Saturday, 30 March 2013

Here's one I prepared earlier: Graphic kimono sleeve blouse

Before I started my blog, I just thought of my clothes as e.g. "plum coloured cardigan", "pink blouse", "navy and white blouse I made". Now, if I am writing about them, I feel that they need names. Names with Capitalisation."Chevron Charlotte", "Red Denim Kelly". And if I can fit some alliteration in there, so much the better! And so, may I introduce... (drum roll)... the "Graphic Kimono Sleeve Blouse"! (no alliteration, sorry folks).

I made this blouse last year at some point. Probably early summer. It is one of the first times where I deviated from simply following the instructions, and therefore one of the first things I took in a different direction.

The pattern is this:
New Look 6351
It's a basic shell top pattern with sleeve and neckline variations and a zip at the back neck. I used version A as my starting point - the sleeveless boat neck version -  and extended the shoulder line to create a "grown-on" or kimono sleeve.

In real life, both sleeves are the same length!
I omitted the zip and instead left the opening, err... open, and added a pearl type button at the top with a thread loop. As you can see, it kind of "bags" open at the back. I'm not sure if this is the weight of the button since the fabric is so lightweight, or something else entirely.

Poor, poor, pattern matching!
The blouse is made from habotai silk and is actually navy and silvery white, although the navy is so dark, I can get away with wearing this with black jeans.

I can't remember if I even tried pattern matching. If I did, that wasn't a very good job, was it? I also either cut it not quite on grain, or the print wasn't straight because you can see the print is not level at the hem.

This was very easy to put together. It's just front and back pieces and front and back neck facings, with a couple of bust darts. I did a lot of hand sewing on this, as I didn't want visible stitching so the hem, sleeve hems and the folded back bits at the back opening are all hand stitched using a slip stitch. The thread loop was a bit of a nightmare to do and it doesn't sit right and can twist, so sometimes I can't undo the button myself and need help to get the top off! Next time I would do a fabric loop.

This has become my "go to" blouse for a casual-ish night out. I can wear it as I have done here with low heel boots/ballet pumps or dress it up with more jewellery and heels. I have only ever worn it with jeans though. Not sure why, it would be nice with a pencil skirt!

And so to the round up:

What I liked:
Simple, useful shape, open to dozens of interpretations. Easy to put together.
Fit the top into less than a metre of fabric.

What I didn't like:
Nothing as far as I can remember.

Any alterations to fit?
Nope, but I think the darts might be slightly too low, and I suspect the top is meant to be slightly more fitted than this has ended up.

Did I change anything?
Yes, as detailed above. Changed sleeve and back opening.

Did I try anything new?
Thread loop for button. Altering pattern.

What would I do differently next time?
Fabric loop. 
Better pattern matching. 
Understitch facing - the instructions don't tell you to do this, and although the facing stays in place, I've since learnt it's better to understitch here.
Possibly play around with dart placement.

Will I make it again?
 I already have. Again, I used the basic pattern to draft a button back, 3/4 sleeve version with a lace collar, but that's a story for another day.
And I would like to make the sleeveless version for summer - may have to play around with fit for this one though.



  1. That looks lovely - I bet it feels so sophisticated too!

    1. Thanks, Nessa! I rarely think of myself as sophisticated, however! :)

  2. It's great to have such a versatile top and I agree that it would go perfectly with a pencil skirt. I'm hopeless in telling the difference between dark navy and black! I really like your bracelet too. It echoes the pattern in your top.

    1. Thank you! I wore that bracelet when I got married and it just seems to go with everything!

  3. Love your top, the fabric is gorgeous!


  4. I love it! The print is gorgeous, I'd buy it in a shop in a heartbeat. I'm excited about the lace collar, back button up version - it sounds gorgeous :)

    1. Thanks. Will try to get some pics and post about that one soon. It's a winner too!

  5. That's a beautiful top H. I love the Japanese kimono sleeves-a big theme this ss13! Well done on the lovely photo too! Jx

  6. Well since I made this last year, I'm well ahead of the game! :)

  7. This is gorgeous! And I like your version better than original :) I love what you said about naming your self-made clothes - so true!


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