Another ‘Pat Butcher’ blouse! :)
This one came from a charity shop in South Woodford that supports Heal, the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity. It cost £6. The blouse is made of a thicker, more drapey polyester and has a series of pleats either side of centre front which also cover the button placket. The pleats have multi-coloured dots embroidered on them, and it is these subtle but interesting dots that enamoured me to this blouse. It was a size 16 which gave me plenty to play with.
My idea was to turn it into an oversized vest top, keeping the pleats front and centre. First things first, the shoulder pads came out. Then I grabbed a well-fitting vest top and, using it as a pattern, simply trimmed the blouse roughly 1.5cm around the top on all sides. The front and back of the vest/pattern are different – the back is a racerback style – so when I got to the underarms I just cut the front layer and turned the whole thing over to do the back. By placing the vest/pattern with its shoulder seams level with the shoulders of the original blouse I avoided having shoulder seams. There were already yoke seams from the original blouse so I didn’t want to have to add any more. I also trimmed the hem in the rough shape of the pattern.
For the hem, armholes and neckline I made some bias binding from one of the sleeves. Bias binding is really easy to make – I have a metal utensil which makes it very easy to do without burning your fingers! You just cut some strips of material at 45 degrees to the grainline to keep it nice and stretchy, join the strips together, and use the utensil to iron the outside edges of the tape into the centre, a process which is supposed to be illustrated by the images below.
Here are some images of the finished top. I am happy with the style and fit but for the future I will stitch up the centre front as it does gape between the buttons from some angles.
I wore this recently for an evening out in Finsbury Park. J and I had dinner at a wonderful Mauritian restaurant which served solely seafood – we both had the half lobster with seabass in mango sauce and it was delicious, if a bit messy. Then on to see a friend’s band play at a local venue. Unfortunately we had spent so long enjoying our lobster that we only caught the last 30 seconds of the band :)