Dotted Silk Crepe de Chine Blouse

I’m in love with silk blouses. Seriously. I wish I had a closet full. The only other one currently in my wardrobe is constantly on repeat. When I saw this beautiful ivory and black embroidered dotted crepe de chine from Marc Jacobs at MoodFabrics.com, I knew just what I’d make with it.

Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 1323.

I picked Vogue 1323, a Rachel Comey design. I love this pattern so much for the interesting neckline and and front pockets. Any extra volume I can add to the front of my tops is a welcome addition for this small-busted gal. I also wanted to try my hand at a placket, which I’d never done before. I chose to use a contrasting black for that part, picking another silk crepe de chine so that the fabric weights would match. Editor’s note: Amanda’s top reminds us of the beautiful silk shirts from the French company Equipment; check them out for inspiration if you’re looking to make a silk blouse.

Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 132

Sewing with crepe de chine isn’t difficult, it just takes a little bit of finesse. You’ve got to go slow and treat it with loving kindness. I had to take lots of breaks while doing the miles of topstitching on the pockets and pocket flaps. The weight of this fabric was perfect for a blouse and isn’t see-through with the proper nude-colored undergarments.

Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 132

I cut a 10 through the shoulders and tapered out to a 12 through the hips – my normal Vogue size. Then I added 2.5 inches to the bottom to make it more of a tunic and 5/8″ to each side to accommodate the longer length over my hips. I eliminated the hemline slits and curved the sides up a bit. To the back I added darts to give it a little shape and spaced out the gathers along the yoke.

Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 132

The neckline of this blouse was a complete bear to sew. When I first began this blouse 3 months ago, I mistakenly used a heavier wool sateen for the placket. It looked AWFUL! The bottom of the placket was so bulky that the silk under it was pulling and puckering. Of course I did not notice this until it was completely sewn to the blouse including the slip-stitching on the inside. I considered trashing it in frustration and had to put it aside for awhile. After a week or two I decided to unpick the neckline and ordered another silk crepe de chine in black to remake that area. I interfaced the outer placket and collar and they behaved, but the inside placket facing gave me so much trouble. Silk cut on a curve does not like to behave and seems to grow. Anyway, I persevered, and I’m glad I did.

Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 132

I haven’t made vented cuffs in a really long time and these were kind of fun. For some reason I chose all four-holed buttons so I had to use thread shanks in order to prevent the silk from puckering.

Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 132

For those areas that I didn’t want an embroidered dot I used my seam ripper and carefully removed it. I had to do this whenever the dots were in a seamline, under the cuffs or on the yoke facing. There is a bit of interfacing sewn under each dot, which makes it a little raised off the fabric.

Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 132

All the insides were sewn with french seams, including the armhole seam. I wouldn’t have attempted french seams while setting in a sleeve except that the pattern instructions called for them. What a beautiful finish for a nice blouse! I’ll definitely be doing that from now on.

Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 132

Dressform pictures:

Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 132
Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 132
Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 132
Dotted silk crepe de chine blouse with contrasting placket, made with fabric from Mood Fabrics and Vogue pattern 132

I’m so happy to have this project finally completed and could not be more pleased with the end result.

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Comments


  • Janine
    December 11, 2013

    What beautiful crafts-sew-ship! I have never seen french seams at the armhole – How did you do that!!! This took lots of time to make, and it is both apparent and worth it. Good job!!

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thanks Janine! To make the french seam at the armhole you first sew the sleeve on with wrong sides together and stitch with only a 5/16″ seam allowance. Then press, trim, flip the top inside out and sew with right sides together at another 5/16″. It’s just like any other french seam. I think it works with silk because silk is relatively thin and a natural material.

  • Janette
    December 11, 2013

    That is gorgeous! I never even gave that pattern a second thought even though I’m looking for a nice tunic length blouse pattern. Love all the changes you made – wish they were all part of the pattern!

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thanks Janette! You should definitely give it a try!

  • Manju
    December 11, 2013

    This is absolutely stunning! Love love love everything about it. I have seen a tutorial for french seaming when setting in sleeves on the grainline website but would love to know how you did it.

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thank you Manju! It’s just like any other french seam, but I’m pretty sure will only give good results if your fabric is somewhat thin.

  • Sara
    December 11, 2013

    This is gorgeous! I really love the black contrast and think it looks perfect as a tunic. Now to get my hands on the pattern and fabric!

  • Ginger
    December 11, 2013

    Wow, this is lovely! The first thing I noticed was how perfect the placket looked– I’m so glad you gave it another go because it looks amazing!

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thanks Ginger! I’m not itching to make another placket anytime soon, but it’s nice to know I can do them now.

