Many of you may remember the very popular project we published recently featuring Bali the Reversible Skirt. When we were shooting the photos for this post, we chose to use a white pleated blouse to complement the skirt. While the skirt was very well received and many of our members made the project, we ended up getting as many questions about the blouse the model was wearing as we did about the skirt!
So this week I decided to make a pattern and project for this attractive pleated blouse.
About the name: Eve, the any day blouse, why the name? According to the Bible, Eve was the first mother. As mothers go, once you are a mother, you will always be a mother. So in the lead up to Mother's Day, I wanted to share this blouse tutorial with you as a gift for all the women who play many roles as mothers, wives, friends and daughters.
So here is a blouse to represent you all in many different activities. For lunch with a friend, taking a long trip, or going to the doctors or even hiking, this blouse will do it all depending on what fabric you choose. I have chosen silk because of the breath-ability in the soaring temperatures particularly where I live here in Singapore. This is a blouse that will look great with shorts, pencil skirts, skinny jeans, pajama pants, and goes fantastic under a suit.
The blouse will accommodate a bust and hips from 34″ to 54″ in width.
The best part? For intermediate level sewers, this project is super easy to make. I hope you enjoy!
- 1 1/2 yards of Silk, Georgette, Satin, Crepe, or Rayon. It must drape and cling to the body.
- Suggested fabrics: Satin, Crepe, or Challis Rayon (this is what is used in the white version in the photos)
- 1 yard of 1 inch bias tape for beginners. For experienced sewers, 1/2 inch satin bias is an option. Or you can make your own.
- Sewing thread
- Size 9 sewing needle. We always use Schmetz.
- Rotary cutter and a large mat. Fiskars makes a good set if you don't have one.
- Sewing machine
- Serger (optional)
Please allow 8- 12 inches of ease for this blouse, you can wear it a bit tighter if you wish. Extra small does mean for an extra small person. The design of the blouse is to allow easy on the fabric does not mean that a person with a 49 inch bust can wear the XS. Body bust measurements 30″ to 44″ inches.
Warning: This is not a plus size blouse despite of the measurements given below.
Here are the pattern measurements.
Step One: Download, print and assemble the free pattern
Step Two: Wash the fabric
Pre-washing is crucial step if you are using a fabric with natural fibers. If you are not sure what's the composition of the fabric you have on hand, check out this YouTube video on how to test for the presence of polyester in your fabric.
This step is best done at night before going to bed. You can leave the fabric to air dry away from sunlight. Iron the fabric on a low temperature and you are ready to start cutting.
Step Three: Cut the fabric
Because we are using a very slinky material, (I am using a printed silk satin) it is crucial that we find the grain of the fabric. For a way to find the grain and more tips on cutting fabric please visit our tutorial: 5 Mistakes to avoid when cutting fabric.
The use of weights when cutting with a rotary cutter is a widely accepted practice, however make sure you have a very sharp blade otherwise your fabric will move around causing you to waste your time having to align the edges of the fabric again. It is best to weigh down the fabric and pin in a few places especially around the curves.
The front part is cut on fold and the back has two pieces.
TIP: I cut my fabric with wrong side facing because I am going to make a French seam. This makes it easier to take the fabric pieces straight to the machine. For guidance on How to sew a French Seam, please review this tutorial.
Mark the pleats clearly with a notch to indicate the fold lines and placement of pleats.
Step Four: Make the bias tape
Making your own bias tape would be the ideal ideal way to use the leftover of the fabric. To do this, simply cut a 2 inch strip to make the 1 inch bias. I am using a contrasting color and a smaller size. I would prefer to match the bias to the rest of the blouse, but for tutorial purpose I am using a contrasting color so the details stand out. For more information and guidance on Making continuous bias binding tape, please review this tutorial.
Step Five: Sew the back
You can use your serger, to finish the seams if you want, but because of the delicate nature of silk and satin, the French seam is the best seam to use to sew the blouse. Start by sewing the back at 3/8″, iron the seam to one side and turn the piece, iron again.
Sew again at 3/8″.
Pin the bias tape to the keyhole in the back and sew. Follow the first crease of the bias tape or the one closest to the edge of the fabric.
I am using a very thin bias tape. If you are not used to sewing with slippery fabric or sewing bias tape, please use a 1 inch tape which will be easier. If you are an experienced sewer, go ahead and use the satin 1/2″ bias tape.
Trim the threads of the fabric if it is unraveling, but not too close because it will be difficult to catch the edge of the fabric inside the tape.
Iron the fabric, and fold the bias making sure the end of the tape will cover the stitch you just made and sew.
Step Six: Make the pleats
In the pattern, there are two fold lines and one placement line per pleat.
You will be making three pleats that fold to the right and three pleats that fold to the left.
Step Seven: Assembling your pleated blouse
Using a straight stitch, then a serger, sew the shoulders. You can use a french seam.
Sew the sides the same way you did the shoulders.
Step Eight: Finish the neck
Apply bias tape to the neck. For a more detailed explanation on how to apply bias tape to the neck follow this on how to Use bias tape for a neckline or arm hole facing.
I have done it a bit different, this technique is highly recommended when using stretch fabrics, except that when using stretch fabric you need to make the tape slightly smaller. In our case it needs to be exactly the same length of the opening of the neck.
Measure the neck of the size you are making and cut the same amount plus 5/8″
Sew both ends of the tape using 5/8″ seam to make a loop.
On the right side of the fabric, pin the loop seam to the shoulder seam, you will be able to adjust the tape if it is too tight or too loose using the 5/8″ allowance. If you measured correctly, you will have no adjustments to make. Pay special attention when pinning the tape to the key hole area. The keyhole should be pinned side by side with no gaps. Cut the seam allowance of the loop by half. This will allow you to turn the tape easier. Proceed to sew the bias tape all around to the neck. Turn and pin again, this time making sure you grab the back of the tape. Sew very carefully either on the gap between the fabric and the tape or slightly on the edge of the tape. This is part of your designer discretion.
Step Nine: Sew the hems
You can finish the hem and the sleeves in a number of ways and it will all depend on your taste.
Use the serger to clean the edges, then fold about 2/8″ and sew. Use a twin needle to make a good looking hem. For additional guidance on How to use a twin needle, please review this tutorial.
You could also use a roll hem foot and finish both the sleeves and hem with it. But, what happens when you do not have a rolled hem foot or a serger?
This is what you can do.
Choose a small zigzag setting, I am using number 2. Starting with your needle no wider than the space of the foot. About 2/8″.Here is how it should look. You could fold about 3/8″ and sew the hem with a straight stitch. Turn the hem 2/8″ or 3/8″ and sew. For the sleeves you can make it even narrower if you want.
It has taken me a bit over an hour to make this pleated blouse. It's pretty easy to make for intermediate sewers yet has a great deal of functionality and can be worn with skinny jeans, shorts, pencils skirts, or pajama pants this blouse will look great under a blazer as well. Please enjoy and happy sewing!