18 May 2011
Are you ready to finish up your blouse? I love how polished these blouses are. I hope you're having fun. There are so many different ways you can dress them up or embellish your top. If you're just tuning in, pop over HERE for part one.
So, let's jump in.
Step six. Sew the basic blouse together, using half inch seam allowance. Match the sleeve with the curve of the blouse front, and sew together.
Repeat for the back of the blouse. Finish the seams. Matching the sleeve sides and blouse front and back, sew together.
To finish the seams, you can sew a zigzag stitch, or use your pinking shears.
Step seven. Sew together your neckband. Sew the neckband front to neckband backs.
Sew a 1/4" seam along the neckband lining bottom edge, and use that line as a guide to iron.
Zigzag this fold in place, and set the lining aside for a moment.
Mark the center of the sleeves and front of blouse with your washable pen. This will help you in smoothing out the gathers.
Sew a series of gathering stitches 1/4" from the edge. (Set your machine for the longest stitch, with high tension.) Sew from one back side to the center of the sleeve. Leave long strings, and sew again from the sleeve to the center of the front bodice. Repeat to shoulder, and then back to the other back piece. This allows you maximum control over where to pull your strings and get the gathering spaced evenly.
Take the interfaced neckband, and pin the wider, bottom part of the band to the blouse. Match the shoulder seams to your center sleeve marks, and match the center of your blouse to the center of the neckband. Pull the strings if needed to make the gathers tight enough to match the band. The beauty of gathering in sections, is you can work one part at a time with less chance to break a gathering stitch.
Be sure to leave about 1/4" of the neckband beyond the back bodice slit as shown.
Pin everything into place.
Sew into place with a 1/4" seam. Be sure to check your seams. I missed a few gathers, and had to go back, unpick and resew a few sections. This is a tricky part, but worth getting correct.
To finish the neckband, grab the lining, and pin to the interfaced neckband. Match the shoulder seams and centers. Sew together, along neckline and down the back sides of the neckband. Here is the big trick...sew this seam at 3/8" along the neckline, and 1/4" along the sides.
It should look like this when you're done:
Trim the neckline and clip the corners.
I found that the lining was creeping out a bit, so I decided to understitch it. To do so, you sew through the lining and seam as shown:
Finally, press the lining and neckband, pin the neck band from the outside of the blouse, and sew into place.
This is very similar in technique to the Portfolio Dress neckband. You can see the sew-along HERE for more pics.
A couple thoughts before we move onto the sleeves. On Big Sister's blouse, I added piping to the neckband. This complicated a few things, and I goofed up on the measurements a bit. So, instead of having a little extra lining to cover the seam, it was short. I ended up hand sewing the lining down,
and then topstitching along the inside of the piping.
Got the job done, but took a bit more time. I am still learning!
Step eight. Gather sleeves and add armbands. Take each armband and sew the short ends right sides together.
Now, sew a simple gathering stitch around the edge of each sleeve. Once that's done, take an armband, tuck it inside the sleeve so that the RIGHT side of the band is facing the wrong side of the sleeve. Be sure to match the seams.
Sew together at 1/4", and repeat for second sleeve.
To complete the sleeve with band, you'll fold up the unfinished edge 1/4". Press well.
Pin the band over your seam so that it's covered. Topstitch into place.
Repeat with other sleeve.
Step nine. Hem your blouse. You can do a simple rolled hem, or get fancy with a contrast band or even a tie (click HERE for great instructions from Jessica at Me Sew Crazy.) For a simple rolled hem, you press the hem up 1/4", and then again 1/2", and sew it closed.
I added a decorative stitch along Baby's blouse.
Step ten. Sew on your buttons. Pin the blouse closed. Using your fabric pen, mark the placement of the buttons.
Using Rae's fabulous tip, use some embroidery floss to sew on your buttons.
Either shank buttons or regular buttons work just fine.
We're done! Aren't these the cutest? It takes a bit more work, but they look so fancy when they're done. You could easily extend the length and make a darling dress.
I hope you enjoy this tutorial. I would be tickled to see what you make with it!
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