out the rolled collar of the pattern with the peter pan style (construction details on day 1) and go from there. So, on this post I will be focusing only on the construction of the sleeveless version.
Let's get started! First things first, since we are making this blouse sleeveless we need to construct a lining for it. This is simple, and just a matter of making a few different marks on the pattern pieces that you altered the armscyes on day 1.
I know I just said this, but here we go again. MAKE SURE YOU ARE USING THE ALTERED ARMSCYE from the first day so that you don't wind up with a gapping underarm. Phew, now I feel better. Lay one of your blouse pieces (it doesn't matter front or back) on a flat surface. From the bottom of the arm curve, measure down 3" and make a mark as shown below.
We are going to use this 3" mark as a guide to draft our lining piece. Using a french curve or whatever you use to draw curves with, make a curved line from the side of the bodice to either the fold (if you are on the front) or the back center (if you are using the back piece) from that 3" mark. Below I am using one of my french curves.
See how I made a curved line from the 3" mark. You want the lining to curve across at the bottom like this because it helps it to stay in place better than if it was just straight across.
Now, place the other blouse pattern piece over the one you just drafted the lining piece for, making sure to match up shoulder seams and armscyes and trace the lining for that piece as well. See, that was way easy, right?
Now, to cut our fabric. For the sleeveless blouse you want to make these cuts:
- front - one on fold
- back - one set of mirror images
- front lining - one on fold
- back lining - one set of mirror images
On to construction. Place the front blouse on a flat surface and place the back pieces right sides together matching up the shoulder seams. Sew across at the shoulders (the seam allowance for this SAL is the same as the pattern, 3/8" unless otherwise noted) and then take to the iron and press those seams out.
Now, do the same for the lining pieces. Also, with the lining pieces, finish off the bottom curved edges of both the front and back.
Set the lining aside for the moment and fold your blouse in half in the front so that you can find the center of the front piece. I usually will just do a finger press for this mark, but you can also mark the center with a pin. For the SAL, I have it marked with a blue line as shown below. This center will help us with our collar placement.
Now, grab your collar pieces you constructed on day 1. You are going to place them on the neckline, with the front overlapping the center of your blouse by about 1/8". I have more photos of this process on day 2 if you need to reference that. I just didn't want to be too repetitive. This overlap in the collar will not show once our neck seam is sewn, but it will give the collar a nice finished look with it just matching up. Since the collar halves will overlap the center, they will also overlap each other just a bit as shown below. Make sure you have the right side of your collar facing up (meaning the underside or wrong side of the collar is facing the right side of the blouse) and that the front of your collar is truly in the front. Remember on day 1 when I was all paranoid about marking collars and putting them on the right way? Well, guess who put one of her collar halves on backwards when making this blouse? Ugh. And I didn't realize it until it was too late. See, my paranoia is for a reason. Once you are happy with collar placement, pin along the neckline and take to your machine and baste in place along the neck with a 1/4" seam.
Now, place your lining pieces right sides together with the blouse matching up the shoulder seams, back centers and sides as shown below. Sew together along the neckline as shown by the black dotted line.
Once your neck is stitched, clip the curves. I am sorry to swap out photos on you, but I apparently forgot to photograph these next few steps with the blouse. Be careful clipping your curves and make sure you don't clip through the seam. This helps to decrease the bulk in the seam and also helps give the fabric ease so the neckline can curve gracefully.
Now that the curve is clipped, flip the blouse right sides out along the neck. Head over to the iron and press the seam you just stitched toward the lining. Just as on page 15 in the pattern, we are going to understitch the seam to the lining. Again, I have more photos on day 2 of this step if you need extra reference. Understitching the seam to the lining helps to keep the lining on the inside and also pulls down on the collar so that it creates a beautiful roll around the neckline. Stitch the seam to the lining with a 1/4" seam allowance all along the neckline as shown by the red dotted line below.
Once you have understitched, flip the blouse wrong sides out again and this time match up the arm curves of each side. This gets a bit tricky since you have the neck stitched, but you can do it! Once you have the arm curves pinned together, take over to the machine and stitch as shown in the photo below.
