Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Sheer Blouse or "¿Estoy Boriqua?"

As soon as I got this blouse finished and on for photos all I could think of was, "Man, I am ready for a block party in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico." I mostly love the blouse. DH definitely loves it and says it looks "Boriqua" as well. And that's great! It's a light, fluffy, summery blouse that I don't take too seriously, despite all the handwork in it and dealing with sheer issues.

This is a combo of BWOF 06-2009-122 and 123 and a fair amount of my own design changes. The directions from Burda? SUCK. I had to do my own thing every step of the way. The only time I referenced the directions was on the CF bands. They were useless. If you can figure out their directions, let me know. Somehow, on my own, I got thru it. That band alone takes it out of the dot and a half category.

The fabrics are sheer poly chiffons for the shell and sleeves/ruffle and a poly georgette for the lining.

Design changes I made:

* I used a sheer which necessitated French seams everywhere as well as a lining. The lining is attached at the CF bands and the armscyes. The selvedge of the lining is used across the upper chest and back giving the illusion of a sheer yoke above. To support this I did a running stitch across the selvedge in 3 strands of complimentary colored floss. The lining hangs free otherwise in the garment. All ruffle, sleeve, and hem edges were treated with the edge treatment shown in this tute.

* I changed the sleeve. After making a muslin with the BWOF sleeve variation, I decided it looked, well, as per Gwen, like a handkerchief sewn on, fugly. I played with a muslin ruffle and ended up doing a 6 inch bias cut ruffle for the sleeve. I used double the width of the upper armscye and tapered the width down to nothing at the ends. I thought it was pretty flattering for these aging arms. I also had to figure out how to deal with the bottom of the armscye. It is square, parallel to the floor, with sharp corners. First I dealt with that bottom edge. I used a double fold of bias to trim it off. The ends were folded in so no raw fabric hanging around. (Click to enlarge the pic to see this and sorry for the poor lighting. )
You can see the remaining raw edges of the armscye. The ruffled sleeve was attached to these edges with a French seam. The finished edges of the bias binding and the edge of the sleeve french seam were then sewn together in the corner making a smooth transition on the interior.

* I guess you could say the CF band was my own design because I don't have a clue how BWOF put their's on. I was really pleased with the tiny buttonholes made by my 38 year old Kenmore. My Pfaff did not pass this test. The buttons I used needed to be flat and tiny, so I found just what I needed in my stash. They were MOP inherited from my great aunt, so a nice antique touch here. I used two sheets of stabilizer underneath the buttonholes. This is one of those applications where the extra fine thread really makes a difference.

My recommendations for anyone using this sheer fabric:

* Use fine weight embroidery thread. This is critical. The thread must be appropriate for the fabric and this fabric is fine. In this blouse I used Mettler silk finish cotton as well as some Coats and Clark fine embroidery thread. You are limited in color choice with these fine weight threads but some compromise is OK here.

* Use a small stitch. Throughout this construction I used a 1.5 stitch length. This is critical for the French seams, particularly. These sheer fabrics love to shred and this will help prevent that.

* Think out every seam and cross seam before you stitch it. You will see everything thru the fashion fabric. French seams can be bulky at intersections and you need to plan for that. Plan for a lot of handstitching to make things work.

* Old fashioned bottled liquid starch will be your new best friend. Every seam got starched before pressing as I worked thru this project. It helps manage the unruliness of the fabric and cut down on ravelling. As always, do some test starching and pressing before committing to your project.

* Keep things light. Sheers are all about the light passing thru, the floaty nature of the drape, and downright femininity. Don't get to heavy handed with your design. That will put you back in "hippie from the sixties" mode. If you lived thru it, like I did, it won't look good on you at this stage, trust me.

As far as fit, I love the fit from the waist seam to the hip and in the upper bodice. The waist to boob area is different. I took in the sides seams at least an inch each. It still seams to "blouson" above the waist seam, giving the SBS (saggy boob syndrome) look. They were perky when I took the pic, really. You don't see the bottom hem edge of the blouse either in the picture. I have lost weight lately and all my clothes are hanging off my hips with the crotch line dropping a good couple of inches. I am not sure I am up to making those adjustments in jeans. Actually, I know I am not. So this did not pose a pretty pants picture with the blouse, no matter what pants I tried. Time to buy more fabric.


