Friday, January 29, 2016

Silk blouse with hidden buttonholes, Simplicity 2339

This one could be subtitled - Silk blouse: The practice version. Not really a muslin, with this very lovely fabric, but more of a practice version for a solid color silk charmeuse in a rich teal green that I really want to get just right. So I have completed a luscious silk blouse that very much says spring. While there are a few daffodils just about to bloom - spring is not yet here so it will go into the wardrobe until the season is right for a white and coral print. Also the question of what to wear it with. I showed it to my friend Alice and she immediately said "white jeans!"  Which is perfectly fine if you are 5'8" but I don't quite know about that look on me. More on white jeans later in the post.

Back to the shirt. I made almost the same version of this a while ago - scrolling though my old posts it was 2011. That long! In silk and with hidden buttonholes. However I was never 100% happy with how that turned out. Even though I wear it a lot and it goes so well with other items in my repertoire. Since then I have made this pattern 6 times (one of those is hot off the sewing machine last night). But for the upcoming teal silk I wanted to do a little fit adjustment, thus a slight rework of the pattern and a test using this busy silk print.

coral silk blouse on form 

As for fit adjustments, in previous versions I wasn't happy with where the bust dart landed. I think one version was too low and another too high. For this version I adjusted it a bit - lower by 1/2 inch I think and it came out perfectly. In other versions I have converted the bust dart to shoulder gathers, and in a knit version I converted the bust dart to easing it into the side seam which works quite well in a knit.  I will include links below to all the various versions.

This picture was taken around 5pm on a very dark and rainy day, so just a quick dash outside. But rainy does not equal gloomy - not around here. Things are green and growing. We are SO hoping that the drought will be a thing of the past, but a few rainy months will not fix our water problems by a long stretch. (Don't get me started on water management in my state - such a big population, huge agriculture industry and total disregard for this serious issue on so many fronts, such as changing our mindset on usage for landscaping or lack of infrastructure to capture the rainfall. Anyway - all rainstorms are welcome now.

silk blouse coral1 

Fit, not bad, right?  Although I think it is too long and I am pondering shortening by just an inch or so, however I will wait until I figure out what to wear it with.

A few construction details. I have a burgundy color silk charmeuse blouse that I bought at Ann Taylor about 10? years ago which I really love and that is where I saw this type of hidden buttonhole placket. As it was hanging in my sewing room I noticed that it had a subtle angle above the upper button, such that the neckband actually didn't meet but finished about an inch apart. Does that make sense? 

coral silk blouse collar view 

See how the center fronts overlap and then don't quite at the top of the center front? That is the subtle angle. It also required taking length out of the collar stand and collar. It's a nice effect for a blouse that you are never going to button at the neck but I am not sure I would bother again.
After I make the teal green silk blouse I will do a post on how to create the hidden buttonhole placket, as I was sewing and taking these photos I realized it is a bit hard to see with this busy print.

coral silk blouse making button band

Here's a look at the buttonhole placket, it is all finished and just ready to be flipped over and then stitched down. The buttonholes are done, and then they end up behind the actual front of the blouse, and are connected to the front facing. The whole thing is basically a 4-layer sandwich and you just have to keep track of where each layer is, and then also place it on the blouse front in the right spot so the buttonholes close across the bust etc. Also I used my favorite edge technique, which used to get so much traffic to my blog (now eclipsed by my "how I hem sleeves" post which is my most pinned post) What is a popular post is something I find interesting/entertaining and if I knew those posts would be read so much I would have done a better job with nicer photos! oh well.

A better look at that clean edged facing. Basically you stitch it together, right side of fabric to right side of interfacing, then trim the seam and clip curves as need, then flip and press, taking care to get a crisp edge.

coral silk blouse facing edge 

For a change I did french seams on the side seams as well as the sleeves, but used the serger on the armhole. I am not at all a purist when it comes to seam finishing - in fact rather lazy about it. One of these days in a Random Threads post I will have to ramble on with  my thoughts about the inside of garments.

And viola, hidden buttonhole placket!

coral silk blouse with buttonholes

coral silk blouse back on form

coral silk blouse cuff

I am also on a roll with finding buttons in my button box. People have given me so many buttons in the last few years. Anyone who cleans out their relative's home seems to want to present me with one of those old cookie tins filled with buttons or other sewing room paraphernalia so it seems silly to go out and buy new buttons. Plus the pleasure of finding a matching set is well, unmatched!
That's the latest on my sort of test version. And I bought this fabric a couple of months ago at the local ASG stash sale for around $6. Score! Plus I have about 1.3 yards left which is just enough to make a sleeveless top. Which I have a feeling I would actually wear more often. Similar to this top which was also derived from this same Simplicity pattern. The pattern that just keeps on giving.