Now, clip the curves on your arm curves making sure not to clip through the seam.
Bring your blouse over to the ironing board, flip it right sides out and press along the arm curves and also the collar. I do not like to press my collar down onto the blouse personally, I like to flip the collar up and press the under side as shown below. In my opinion you worked too hard for that collar roll to press it down!!
Okay. Head back over to a flat surface where we will now begin work on the back. You are going to finish your back center seams on the blouse and the lining. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT sew the lining pieces to the bodice. It doesn't work that way. So, thankfully I took 3,219 pictures for you. :)
The easiest way to explain it is that for finishing, I am going to serge the back center starting at the bottom of my blouse, heading up along the blouse back, over the neckline seam and then down the lining. Instead of finishing these two together, you are finishing them as one large piece. Does that make sense?
Here I am at my serger. I have already gone up the back part of the blouse and am about to serge over the neckline seam and down the lining.
I will be honest, this makes more sense when you are sewing than with me telling you. Promise. Once you have finished one side, it will look like this.
Here is a close-up of the blouse and lining separate with the neckline seam finished as well.
Once you have done one side, head over and do the same for the other back center of the blouse and lining.
Okay, now we are going to close up the backs, leaving a slit opening at the top just as we did in the pattern. Lay your blouse on a flat surface matching the back centers (the ones you just finished) for the blouse only. We are not including the lining right now, so make sure to flip that up to the side.
With the blouse backs facing right sides together, you want to measure down from the neckline seam according to the chart on page 21 of the pattern. I am doing a size 4, so I am going to measure down 5" from the neckline seam. Using a sewing marker or a pin, make a mark according to the measurements. Once you have your mark, you are going to sew the back blouse pieces together from that mark down to the bottom of your blouse as shown by the gray dotted line below. I like to reinforce the stitch where it begins at the mark. Since this will be the main area that may get abuse going over your little one's head, you want it strong. My kids have big heads, we need all the reinforcements we can get!
Now, do the same exact thing with the back lining pieces as shown below.
Head over to the ironing board and press those seams out.
As you get to the part of the back seam that wasn't sewn (above your mark) continue to press that fabric just as you did with the seam as shown below. Now sometimes this is tricky, and we are about to revisit this area, so just do the best you can.
Now, flip your blouse right sides out and make sure to match up the center back seams of the blouse as shown below. You may want to have some pins handy as I like to pin along the center back seam to make sure the lining and blouse stay put and lined up while I am pressing the opening at the top.
As I said, it sometimes gets tricky trying to press around the neckline seam and you may wind up with this when you flip it all right sides out. This is totally fine because now we are going to spend more time on this part in just a second anyways.
This slit is going to be the part that remains open and will house our button and elastic loop for closure. So, you want it to look pretty. What I usually do is use the tip of my finger to help the fabric of the neckline seam tuck into the slit as shown below.
Once you have the fabric all tucked in nice, press the snot out of this area. Seriously, you want it to look so nice and crisp.
Now, take your blouse over to a flat surface and place the back facing up. Do you see what I see?
Gargamels. Ugh. This should not be what you see, but I sure see it here. Remember that paranoid lady from day 1 that went crazy marking the fronts of her collars so she didn't put them on backwards? Yeah, I remember her too. I can actually hear her tisk-tisking me right now. And I obviously didn't pay enough attention as I sewed one half on my collar on upside down and backwards. Ugh. But guess what ladies, I am here to show you that you can make lemonade in the sewing room. And that lemonade will be so sweet especially if you are not in the mood to rip seams. :) So, for my case, I will just have my button showing for the closure. You, however will not have this problem and your button placement will be under the collar. So, bear with me as I go squeeze my lemons.
Okay, now for our elastic loop as we do on page 22 of the pattern. I am a hoarder of the black skinny elastic that kids shoes and sandals at Target come attached together with. Some people toss this, I hoard it because it comes in nice and handy at times like this!
