View all the latest fabrics to arrive at Minerva Crafts... Click here »

Need help? Contact us on 01254 708068 from 9am til 5pm Monday to Friday

A "Bye Bye Birdie" Blouse by Mel

Up until Autumn this year, my Handmade wardrobe mainly consisted of dresses, I do really enjoy making and wearing a dress, and they seem to get the most love on Social media, but sometimes you need more in your wardrobe than dresses, don’t you?

So, I’ve been on a bit of a blouse making mission just lately, you can’t go wrong with a blouse at this time of year. I love how versatile they are as I’m able to dress them up with skinny jeans and heels, or dress them down with flats, even trainers, and of course you can layer them under jumpers and super cute pinafore dresses (my winter favourite).

For my latest blouse I decided to try the Named Clothing Stella Sewing Pattern, I like that it is very different to the other blouses that I have recently made as it is a raglan sleeve design, and it has the most adorable squared collar!

For the fabric, I knew that I wanted something mustard, I just can’t get enough of mustard at the moment (it’s mustard, as the saying goes) so I was super pleased when I found this lovely “Bye Bye Birdie” mustard Cotton Lawn Fabric with geometric birds at Minerva Crafts! 

I was a little bit anxious as I’ve only ever worked with Liberty of London Tana Lawn, but the quality of the lawn from Minerva is lovely, it’s light weight, but crisp, drapes beautifully and was an absolute pleasure to sew, yay to that. I think that this fabric worked really well with this pattern, what do you think?

A Couple of "How To's"

I thought that I would share a couple of “how to” techniques in this blog post as sometimes you can think that something is much more complicated than it actually is, and you may be holding yourself back (if my experience is anything to go by) so, let’s start with French seams.

How to Sew a French Seam

For many years I didn’t dare to sew a French Seam, I thought that it was just for the professionals, the couture of seams! But how wrong was I. French seams are sooo easy! Let me show you how to do one.

To start with you place the fabric wrong side to wrong side (yes I know that as a sewer you have trained your brain to sew right side to right side, and it feels totally weird when you do it, but trust me, it works).

Now sew the seam at 2/8” seam allowance.

Next fold the fabric right side to right side so that the raw edge of the little seam that you have just sewn is enclosed on the inside, and press with the iron, making sure that the seam is flat.

Now sew the seam again but this time at 3/8”, this will seal the little raw edge inside the seam allowance.

Then press the seam to one side as you would normally.

And that is it, you have sewn a French Seam! They look so professional and work really well with cotton lawn.

How to Sew a Collar and Collar Stand

Something else that I put off for a long time was making a collar that attaches to a Collar Stand, my collar constructions had only stretched to adding Peter Pan collars to dresses. I thought that it was complicated and that my skill level was not advanced enough, but that is not the case, they are pretty straight forward, let me show you how.

To start, sew the 2 collar pieces together right side to right side along the outer edge and sides (where the pins are showing on the picture below.

Then clip the corners and curved edge.

Turn the collar right side out and press, then top stitch around the sewn edges of the collar (not the un-sewn edge).

Now let’s construct the Collar Stand, first of all fold the inner edge of the interfaced Collar Stand to the wrong side by 1cm and press.

Then place the 2 collar stands right side to right side, but sandwich the collar in between with the raw edges together as shown below.

Sew the outer edge and sides of the Collar Stand, but making sure that you stop the stitch line 1cm from the edge, see where my finger is pointing on the image above.

Once you have stitched, turn it right side out and press, ensuring that the interfaced edge that you pressed earlier remains folded to the wrong side, it should look like the image below.

Next you pin the collar stand to the neckline of the blouse, right side to right side (note that it is the unfolded side of the collar stand that you attach as shown in the image below.

Then sew at 5/8” seam allowance.

Next step is to fold the interfaced side of the collar stand so that it covers the raw edge of the seam allowance that you have just sewn, it should sit just below the stitch line.

Then pin the collar stand in place ready to top-stitch, but pin through the outer side of the blouse as shown below.

Finally, topstitch just on the inside of the stitch line, this will ensure that you catch the collar stand on the inner side to fully enclose the raw edges.

That’s it! A collar and collar stand, just think of all the blouses and shirts that you can make.

Final Thoughts

What can I say other than I love this blouse! The fit is perfect and it is super comfortable to wear as there is no pesky arm hole seam to dig into your underarm (that’s what I love about raglan sleeves).

I love the collar so much, the squared edge just makes it that little bit different. I’m also a bit of a sucker for a bow, so I decided to add a bow to use up the remaining bits of fabric which gives it a more feminine touch (I can’t bear to waste a single bit of the fabric as its so lovely).

I used Prym Colour Snaps in gold to fasten the blouse and cuffs, they are so easy and super quick to install, and it also means that there are no button holes to sew, you can view a video tutorial on how to install them here.

I plan to make the dress version of this pattern very soon, so be sure to keep an eye on my Instagram account to see the progress of this.

Thanks so much for reading this post and if like me, you have any doubt regarding whether you are at the required sewing skill level to master French seams, collars and cuffs, you can do it so be sure to give a blouse a go.

Thanks for reading,
Mel @ Handmade by Ditsy

Comments (2)

Please signin to leave a comment

Ditsy-Tulip said:

Thank you Dianne, so pleased that you like it · 6th Jan 2018 06:34pm

Dianne said:

What a super job and great tips for seams and collars. · 6th Jan 2018 03:57pm