As promised, and per popular demand, a tutorial on my Deco Echo blouse!
First, a caveat. This blouse best suits a figure with a small bust and less than 10″ bust/waist difference. If you have larger bust, you could try adding length and side-bust darts. It would also help to taper the side panels in at the bottom, and to add a opening (either buttons up the CB, or a side fastening with snaps or hooks).
Fabric: I used the panels of silk crepe from the susomawashi (the lower lining) of a kimono for my blouse. I recommend lightweight silk or cotton fabrics. Silk crepes are particularly nice because of their drape.
The blouse is made from 5 rectangles – two large ones, two narrow ones, and one really long and narrow one for the waist tie.
To make a blouse to fit a 34″ bust you will need:
- 2x 21″ x 13.5″ (l x w) rectangles – these will be your front and back panels.
- 2x 10.75″ x 6.5″ (l x w) rectangles – these will be your side panels
- 1x 54″ x 4.75″ (l x w) – this is your waistband
To make a blouse to fit a 36″ bust you will need:
- 2x 21″ x 14″ (l x w) rectangles – these will be your front and back panels.
- 2x 10.75″ x 7″ (l x w) rectangles – these will be your side panels
- 1x 56″ x 4.75″ (l x w) – this is your waistband
To make a blouse to fit a 38″ bust you will need:
- 2x 21″ x 14.5″ (l x w) rectangles – these will be your front and back panels.
- 2x 10.75″ x 7.5″ (l x w) rectangles – these will be your side panels.
- 1x 58″ x 4.75″ (l x w) – this is your waist tie.
- Step 1: Finishing: Finish all four edges of all the panels with narrow hem stitching. It’s important that all the edges are finished nicely, because the finished seams of the panels also form the armhole & collar edges.
- Step 2: Side seams:Sew the narrow side panels to the front & back panels using 1/2″ seam allowances, right sides together, carefully lining up the bottom edges.
- Step 3: Fitting the sides and shoulders, and checking the length:Hand-baste the shoulders of the blouse together 2 1/2″ from the loose collar ends. Make sure you do it really loosely – so its easy to unpick if it needs adjusting. Pull the blouse on over your head. Check the fit. Is it too loose? Take in the side seams. Too tight? Let them out. Check the fit of the shoulders. If the side panels are too low on you, sew the shoulder tacks lower. If the side panels are too high, let the neckline out. Now, check the length. The bottom as it is should sit right at, or just the tiniest bit below your natural waist. Remember that you have about 4 1/4″ of waistband to add.
- Step 4: The shoulders: Hand-sew the shoulders together properly – . Use matching thread, because it will show on the outside (I used white so you could see what I did). Sew in from the front of the blouse, out the back, and in through the front again, enclosing the edge in your thread.
- CFStep 5: The waist tie: Carefully mark the CB & CF points of the bottom of the blouse, and the mid point of the waist tie. Pin the waist tie to the blouse body, matching the CB of the blouse & the mid point of the waist tie. Leave a 3″ gap unpinned at the CF of the blouse. Sew the waist tie to the blouse using a tiny less than 1/4″ seam allowance, or an edge to edge machine faggoting stitch (this is what I did, but it’s a bit trickier), leaving your 3″ gap at the CF. An easy way to do a cheater machine-faggoted join is the lay the two edges right next to each other, and use the stitch that looks like a zig-zag with running stitches.
- Step 6: The divided back collar: Carefully mark the CB of the blouse, and cut a line 4″ down from the top of the collar along the centre back line. Finish the edges of the cut with a zig zag stitch with a moderate length, and the narrowest width (basically, a buttonhole zig-zag). Reinforce the bottom of the point. I know it sounds like cheating, but it actually looks quite good!
And that’s it! You are done!
I had fun making my ‘Deco Echo’ blouse – it was so fast and easy. And I had fun wearing it. I hope you have the same experience!
There are all sorts of variants that you could do to this blouse – add a divided collar in front as well as back, or instead of back. Add a button opening up the back. Play – have fun!