Ever the chic choice, a simple shell blouse is the definitive feminine look. With cascading sleeves and a universally flattering shift shape, this sweet style is a fabulous day-to-evening option. Shown here, the Lauren top by Abaeté has flutter sleeves and a bateau neck, an easy fashion project to draft and make up in a lovely silky fashion fabric.
You will need:
- approx. 2 yds. [2 m] of fashion fabric, 45″[115 cm] wide
- Coordinating thread
- 1 – hook and eye set
Bust – measure just under arm around fullest part of chest.
Waist – measure around narrowest part of torso
Armhole Depth – measure from top of shoulder to underarm level.
Back waist length – measure from nape of neck to waist level.
Square down from 0 and square across on the pattern paper.
0-1 = back waist length + 2″ [5cm]; square across.
0-2 = armhole depth measurement + ¾” [2 cm]; square across.
0-3 = 2″ [5 cm]; square across
Extend distance between 2-3 beyond centerback line by ½” [1.25 cm].
2-4 = half bust measurement + 2″ [5 cm]. Square up and down to locate 5, 6, and 7; mark this line the centerfront line.
4-8 = midway 2 and 4 plus 1″ [2.5 cm]; square up and down to locate 9 and 10.
2-11 = half of back width measurement + ¼” [0.7 cm] ease; square up to 13.
Shape back neckline with a shallow curve as shown.
8-12 = 8-11; square up to 14.
Shape front neckline with a shallow curve as shown.
9-15 = 1 ½” [3.75 cm]; connect 15 to 13 and 14 with a straight line.
16 from 13 and 17 from 14 = 1 ½” [3.75 cm].
11-18 = midway 11-13.
12-19 = midway 12-14.
At a 90° from 16 and 17, join 16 to 18 and 17 to 19 with a smooth curve.
4-20 = two-thirds the distance from 4 and 8. Square down.
20-21 = 2″ [5cm].
Find the difference between half the bust measurement and half the waist measurement. Add 2″ [5cm]. Make a waist suppression dart from point 21 with equal distribution of the difference at 22 and 23 on the hem line. (see draft)
NOTE: The waist suppression may be determined by fitting the garment on the body as well.
Grainlines are parallel to centerfront and centerback lines. Add hem allowance. Add seam allowances to centerback, side seams, shoulders, and armholes.
Measure armholes from 11-18-16 and 12-19-17. Add amounts together and record this measurement.
Using the formula C = 6.28 x R, determine the radius (R) using the armhole sum for the circle circumference (C).
Using a compass, draw a circle based on this radius. (A-B)
B-C = 5″ [13 cm]
B-D = ¾” [2 cm]
Draw a tapered spiral curve from C to D, pivoting from A as shown.
Grainline is parallel to B-C.
Measure front and back necklines. Double this amount. Make a cutting guide for bias binding (2-3/8″ [6 cm] wide) based on neckline measurement + 5″ [13 cm].
Front – cut 1X self on fold
Back – cut 2X self
Ruffle – cut 4X self
Binding – cut 1X self on bias grain
- Staystitch neckline on front and backs as well as corners of square armholes.
- Turn under raw edge of extension of back neck opening to create a rolled edge. Slipstitch or topstitch in place.
- With right sides together (RST), match up back shoulders to front shoulders. Pin/baste together and sew. Press seam open.
- Fold bias strip in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) to create bias binding. Pin raw edge of binding to raw edge of neckline beginning and ending at CB opening. Turn under short ends of binding to neaten and align folded bias strip to right side of neckline. Pin/baste in place. Sew binding around neckline using 3/8″ [1 cm] seam allowance. Wrap binding over neck edge to underside. Align folded edge of binding to overlap machine stitching. Sew binding to neckline face up by “stitching in the ditch” or slipstitching folded edge of binding.
- Pair up armhole ruffles. With RST, pin/baste short ends on each pair and sew. Press seam open.
- Measure the side seam of the blouse.
- Sew a double-rolled hem along the outer edge of each ruffle. Do the same for the inside edge equal to the sideseam measurement beginning from the tip of the spiral.
- Clip diagonally each corner of the square armhole up to the stay stitching. With RST, pin/baste unhemmed edge of ruffle to armhole from front corner to back corner. Gather excess on either side of shoulder seam and distribute evenly. Sew gathered ruffle to armhole. Repeat a second stitch 1/8″ [0.25 cm] along side the first stitching. Trim seam allowance.
- With RST, pin/baste backs to front at side seams. Sew and press seam open.
- Turn under seam allowance twice at underarm to create a double-rolled hem. Slipstitch or topstitch underarm.
- With RST, pair the back pieces at centerback and pin/baste along CB seam. Sew seam from bottom of extension to hemline. Press CB seam open.
- Create a waist suppression by making front waist dart under the bust on the front of the blouse. Pleat out the excess fabric and stitch up dart. Press dart fold towards sides.
- Hem bottom of blouse with a narrow double-rolled hem.
- Hand-stitch a hook & eye set at top of CB neck.