Now, it doesn't matter if you put your elastic loop on the right or left side of your silt opening. I usually put my elastic on the left side for no other reason than that is just what I do, but today as I am making lemonade I am going for the right. You want to place your elastic loop between the blouse and lining in the slit you just so meticulously pressed. I will not go into detailed directions on the loop as it is already explained in the pattern.
Once you have your loop placed, you want to take the blouse to the machine and top-stitch the slit opening as shown below with the black dotted lines.
Personally, I like to run another line of stitches beside the top-stitch at the top to secure the elastic one more time (see the second line of stitching below). This will be hidden by your collar anyways, and it is always good to know that elastic isn't going anywhere.
Okay, one last task for the back and then it is on to the sides. With your blouse back on a flat surface, feel around to determine where your lining is. I have shown the outline of the lining below in the yellow dashed line. I like to secure the bottom of the lining to the dress just as an extra measure to keep it in place. I don't know about you but it is a huge pet peeve of mine when I got to put a dress or shirt on and my head goes between the lining and the dress/shirt. It seems silly, but this step will take 2 seconds to get rid of that pet peeve. :)
Pin the lining to the blouse and go and run a short line of stitching along the back seam line of the blouse (this is called stitching in the ditch) to tack the lining and blouse together. Take your time for this stitch so that it isn't noticeable. I find printed fabrics are more forgiving, but you can also run a hand-tack stitch for this too.
Alrighty then. We are so close to being done! It is now time to focus on the side seams. This that infamous step I talked about in day 2, that is so much easier to do than for me to photograph and explain. Lay your blouse on a flat surface, lining up the sides with right sides together. In a nutshell, what you are going to do is open the sides up so that the lining pieces are right sides together and the blouse pieces are right sides together. The arrows below show how the lining piece will be lifted up and the bottom lining piece will then be lifted up the meet the other. Clear as mud, I'm sure.
Once it is all opened up, you should have something that looks like this. Your blouse pieces will be right sides together along the side as will your lining pieces, with the armhole seam between the two. Once you have this, pin the pieces together and take over to your sewing machine and stitch all the way along the blouse, through the armhole seam and down the lining. Finish that seam and then repeat with the other side of the blouse and lining.
Once done, take over to the ironing board and press out the sides that you just joined. You should have a beautiful, finished arm seam. Notice the tub of Legos on the sewing room floor. Why my children prefer to play Legos on my big, chunky jute rug (the pieces get lost all the time) is beyond me! Another reason not to enter the sewing room without shoes on!
Okay - remember how we tacked down the lining in the back? Well, we are going to do the same thing for the sides. The yellow dotted line represents where the lining is under the blouse. Run a stitch along your side seam (the white line) to secure the lining to the blouse. This way we have it tacked in 3 places to hopefully avoid a head getting stuck in the middle. :)
You ladies are rocking. Head over to the pattern at the bottom of page 25 and follow the remaining instructions for the hem and back button placement and guess what!!??
YOU ARE DONE!!
This has been a busy week. I put a lot of information out there for you (and as I said...almost an entirely different pattern) with a lot of work and steps but I cannot wait to see what you do. I hope if nothing else you learned something this week. Maybe you stepped out of your comfort zone just a smidgen? How did that feel??
I will be starting an album in the brownie-goose lovers group on facebook later today for you to put pictures of your creations in for a chance to win some prizes! You have until 3/29 to enter your photos, and if you make more than one, PLEASE enter all of them! The more you enter, the better your chance at winning! I will pick 2 winners on 3/30 and each winner will receive 2 BG patterns of choice and a $25 gift card to Etsy. :)
Thank you, thank you, thank you for being such awesome customers and friends. I have been an absolute slave to BG for the last 3 weeks with this sew along and a new pattern release so I am going to take a little bit of time for R&R and to fix my house that exploded over the last few weeks and most importantly...to enjoy some sunshine with these 2 hooligans.
Remember ladies, just keep sewing!!
xoxo - Amy