I know I have been somewhat MIA. I mentioned previously some heavy work commitments and DH and I are thru that now. But last last Monday my brother's oldest son took his life. We have been reeling ever since. My heart goes out to anyone who has lived thru such a horror.

I must say that Tommy was a beautiful young man whose troubles came as a surprise to all. He was close to family, communicated exceptionally, had many friends, and worked hard at two jobs. As one of my dear cybersewing sisters, Ann, said to me, "he didn't mean to kill himself. He just wanted the pain to go away." We may never know the reasons for such a horror. All I know is that there is a chasm in our hearts that just can't be filled. He belongs in there.......Bunny


  1. Oh my. So terribly sorry. This is such a tragedy to those who are left behind, feeling the hurt. Sigh.

    Your blouse is stunning! Totally.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Your blouse is gorgeous.

  3. Your blouse is beautiful and looks perfect for you. But onto bigger things, I am so sorry for your family's loss. Hugs and prayers coming your way.

  4. My sympathy and prayers go out to you and your family.

  5. I am thinking of you and your family every day, Bunny. I can only imagine the pain. But I am happy that you have found some time for yourself, time to stitch and meditate and think on all that you love in life. That's what I do in my sewing room, too. And thanks to you, Bunny, I am typing this wearing my favorite blouse, one that you inspired me to make -- the first thing that I have made for myself in 35 years. I want to be buried in it -- I love it that much!!


  6. Bunny, I am sorry to hear about your nephew. That is so sad. I will be praying for you and your family.

    Yours Truly,


  7. What an enormous tragedy. My condolences to you and your family.

    Good you find some time to distract yourself with sewing.

  8. What a terrible tragedy, I'm so sorry...

    The blouse is a masterpiece! Truly gorgeous!

  9. Love the blouse. Beautiful. Lots of great tips.

  10. I am very sorry to hear of your loss.

    The blouse is beautiful and very flattering on you. You look absolutley regal in the picture.
    Also, your tutorials are always clear and helpful. Thanks for including them.

  11. Prayers for you and your brothers family. Loss is so hard no matter what the cause. But when someone takes thier life quilt becomes a part of grief. We go over everything we've said or not said or did. It's hard to understand if you don't suffer from mental illness. I have a sibling who does and while she has attempted suicide, she has never been successful. But I worry about everything I say to her and try to shield her from anything I can. I don't think we can ever really understand how they feel. Because it's just a different world for them. What seems like a small bump in the road to me can feel like a huge mountain to her. Your poor nephew must have run into a large mountain range. At least his pain is over now. But unfourtunetly his family's is just beggining.

  12. Bunny,
    So sorry for your loss. My heart and condolences go out to you and your brother and family.

  13. Oh, Bunny, I am so sad to hear about your nephew.

    It's a little awkward to go from writing that to telling you what a lovely blouse you just made, but oh well, you sure did. I appreciate the tips, as I see sewing with more tricky fabrics in my future.

  14. How sad, it actually makes the lovely blouse a little bittersweet. Hugs and prayers for you and your family.

  15. I know your pain. More than several years ago, my eldest brother (and my favorite sibling) could no longer fight his demons and died of suicide. I still miss him; and my mother never recovered.

    The blouse and choice of fabrics is lovely.

  16. I am so sorry for your loss. What else is there to say but depression is a horrible illness.
    And your blouse is beautiful.

  17. Your blouse is beautiful and the technical workmanship is superb.

  18. Oh How sad. Last year one of my young male workers took his life too. It is so tragic.

    It is hard now to say how gorgeous your blouse is. You have done a fabulous job and I will bookmark this post for when I tackle a similar project.



Engaging commentary:

I'm doing co-ordinates! Who knew?

  Being home combined with a brand new 4k ultra HD TV with what seems like 3000 channels has me watching a lot of sewing on Youtube a...