Silk and Cotton Artist’s Blouse

Butterick 5997 - Steel Blue Silk and Cotton Poplin - Mood Fabrics-0326

 

Oh, fall. It’s the season of brightly colored leaves, trundling yellow buses, and the return of jeans to my wardrobe. From May to September, nothing so heavy as denim touches my skin, but the falling autumnal temperatures make me long for cozy jeans and blouses. Not that ours have exactly fallen yet, but a girl can dream, right?  I have yet to brave pants making, so this month I decided to make the perfect blouse for wearing with my RTW skinny jeans. A dress lover at heart, my most beloved casual blouses are loose, flowing and made from sumptuous fabrics.

Mood Fabrics, of course, has quite the selection of gorgeous blouse fabrics. After gawking at all the chiffons and crepes, I finally settled on something a little out of the ordinary for me: a steel blue silk-and-cotton blend poplin. Usually, I’m attracted to prints, but this classic gray blue is one of my all time favorite colors. After some rousing paint debates last summer, the professor and I actually painted our living areas a very similar Wedgwood blue. So, I’m a fan. Even better, this blue goes with practically anything, from neutrals to brights, and looks killer with dark indigo denim. With visions of a flowy, soft blouse in my head, I ordered three yards of it and pestered my mail carrier until it arrived.

 

Butterick 5997 - Steel Blue Silk and Cotton Poplin - Mood Fabrics-0299

 

Y’all, I actually squealed when opening this package. This fabric is so freaking pretty in real life–super soft, a crisp drape, and a very subtle sheen on both sides. In the sun, those silk fibers catch light like threads of spun silver. This effect doesn’t translate into photographs, unfortunately, but trust me. It’s happens and it’s gorgeous.

This fabric would work surprisingly well as a classic button down, thanks to the cotton’s strength, but I had other plans. While waiting, I’d started plotting a twist on the 1960’s artist smock. These garments always show up in classic television–pleated or gathered loose blouses, with wide sleeves and stand collars, inevitably worn with cigarette pants. Admittedly, they were often worn to camouflage a star’s pregnancy, but we’re going to ignore that. I love them, impending children or no. (No, in my case!)

 

Butterick 5997 - Steel Blue Silk and Cotton Poplin - Mood Fabrics-0302

 

 

Butterick 5997 - Steel Blue Silk and Cotton Poplin - Mood Fabrics-0297

 

Though I have a few classic smock patterns, I chose Butterick 5997 for this undertaking. It has a couple of cute views, but I fell overboard for View D, a loose pintucked blouse with a stand collar, cutout v-neck, and large sleeves. Everything was going really, really well until we got to those sleeves. This material took pintucks beautifully and was shockingly easy to work with. The cotton fibers made up for silk’s tendency to slip and slide, so pressing and stitching were a cinch. In keeping with the beauty of this fabric, I did a hand rolled hem and finished everything with French seams.

Then, I attached a sleeve. A giant, billowing sleeve. A sleeve that would not look out of place in, say, a Pirates of Penzance revival. If ever I needed a blouse for swashbuckling, this pattern fit the bill! Sadly, that’s not what I was looking for here. Loose, flowing sleeves are one thing; sleeves designed to pillage the neighborhood for rum and seam rippers, entirely another. Those sleeves had to come off. So, I took them off, unpicked all of that stitching, and cut them down by six inches each. Then, I chopped their length by another three inches. Voila! Reasonably sized sleeves! Those too were finished with a rolled hem, because silk unravels even in a blend.

 

Butterick 5997 - Steel Blue Silk and Cotton Poplin - Mood Fabrics-0334

Reasonably sized sleeves! No pillaging here, friends.

Butterick 5997 - Steel Blue Silk and Cotton Poplin - Mood Fabrics-0320

 

It was a simple project, but I love this blouse. It feels heavenly against my skin and dresses up jeans so well. It’s tempting to wear a t-shirt on weekends, but when a blouse looks this good and feels even better, there’s no need! Now, if only our weather would get the hint and drop another twenty degrees. I’m dying to pair this outfit with my favorite boots. Autumn, hurry up!

 

17

Comments


  • Karen
    September 28, 2014

    Lovely blouse. As a full-busted women This style appears to be a winner for me to try. Your adjusted sleeve works well.

    • Idle Fancy
      September 29, 2014

      Thank you, Karen! I definitely recommend this blouse for the full busted woman. My only adjustments were a very small FBA and a narrow shoulder adjustment on the armscye.

  • Sallieoh
    September 28, 2014

    This is absolutely stunning! That shade of blue was made for you – they should probably call it “Mary Danielson Blue”! I love these kinds of tops, and you pull it off so well! The fit is spectacular!

    • Idle Fancy
      September 29, 2014

      Thank you so much, Sallie! Also, I’m totally suggesting that name change to Benjamin Moore. 😉

  • Denise
    September 29, 2014

    Tunics seem to be everywhere this fall! Love the color, Style looks great on you. BTW add me to the ever growing list of the
    M 6696 shirtdress lovers. Will there be a sew-a-long?

    • Idle Fancy
      September 29, 2014

      Tunics are definitely everywhere right now–a fact which, I’m loving. Long live flowy blouses! Also, I am mulling over a sewalong…or at least a guided shirtdress challenge. It’s not something I’d ever considered doing on the blog, but there have been quite a few requests for an official Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses!

  • Peter
    September 29, 2014

    I love the classic simplicity of this tunic top and you have such a great color sense. Well done!

    • Idle Fancy
      September 29, 2014

      Thank you so much, Peter!

  • Carolyn
    September 29, 2014

    What a great new blouse! Love everything about it…especially the sleeves!

    • Idle Fancy
      September 29, 2014

      Thank you, Carolyn! I’m so happy those sleeves worked out. Pirate is really not a good look for me!

  • janet
    September 30, 2014

    It looks good with or without bump or swashbuckling sleeves.
    janet

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    September 30, 2014

    What a lovely colour – and there is no such thing as delightful and beautiful blouses in the wardrobe are there?

    • Sew Busy Lizzy
      September 30, 2014

      oops – no such thing as too many blouses!

  • Justine
    October 1, 2014

    just perfectly lovely!

  • Sew Well
    October 1, 2014

    That blue is a show stopper. I may have to get some of that poplin for myself! Just lovely!

  • Lori
    October 1, 2014

    This is such a lovely blouse, I like the changes you made and the neckline is beautiful.

  • Fiona
    October 12, 2014

    Mary this looks so comfortable and chic and the fabric looks dreamy both to work with and wear! I love the unusual neckline and pin tucking down the front. Gorgeous stuff!