POINT of view: Transfer an idea from a japanese drafting book to any existing pattern!

3. Januar 2008
Inspired by Tinis goal to try at least six new things this year, I thought about doing something new too, plus I wanted to start the new year with something sewing-related anyways.
I hope you like this tutorial and feel inspired afterwards - it makes me proud to see that it really sometimes happens that my blog really makes people do something new... can you imagine that?!

Okay, let's start.
Actually I wanted to try this blouse from my "Pattern Magic" book since I bought it, but lately I was lazy. I just didn't want to draft anything more complicated than a skirt, so the blouse went down-down-down on my list.
But why now "use what you have"?!
Altering an existing pattern doesn't seem so much work to me comparing to drafting a completely new pattern, so I searched my magazines for a simple blouse. Not very easy, believe me!
Finally I found a basic pattern in an old Patrones fashion magazine (model no. 69 from issue #249). Of course the folloing alterations will work with any blouse pattern...
step.1First... you should be aware that my way is not always the "good" or the "right" way. Your local tailor might freak out over what I do here - but as long as it works for me, I don't care about the "good" or the "right". ;)

Start with the front pattern piece, with dart(s) cut out.
Mark a line from the armhole down to the bust point.
step.2Cut along this line, stopping a tiny little bit before the bust point - just enough to move the pattern piece that's in between.
If your pattern has a vertical front dart, close this dart as well - the dart in the armhole will be wider then.
step.3Fix the "old" dart closed with some tape.
True pattern lines along the side seam.
step.4If your pattern has a cut-on front closure (like mine), get rid of it- it will be an extra pattern piece.
step.5Layer your pattern with a sheet of tissue paper so you can see the original pattern piece (and the new dart) shine through.
step.6Mark the lower dartline on the new sheet.
Mark a new line towards the center front. Take care that you don't create a sharp angle at the point where both lines meet.
The sharper the angle the harder it will be to sew.

Depending on the look you want you can now mark the top (the point) of your front panel.
step.7This area will stand out of your blouse when finished.
Whenever you read "SOP" later, I refer to this area.

To have this pattern part "lined", mirror the shaded part along the upper right line.
step.8-lowerfrontCut away the excess of the layered tissue paper and cut the original pattern piece apart along the line between dart point and center front.

You'll receive two front pattern pieces:
Lower front with stand-out-part (left)...
step.9-upperfront...and the upper front part.
tryingYou may cut the lower front from one fabric, if you want the inside of the stand-out-parts like the outside.

If you want a contrasting lining (like I did), you may cut away the mirrored part (shaded in blue) to make this an extra pattern piece.

I wanted to make good use of a fat quarter by Jane Sassaman from my stash, so I tested the placement of my pattern pieces on the fabric.
SOP lining, Inside cuffs and inside collar were cut from this fabric.
sergingloweredgesWhen everything is cut, serge or zigzag the lower edges of the SOP lining and your upper front panel.
sewing pointsI interlined the SOP area of the lower front panel with lightweight iron-on interfacing.

With right sides facing (rsf), sew SOP lining to lower front panel of your fabric. Start and end at seam allowances.
Trim seam allowance at point.

I used a tiny scrap of interlining to prevent this point from fraying, but fray check will do as well.
turnedCarefully turn right sides out.

What you see on the left picture is the right side and the wrong side of the SOP.
Please ignore my markings, they were just for my own reference.
pinWith rsf pin upper front panel to lower front panel.

This seam will not lay flat, as it already contains the dart we first moved into the armhole.
carefulSew this seam closed, again starting and ending at the seam allowances (you'll now know why we did that in the previous step, too).
cut hereAt the point where all seams meet in the armhole, clip seam allowance of lower front...
armhole...to make the armhole lay flat again.

A drop of fray check will be good here!
Topstitch SOP, beginning and ending where seam allowances meet.
From this point you can sew all pieces together like you would at any other blouse.

To hold SOP in place, hand-sew it to the lower front part. I did this using a catchstitch, which is almost invisible from the right side.
I said ALMOST. Of course you'll always have some tiny little dots where the stitching is. If you want this totally invisible, you may use a bit of steam-a-seam, but I wouldn't recommend this... the sewn version gives it at least a bit of ease, an ironed seam won't.

Just as a matter of form I should add that I additionally altered the normal, pointy collar into a stand-up-collar - I just eyeballed this while cutting, but if you know where this alteration is explained "the good way", feel free to tell me.
fixAfter your blouse is completed, sew over the SOP where it meets the armhole.
Two stitches will be enough. Go back and forth a few times, this will strenghten this point and prevent it from ripping.

HOORAY! It's finished!!!
Depending on your point of view, this blouse is plain black (but has funky buttons)...
... or very colorful!

If you liked this and gave it a try, tell me - I'd love to see your results and hear if you got along with my descriptions. I know, after two years of blogging to improve my english I still lack many, many words.

A constantly used tool (besides the sewing machine) was my new & funky chunky seam ripper - a christmas present from Mr. Mad:
new helpful tool
Best hubby ever. You may now be jealous... *gg* ^-^

The blouse pattern itself was cut in size 40 (which would be a german size 38 or an US 8). I measured the pattern and was sure that it would fit me well - just like the other Patrones blouse I've sewn lately. As you can judge from the pictures it came out MUCH too wide. Not only around the bust, but also in the waist and especially in the back at the shoulders - in short: it's a whole size too big.
I can live with the extra-long sleeves, but I'm indecisive if I will make a few changes on the finished blouse or if I will simply put it up for sale.
Think I will hang it on a clothes-hanger and look at it for a while... and then decide. *sigh*

Mission accomplished.
Successfully or not? ...
Well, it depends on the point of view...


  1. well done - one or two typical german to english moments - but totally understandable ( i will not be writing a tut in german anytime soon )
    when you say 'cut-on closure' i am guessing you mean the button placket? i can tell from the pic but what is it in german?
    the only thing i would change if i were to make this is to line the whole lower front not just the SOP - this way no line or possible stitching to be seen

    and yes i am jealous of the gift from husband - though tigerente or fliegenpilz is more my style! and i want that book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Love your blog! Your a very tallented seamstress.

  3. Love your new blouse and thank you for this wonderful tutorial!! Well done on both fronts! Happy New Year!

  4. Cool blouse! Buttons and all! It is a success, definitely.

  5. I love it, what a great tutorial too, I need to go finish my bwof black blouse I started on last year, and I also love your pin cushion, did you make that also?

  6. Fantastic! It's a wonderful shirt you've made. The buttons you've chosen are perfect finishing touch. The tutorial is great too- it's great seeing the whole process, step by step.

  7. Toby Wollin15:31

    I just have two words to say about this blouse: Awe - some. Incredible. Very inspiring...

  8. That's an awesome blouse, thanks for the tutorial, you are really talented.

  9. Love the details you added to the blouse. And the pattern magic book look very interesting.

  10. Wow! What a gorgeous and unique blouse!!

  11. Where oh where did he get that seam ripper!!?? its fantastic!! i must have one lol

  12. This is very creative and I really like the look of the blouse. I have bookmarked your tutorial for future reference.

    What a great seam ripper! Perfect gift for you!

  13. Ladies - THANK YOU! ^-^
    I've grown at least 4" by your kind words!

  14. You're so freaking cool! Not only did you make an awesome original shirt, but then made a tutorial of it in ANOTHER LANGUAGE! I bow to you. I really want to find the time to do more cool stuff!


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