Blouse

To do this you need:

  • 1.2 meters of a knitted material 1.5m wide; first prepare a form and then check if, with your dimensions, you do not need a different amount of material; we recommend a light cotton knit
  • a tape-measure, a ruler, a pencil and a paper for forms
  • threads, tailor scissors, pins and tailor’s chalk
  • your T-shirt, choose the fitted one but not too tight-fitting and at least your mid-bottom-length; it will be used as a basis for a form, so its size should be similar to your body dimensions
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The work starts with preparing a form for half of a blouse; a front and a back are the same, they differ only in a shape of a neckline and the length and shape of the bottom. Then, within a step no. 4, the form is divided into separate pieces of a front, a back and a sleeve.
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1. Prepare a form for half of a T-shirt; press your T-shirt with an iron and fold it in half lengthwise; spread it down on a paper so that the material stays not tightened or not gathered; outline your T-shirt; a shape of an armhole and a front part of a neckline should be copied by densely spiking seams with pins so that there are holes in the paper that determine the shape (if you put a thick material under the paper, pins will be spiked deeper and the holes will be more visible); the width of a bottom of a T-shirt should be equal to ¼ of your hip size – if it is not, widen a bottom.

2. Convert a form for a blouse; in case of this tutorial, we base on the size of 36/38, but each of the dimensions can be modified to your expectations and needs:
-determine the width of a half of a neckline (A=13cm)
-deepen a back of a neckline so that an arc ends up at a right angle to a center line of a blouse (B=about 1-2cm); a front neckline should be lowered at your own discretion; you can also give it a desired shape (C=4cm); draw a new shape of a wider and deeper neckline extend an angle of an arm to the length at which you want to make a cut on a sleeve (D=16cm)
-lengthen this line to the desired length of a sleeve (F=30cm)
-make a cut on a sleeve, perpendicular to the angle of a shoulder, a width should equal a sleeve in a biceps, that is half of a circumference of your biceps increased by 4-10cm (E=16cm)
-at the end of the length of a sleeve, determine at a right angle, the width of a sleeve in its bottom part (G=11cm)
-determine the length of a blouse measured from the highest point of a shoulder (the heights point of a neckline in the form of a t-shirt, H=61cm); determine the depth at which you enter the oval shape of a front bottom of a blouse (K=5cm); set a line corresponding to the length of a back of a blouse (L=10cm)
-determine the width of a chest – a quarter of a circumference of a chest increased by 2-4cm (I=25cm); set the same width at a bottom, unless it is less than a quarter of the hip size, then widen a bottom of a blouse
-draw a bottom part of a sleeve and side line of the body part (J = a smooth and straight line with a gentle curve by an armhole).

3. Cut a sleeve; draw oval shapes of a bottom in a front (the one above) and at a back (the one below); draw a pocket; the one in our tutorial is basing on square – 11cm high and 11cm wide; set a width of a rolling part in a pocket (the darkest element).

4. Separate forms: a back (a shallower neckline and a deeper arc at a bottom) and a front (a deeper neckline and a shallower arc at a bottom); make a mirror image of a sleeve – now its form is complete; copy separately a pocket and draw an allowance for a rolling part as a mirror image; measure a circumference of a neckline in a back and in a front; prepare a strips form for trimming a neckline – strips should be 2cm wide and their length is indicated in a picture; forms of a front and a back are halves – when you transfer a form to a material, remember to copy the other halves; an oval shape of a bottom requires high precision during sewing; if you are not skillful at sewing, you should choose a simple shape of a bottom with a front and a back of the same length; cut all elements including 1cm seam allowance all around, so that a knit stretches across a width of forms.

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You must start work by trimming a neckline of a front and a back; press a strip with an iron in half lengthwise; pin a strip around a neckline so that unhemmed edges of a strip are in contact with an edge of a neckline; a strip is a little shorter than an arc of a neckline – you must pin it up evenly distributing a difference in a size; divide a strip into 4 equal parts – doing it this way, you will determine 5 points; do the same on a neckline; pin strip points with points on a neckline.
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Sew a strip using an overlock machine; when sewing, pay attention so that a presser foot is always on a strip – this way it is easier to control a width of a strip; after completing sewing, press a strip with an iron up – owing to the elasticity of a knitted material and to the fact that a strip is smaller in size than a neckline, it will fall into an arc.
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If, despite pressing a strip with an iron, it still unrolls, a stitching on a regular machine must be done; a neckline is wide enough to use a plain stitch (there is no need for an elastic stitch as you will not stretch it when putting on through your head); do a stitching on a right side, near a seam, sewing up a seam allowance of a strip on the left side; in the same way trim a neckline at a back.
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Now trim bottom parts in a front and in a back; If you have decided on a simple form of a bottom part of a blouse and on equal length of a front and a back, you can trim it at a very final stage which will give you a possibility to align the edges that may be shifted during sewing; first overcast the edges using an overlock machine, then press it with an iron only by 5-8mm (a little more than the width of an overlock seam), when sewing on arcs, a wider turning-up will cause creases. Sew a turning-up as far as possible from a folded edge to prevent it from rolling up; press it with an iron.
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Put a front part of the blouse on a back part so that their right sides are in contact; using an overlock machine, sew shoulders – start a seam by a neckline toward a sleeve, the edges of necklines must be evenly arranged; when you complete sewing, press an allowance with an iron to a back, and turn the end of an overlock stitch to the inside; using a regular machine, do stitching across a binding in order to secure threads and allowance on the left side.
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Unfold a front and a back sewn at shoulders; using an overlock machine sew up sleeves; trim the ends of sleeves the same way as the ends of a bottom.
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After sewing up sleeves, fold the blouse again so that its front and back are in contact (overlap one another); fasten a part of a sleeve and sides with one seam; when pinning a material, pay attention so that edges of sleeves are arranged flush with each other; stitches under an arm hole should also touch each other; and at a bottom, the edge of a front and a back should meet exactly in the place where you do the seam; when doing overlock stitching on a curve of an arm hole, be careful not to cut a material – gently straighten an arc in front of a knife, but do not pull a material.
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Prepare a pocket; Fold upper hem and press it with an iron; sew it close to an edge using a regular machine; then press side and bottom edges by 1cm.
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Pin a pocket to a blouse; optimally pocket is about 5cm from the center of a blouse and about 18cm from the highest point of the arm (just by a neckline); using a regular machine, sew it up – a free arm will allow you to easily operate a blouse during sewing; sew close to the edge and do all curves with a needle stuck in a material, which means stop a machine with a needle stuck in a corner of a pocket, raise a presser foot, turn fabric so that a presser foot is set parallel to another edge, lower a presser foot and continue sewing
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The blouse is ready!
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Janek Leśniak – fashion designer who, together with JUKI, conducts dressmaking courses in Warsaw. He infects others with a passion for making your own clothes on his blog: janlesniak.wordpress.com, where he reveals the arcana of his trade. Combining craftsmanship and design, he builds an awareness of the quality and the fashion industry among people non-related with the business. He has aquired fifteen years’ experience working with such brands as Reserved, House and Big Star. He has independently created original collections and conducted lectures on fashion business at the Cracow School of Art and Fashion Design. He has rejected massive fashion in favour of passion and work under his own name. His official website is: janlesniak.pl