Monday, 17 March 2014

Spring 2014 Trends: DIY Shift Blouse

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One of my favourite trends all over both Spring and Fall 2014 collections has been the shift blouse - a dressy and structured version of the T-shirt. Boxy silhouettes + endless possibilities with different prints and patterns, sheer panels, clean & minimalist cuts.. DIY paradise. I also got really into the grid pattern lately (thanks to Chloé, Jacquemus, Phillip Lim) and here we are.

Thanks to the A-line form of the shift top, its construction is quite easy (no need to worry about darts or zippers).

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Fabric (about 1.5 m) ǀ Pins ǀ Some pattern tracing paper if you feel like it ǀ Scissors ǀ Fabric marker ǀ Sewing machine or needle & thread 

I. To simplify things, use an existing T-shirt as guidance to make your pattern. Choose one that has a loose fit. Trace the outlines of the top without the sleeves (you only need one pattern to make both the front and the back piece, the only difference is you'll make the neckline slightly less deep at the back). Note that if the top you used as guidance is very straight, widen the pattern going down to make sure your top will have the A-line form.
 photo 1useexistingassample_zpsfb67f919.jpg  photo 2tracebackandfront_zps42cc050f.jpg  photo 3readytraced_zps899b0784.jpg
Cut out the front and back pieces leaving a 1.5-2 cm seam allowance. Once done, make one more pattern for the sleeve (as shown below, it should resemble a house). In the image the two red arrows should measure the same length. The height of the 'house' will depend on how long you want your sleeves to be. Draw out and cut two identical pieces, one for each sleeve. 
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Finally, use the cutout front and back pieces to make the lining for the neckline (ignoring the crookedness of mine, I was dealing with leftover fabric from a pants project and beggars can't be choosers). You'll want the length of the lining to be about 5-10 cm down from the deepest part of the neckline.

Your ready cut pieces should look something like this:
 photo cutpieces_zpsc026f92d.jpgII. Now start working on the neckline. Take the front piece with its lining and place right sides facing, pinning the edges. Sew a straight stitch along the curved neckline part (not the shoulder seams yet). If your fabric frays, zig-zag the edge of the lining piece.
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Once done, depending on how heavy your fabric is, you may want to cut off the excess fabric to prevent any bulging (leave about 1 cm next to the seam). Before turning over, cut small incisions at regular intervals almost until the seam - this will allow the fold to settle nicely once you flip the fabric over.
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Fold the lining to what will be the inside of the top, and iron the seam flat.
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Repeat with the back piece and its lining.

III. Once the neckline is done for both the front and back piece, place them front sides facing and pin at the shoulders. Sew a straight stitch along your marked line.
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Then lay the attached front and back pieces flat, right side facing down. Take your sleeve piece (also right side facing down) and begin pinning, starting by attaching the top of the 'house' to where the shoulder seam is. Keep pinning both sides until you reach what will become the armpit. photo 11alignsleevewithtopcopy_zps50cbd29e.jpg  photo 12startpinninsleevecopy_zps329613d3.jpg
Repeat with other sleeve and sew a straight stitch from armpit to armpit for both sleeves.
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Your almost-finished blouse should now look like this:
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IV. Nearly there! Pin the edges of the sleeves and the side seams of the front and back pieces, and sew a straight stitch all the way through.  photo pinsleeveandsides_zps4c7493f4.jpg
Unless working with non-fraying fabric, you can now trim excess fabric off all seams and finish them with a zig-zag stitch.

V. As the final step, hand-stitch (or machine-sew if your machine does blind stitching) the hemline and the sleeve ends. Iron all seams flat and celebrate your blouse that goes with virtually anything!
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I would love to hear what you think and learn about your DIY adventures! If you use one of my tutorials, tag me on social @contour_affair, I'd love to see!


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