  • Florencia
    December 11, 2013

    Love your new blouse/tunic, the fabric is beautiful and it looks perfect with the contrasting neckline.
    I made the same tunic a few weeks ago with a burnout dot cotton lawn, and I was also very happy with the results.

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thanks Florencia! I’m glad to hear this pattern worked well for you. Did you try the french seams at the armholes?

  • Lori
    December 11, 2013

    I love your new blouse, it looks wonderful on you. Elegant and classy with the fabric details and the contrast. Thanks for all the construction details and so happy you didn’t give up on this blouse.

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thanks so much Lori! Sometimes the one thing that saves a project is using some fabulous fabric that I don’t want to give up on.

  • Peter
    December 11, 2013

    Beautiful inside and out!

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thanks Peter! I’m anxiously awaiting the final reveal of your wool peacoat!

  • oonaballoona
    December 11, 2013

    exquisite as always! i love french seams on a sleeve–in fact you just reminded me i meant to do that on my current project!!!

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thank you Marci!

  • Sew Brunswick
    December 11, 2013

    Simply beautiful!

  • Elle
    December 11, 2013

    Lovely!

  • Kimberly
    December 11, 2013

    I truly appreciate your workmanship here on this piece and others of yours that I have looked at. It seems you take your time and consider what final should look like rather than just going by the pattern. Yep…much appreciation. Keep up the good work.

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thank you Kimberly! I’ve had years of sewing projects that I ended up not liking for one reason or another to learn from.

  • Amy
    December 12, 2013

    I think this is one of my favourite makes from you. Absolutely stunning!

  • Sarah
    December 12, 2013

    Just completely gorgeous! So impressed by the french seams on the sleeves! Must try this!

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thanks Sarah! They weren’t as much trouble as I thought!

  • Sallie
    December 12, 2013

    This is just stunning! I love the contrast black placket with the dotted white fabric – it’s such a professional-looking combination. And the insides are exquisite!

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thank you Sallie!

  • Nikki
    December 12, 2013

    This is a gorgeous top and very well made.

  • Sarah Gunn
    December 12, 2013

    Oh my word, this is beautiful! ….. and your sewing is as impressive as always. Bravo!

    • Amanda S.
      December 12, 2013

      Thank you Sarah!

  • Cissie
    December 15, 2013

    Another gorgeous blouse, Amanda. You always challenge yourself with the most wonderful patterns! Perfection in every way.

  • Amy
    December 16, 2013

    What a stunning top! This fabric also spoke to me, and I tried to go for a similar look, but I don’t think I had the length right. Yours hits just perfectly. And, the black collar is perfect!

    • Amanda S.
      December 17, 2013

      I loved your top too, Amy. Great minds think alike!

  • colleen
    December 18, 2013

    Great blouse – did you make a muslin first to check the pattern modifications? I would love it if editors included the sewing machines they use AND care instructions for the end garment. Yes, I need a new machine and, yes, I’m curious if hand washing is a realistic expectation :)
    Thanks for sharing the pics and story.

    • Amanda S.
      December 26, 2013

      Hi Colleen, thanks for your comment. I pre-washed the fabric prior to cutting into it with the intention of machine washing it in the future. I’m not much of a hand washer. Mostly I’ll use a mesh bag on the gentle cycle if a fabric calls for hand washing. I’ve found that most silks wash pretty well, although silk charmeuse looks washed and not as shiny after its been laundered so mostly I’ll use it for lined/dry clean only stuff now. But silk crepe washes well, and silk is actually a pretty strong fiber. I use a Brother NX-450 to sew with.

    • Amanda S.
      December 26, 2013

      Forgot to mention that yes, I made a muslin to test fit first. I always do that these days and it has cut down dramatically the amount of wadders I produce.

  • NinaLBoston
    December 18, 2013

    Looks stunning on you, Amanda! Your story of un-picking the placket is absolutely inspirational and I’ll try to model you the next time I face frustration in my projects. All the tweaks you made to the design really paid off in the perfect blouse for you. I really admire the French seams — I’ve been afraid of them but I think it’s a must with crepe de chine.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Amanda S.
      December 26, 2013

      Thanks so much Nina! If I hadn’t loved the fabric so much I’m not sure I would have gone to the trouble! And then I did have to put it aside for a number of weeks to take a break. You should definitely give French seams a try. They are such a great finish for a piece of quality fabric.

  • True Bias
    December 27, 2013

    i love this top SO much. amazing job. putting this pattern on my wish list.

    • Amanda S.
      December 28, 2013

      Thanks True Bias!