A Whimsical Blouse in Anna Sui Silk

I always enjoy watching Anna Sui’s fashion shows. Her designs are playful and fun but not toddler like and twee. The fabrics she uses are usually prints and are often mixed together in interesting ways. When I saw this “Famous Designer Conversational Satin Faced Silk Chiffon” on Moodfabrics.com, I was pretty sure it was hers even though it wasn’t titled as such. I just adored the cats sitting on chairs, the red apples, the little scrolled frames and the texture, and snapped some up a few months back thinking it would certainly sell out quickly. (There is only a little left as of this writing. If you like it I would purchase some quickly.) When it arrived in the mail, the selvages were printed with her name, so I had been right about it’s origins.

P1160665

I knew I wanted a blouse of some sort and I knew it had to be a simple design as to not cut up the print too much. Long sleeve printed blouses have a way of looking like something my grandma would wear, so I opted for a sleeveless version. I wanted it to be playful and fun to honor Anna’s aesthetic and chose Butterick 6185. This is kind of a sleeper of a pattern IMO. The envelope has all the garments rendered in fun colors and prints, but they’re just elastic-waisted separates and an unlined jacket, which I am not into. (No offense if you are.) However, the simple V-neck blouse or dress with the double collar I found super cute. I briefly thought about doing the under collar of my blouse in white but dismissed it for possibly looking too young.

P1160682

The collar was cut from some black wool crepe left over from this dress and is also from Mood but has long since sold out. Ideally I would have used a lighter cotton-type fabric since this is a warm weather top, but I didn’t have enough of any on hand and those collars are fabric hogs. I find silk rather warm anyway and don’t wear it too much in the summer, so will probably wear this in spring or fall or when I plan to be mostly indoors. I pre-washed both the print fabric and the lining to make them better fit into my wash-and-wear lifestyle. As long as I don’t forget to drip dry my blouse and shrink the collars in the dryer, it should be easily laundered.

P1160684

I cut a size 12 through the shoulders and a size 10 from the bust down and got a really good fit. The envelope picture looked a little strange around the front armholes and for me was drafted with too much fabric in that area. I used another sleeveless shirt pattern to guide me while carving out the front armhole and cutting the shoulders in a good 1 inch. I’ve started really examining pattern envelope pictures for possible issues I may have. It’s a good habit to get into to avoid surprises. That or make a muslin of course.

P1160695

I like the slightly cropped nature of this top, but after viewing these pictures I don’t think it looks very good proportionally with pants on my body. It’s a little short. Keep that in mind if you have a long torso like I do. If I make this again to wear with pants I will lengthen it 2 inches. This one I will wear with skirts. There is a CB seam down the back and I tried to cut the fabric to look as pleasing as possible at that seam. It’s a good thing I had some extra fabric because the first backs I cut had some awful twinning.

P1160701

This collar was fun and easy to do and is sandwiched in between the print and the lining. There is a facing included with the pattern that I only used to cut interfacing for the lining with. If a lining is not needed for decency, I would probably use some bias tape or a bias binding to finish off the neckline. I always like to avoid facings if at all possible. I put a dab of Fraycheck right at the center of the V to avoid any threads raveling out.

P1160706

Dressform pictures:

P1160707

P1160710

P1160709

P1160708

When you look closely at this fabric you can see some textural leaf elements. Those are the sheer bits of this fabric and are really very cool. Since the collar needed a bit more support then just a thin chiffon to hold it up, I decided to line it. The lining I added is a black stretch silk georgette also from Mood. It has a lovely amount of stretch to it that I bought for another project but opted to use for this instead. It did dull a little when washed but I didn’t mind since I was using it for lining. Instead of making the 5/8″ narrow hem at the armhole (anyone else HATE the look of that?!), I finished them off with some bias bindings cut from the lining fabric.

P1160712

I sewed all the seams but the neckline with French seams. Whenever I use that type of finish on lined garments, I make sure to press the seams in opposite directions to avoid bulk. The hemline was a simple double fold narrow hem that was actually really trying and took a whole evening to accomplish.

P1160715

I like most of the stuff I make but I am completely smitten with this blouse. It turned out looking exactly like what I had in my mind’s eye and that’s always so rewarding. Also, I have another silk blouse to add to my collection! There’s no such thing as too many silk blouses in my closet!

17

Comments


  • Lauren
    July 28, 2015

    I never ever would have looked at that print and associated it with anything chic. Your ability to match a fabric to a pattern is like Midas turning whatever he wants into gold – it’s SO GOOD. I can see why you’re smitten with that blouse, because it’s freaking adorable (without being twee). And, of course, your craftsmanship is superb. So, so good. You really did that fabric justice, Amanda!

    • Thanks SO MUCH Lauren! I’m happy to hear you call it chic! I think it may not be to everyone’s liking with the cats and all but I just adored the print and had to find a way to fit it into something I would be comfortable wearing. BTW you always give the best comments. I seem to say a lot of the same stuff – Great dress! Wonderful fit! Love that color on you! – because I’m not overly witty and can’t think of anything original. What I wouldn’t give to be spontaneously funny…

  • Cennetta
    July 28, 2015

    Exquisite blouse. I’m always in awe of your craftsmanship. This is a beautiful blouse that you should be proud of. Thank you for showing the details.

  • Lori
    July 29, 2015

    This is a stunning blouse and I wouldn’t have looked twice at that pattern if you hadn’t pointed it out.

  • Sarah Gunn
    July 29, 2015

    You have just sold dozen of patterns and yards of fabric! What a vision you had for both and what an execution – fantastic!

    • Ha! If only sewing blogs had affiliate links where every time someone clicked through we got compensation… Thanks Sarah!

  • Luisa
    July 30, 2015

    This was the perfect pattern choice for this fabric–it’s a great print, but a full dress might have been too much. (So glad to see the article in Vogue Patterns magazine about your other blog!)

    • Amanda S.
      August 4, 2015

      Thanks Luisa! I actually contemplated making a full dress, but didn’t have enough fabric for it.

  • Carol Muir
    July 30, 2015

    Hi Amanda, I love that top you made and agree with all of the above comments. Like one reader said, you have a talent f
    or combining fabric and patterns. I’m sure you will get a lot of compliments with people asking, “where did you buy that?” I love those kind!!!!

    • Amanda S.
      August 4, 2015

      Oh thank you Carol!

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    July 31, 2015

    Everything about this is superb. I’ve never spotted this pattern – and I just love the collar. I think you have created a match made in heaven, a quirky yet stylish blouse. Lovely work.

  • Fiona
    August 1, 2015

    What a wonderful way to showcase this unusual and beautiful print. It fits you beautifully and that collar is to die for! great decision to make it plain black

    • Amanda S.
      August 4, 2015

      Thanks Fiona! I find that I am drawn to young looking styles a lot, and have to really think about what would look right and what wouldn’t.

  • Sew Well
    August 11, 2015

    What a fun blouse! That collar is amazing, your craftsmanship is impeccable, and you’re right – you can never have too many silk blouses!