Shirts made from this same Simplicity pattern. And I haven't even mentioned the placket on most of the other versions, I have never used the original sewn on buttonhole placket, I should show you how I make the all in one placket that looks like the sewn-on.
blue silk charmeuse mentioned above
black dot print cotton lawn version
navy blue plaid flannel version
green polka dot knit version
cotton poplin paisley version, bust darts converted to shoulder gathers
today's coral and white silk version
and a cotton plaid version just finished and soon to be posted.
Ok that's 7.  Talk about value - for a Simplicity Amazing Fit pattern I  bought for $ 0.99.
Even at the regular price it would now be a bargain.

Speaking of bargains - Joanns (the slightly evil empire - although I shouldn't complain, their fabric is mostly crap but they do carry good linings, sell patterns for a pittance and are open until 9 pm. So, Ok not complaining any more)
anyway - Burda envelope patterns are starting to show up in their sale ads for $ 2.49 which is fantastic. So I did buy a few this week.

the one on the left tickled my color block obsession, and I am trying to find some interesting yet casual fabrics so I could wear it jeans, maybe some kind of denim and knit combo - maybe including the leather waist element.  The one on the right, I have had a hankering (is that a funny American word to some readers - meaning a craving, desire, itch, yen for something) anyway a thought to make a shawl collar blazer. Sort of easier than a standard lapel. But sometimes I think it looks a bit plain or frumpy.  Bought the pattern anway.

And the blouse on the left, looks quite nice for a floaty summer top. The Simplicity on the right, as soon as I saw that pattern envelope I wanted that exact denim dress. I think we will see a lot of those once the winter retreats.


So that's the latest. For this weekend's sewing I might do some pattern experimentation - play around with some that have been in my stack of interesting possibilities.
And otherwise enjoy the rain on the roof!

Happy weekend sewing, Beth

oh ya, what about the white jeans? they look great in the summer but I always feel like they get dirty the minute I put them on, I am sure to spill some coffee or even something like an ink pen or a lipstick becomes a hazard in my hands. but I might give them a try.

And a garden photo ! another Yay! Some bulbs are starting to appear and I think with these showers it will be a good show this year. This is such an unusual camelia, the flowers are huge, like dinnerplate dahlias. With ruffley edges, bright yellow stamens and a lot of sticky nectar. Lots of bees and a few hummingbirds. Another good sight:)



  1. Love that fabric, its so fresh, really nice blouse. So envious of the pattern bargains people get, maybe just as well because I wouldn't have space to store them all

  2. Love that fabric, its so fresh, really nice blouse. So envious of the pattern bargains people get, maybe just as well because I wouldn't have space to store them all

  3. Thanks for your post on the clean edge finish! It is brilliant! I think I am going to head out to buy the Burda blouse pattern this morning. It is just my style. I enjoy your blog post every week. Whenever I see your post in my inbox, I smile and jump on it first.
    Thank you for your blog...I don't comment much but I am reading and enjoying it!

  4. Beth, thanks for your very informative post. I must try that concealed placket. I am totally into button down shirts at the moment. Regarding white jeans, I had all the same qualms before I made a pair. And suddenly I realized that I had been needing white jeans for a long time--they became a wardrobe workhorse. I had a similar experience while deciding to sew a white shirt dress. Added plus: both garments successfully kept me away from chocolate ice cream cones!

  5. Love the fabric and the shirt, it looks terrific although I agree it is perhaps a tad too long on you. By the way in the UK we do use the word hankering and it has the same meaning. Also I thought you might be interested to hear that we usually call this style fly front and not hidden placket. Keep up the blogging I read them all, enjoy them and learn lots, thank you.

  6. Certainly brightens up a dull day - lovely blouse.

  7. I keep a "fabric washer pen" in my purse all the time. Cleans up those white jeans in a flash! (And any other unfortunate garment; I can be a clutz).

  8. This makes me anxious for spring too. Very pretty! Also I stumbled upon that Burda sale at JoAnn's and got about 5 patterns. You can't look online, though, with Simplicity's awful new website, and looking at a pattern book with two small children in toe is not fun. But I'm glad they are being put on sale these days.

  9. You certainly have made great use of the shirt pattern. This is a lovely version. I had fun looking back at the links too.

  10. Love this blouse, and the camellia is beautiful! I think white jeans would look fabulous, but I share your fear of dirt when it comes to white bottoms!

  11. Lovely shirt. It would look great with white jeans, but I wouldn't be brave enough. Here in Cumbria in the uk our worries are flooding!

  12. This blouse is really pretty and I can't wait to see your teal version! (That's one of my favorite colors!) personally, I think the white jeans would look great with the top! I love wearing white jeans, it's just something about them that says "summer"! My problem with white jeans is that I would love to wear them all year long. The new rules say you can, however, I'm old-school and still think it looks funny to see them in the winter!

  13. You are so patient to be able to sew up a pretty new blouse and wait for spring! Can't wait to see the teal green version, either!