Friday 19 October 2012

How to Sew a Blouson Top

Selamta Royal Dawtas

One of my sewing favourites clothes wise is the oversized blouse or top which is like a kaftan shirt, tunic shirt or dashiki shirt. I have one pattern which I use to create five different tops using less than one yard of fabric, jersey or cotton. If you visit my kaftan dress tutorial you will see the method of creating the basic top - the length of the dress is just shortened to your hip area. But I am just going to outline everything here again.

So I discovered (a while back but I been too busy to post it up) the style of putting an elastic belt in the hem of the top to create a nice buff fall-over style (one of my personal favourites)- only to discover that  it's trending now at the Gap.  While browsing to see what's new on Old Navy and Gap (the only mainstream brands Iwould like outside of Forever 21) I saw that The Gap has one here and it's called the Blouson. So it's still kind of kool that I found the name and whatnot, the blouson style means any jacket, dress or top that has an elastic waist gather - I really need to buy that complete guide to sewing book I saw. it would have in all that information I need, and it would really help me expand my ability to actually learn fashion terminology instead! I've added it to my mental to-do list.

All in all with this top you will definitely be trending for fall season. I find it very comfortable and versatile because it can be casual or elegant based on the fabric - whether you go cotton or jersey, solid print or pattern. The Gap's blouson is very casual. I will post up another tutorial for a jersey skirt after Sabbath which will show how to more elegant style looks (the black and white top).
Also I am using pictures from two different shirts here.


1 yrd Jersey or knit fabric 58 inches wide
Yard rule
Sewing machine
Ball point needle 90/14 or 70/10
¾ inch elastic
correct thread

 Width – your hip measurement divided by two, plus 8 inches (mine is 36/2+8= 26 inches  wide which is a small-large size)

The length is the width of the fabric, the selvedge edges -58 inches. On the fold it is 29 inches. the length of all tops will be 29 inches if using 58 inch wide knit.
Whatever width your fabric is, is the length unless you turn it and cut the other way on the fabric.

Armhole - length is 9 inches.

Neckline -  is 6 inches deep and 6 inches wide (3 inches when cutting on fold) if you want to hem - when hemming it will end up 7 inches wide. Without a hem it can be a straight cut 6 inches deep into the middle of the shirt if you dont want to hem the neckline.

These measurements include a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

1. Fold over fabric so the fold is at the top, right sides together.
2. Cut your width out.

3. Pin together the sides of the shirt.

4. Fold the shirt in half sideways, and mark the middle with a small clip of the scissors, unfold now and cut down the middle line 6 inches down. Can be lower.You can also choose to mark across 3 inches from the fold and draw a curve to the 5 inch mark. Cut out this semicircle-ish shape - you don't have to hem this neckline either if you don't want to.

To the left top side is my little clip:

5. Sew down the sides of the shirt, starting from the 9 inch marker for the armpit. **note that in using the selvage edges without a hem, it is best to start at the bottom and sew Up to the 9 inch marker to ensure the edges are properly lined up.**
 However, jersey or knit fabrics tend to fold sometimes, so it may not even be noticeable if there is a tiny off balance of the selvage. Try the bottom to top method to avoid it altogether however.
(can't see the side seams here very well but look to the left and you will see a piece of thread, follow that.)

6. Make an elastic casing just big enough for the ¾ inch elastic to slide through. Leave space for elastic to go inside.

 7. Using your hip as a guide cut out the elastic band that it will fit snugly against your hips. Make it one less than your hip measurement in otherwords. Attach to a safety pin and insert the elastic. Close the opening.

8. Make a hemline for the armpit and neckline if not leaving the knit raw (for me it all depends on how it looks when it's finished or the type of fabric - if it will fray or isn't cut nicely it needs a hem.)


As I said, the blouson top is really one style of many that can be made from one basic pattern - the basic pattern is the exact method, caluclations and measurements written here, BUT there is no elastic waist - so in finishing the regular basic top, you can either choose to hem the bottom of the shirt or leave the selvage edges, neatly matched up.
Again it all depends on the fabric and what you are using the top for - if it's for a more casual look - to wear to the spring,peach or pool, at home, then the hemming won't be necessary, if for going out, if the fabric doesn't look polished enough on raw edges, them do all the hemming.
 For a more dressy blouson:

 the great thing too is that the  waist band can be worn down on the hips like above or pulled up to under the bust to create a more crop top like below.


Here is the regular basic oversized top in a very light knit that I will use for home and going to the spring - but I have dressed it up here over a camisole and maxi, to show you that the top overall can be versatile.

Here's the pattern:

Fulljoy that "blouson" lol. It really is a fav of mine - I've made a brown, black, black n white so far!

1 comment:

  1. Thank u for the tut. I have been wanting to make one!!
    Looks great!!



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