Project Burda Style 2018-02-120 Bow-Back-Blouse
Pattern available here
Choosing the project
Since the nightmare of the silk Christmas Party Dress of 2016 (A story I’ll tell one day) I have been very weary of silks or silk-like light fabrics. I figured that it must be my cheaper sewing machine that was the problem, or that I would just need a lot more experience before I was ready to sew again with flimsy, slippy fabrics. However the picture on page 34 of this magazine changed my mind.
The styling in the magazine made the blouse look amazing. Elegant and expensive. I loved the cute bow at the back, the neckline and the flirty back. With a pencil skirt it has that beautiful retro vibe. It also had a raglan sleeve, something I’d never attempted before, but was keen to try.
I started out looking at the silk satin racks but soon changed my mind. There are two basic kinds available; cheap; nasty looking costume fabric, or lovely but super expensive Japanese-made silk. I still don’t have the skill level (or tbh the budget) for the nice stuff so I had to go another direction.
The moment I saw this navy and white chiffon, I knew I was buying it for something. It’s light and delicate, but rough not silky smooth – so no messing around with slippery fabrics for me!
It was also pretty reasonably priced (just over 1000 yen per meter) so I was very happy about that. It would also match nicely with the skirt I had in mind to pair it with. 119
Tracing the pattern and cutting out
Only four parts to trace and 6 to cut out. Being a rough fabric meant cutting on the fold was easy. The only issue I had was marking the fabric. Chalk would just not take to the fabric which meant I had to cut tiny fraying notches to mark the pleats – good thing I have an overlocker to clean up messes like this.
It mostly went together very nicely except for the sleeve bands and neck tie.
I could not understand this instructions for this at all! It seemed over-complicated and inefficient. Or maybe it was badly translated, either way I had to do my own thing.
Firstly I finished off the sleeve end with my overlocker. Then I overlocked all four sides of the sleeve band. I then sewed the two long sides together, right sides facing. I turned it inside out, pressed then topstitched it over the end of the sleeve. Finally I treated the sleeve and sleeve band as one piece sewed up the side. It was kind of a dumb way of doing things, but with an overlocker I think you can get away with dumb now and again.
Again this was another part of the instructions that I just couldn’t parse. It also just didn’t seem to be effective. I made this blouse as a size 38 based on my bust measurement but it was super baggy. During fitting I kept falling off one shoulder and exposing a boob – Not good for the office!
I think Burda wants you to use the tie band as a drawstring anchored in the neck band but in my test fittings I just couldn’t make it tight enough to avoid flashing myself.
In the end I decided to finish off the neck band as a neat loop and move the tie bands up to the ‘back sleeve/shoulder point’. By placing them here I could still have a cute back bow but feel safe from accidental public indecency. The back of the blouse is much more secure and the bow can be adjusted to show as much or as little as you’d like. So perhaps it’s not as retro as it was intended to be but I’m much happier wearing it this way.
Would I make it again?
Maybe I would – it’s a really nice wardrobe staple so I’ll keep my eye out for any good fabric.