Blouse sew along Pt 2A - Back slash options

Blouse sew along Pt 2A - Back slash options

To reduce the length of these  looooong posts..sorry!... I am going to split the back slash into Pt 2A and the sleeve options into Pt 2B.

Both will be posted today, but it will make future referencing of either much quicker.

ALSO....I am going to change the schedule order so that Friday will be collars instead of fabric.  That way if anyone would like to make a different version , they can make the necessary adjustments before we cut.



There are a surprising amount of options out there for such a simple blouse so I thought I would highlight just a few..... more here  and thank you again Liz for all these amazing pictures!

A simple bias binding edge in self fabric or contrast trim

A matching bias trim

and a zipper for a more unexpected but interesting twist like this Marni top.

OR you could try a couture application that I think is far easier than any of those above!

Although the above Balanciaga has a center front seam and a facing we will be creating the same look without the help of any of these... that's couture baby!

Links for excellent bias tutorials should you prefer that  here here here here here here and finally here!

When I first started making notes for this sew along, I knew I wanted to include couture techniques but had little idea as to which ones,  tops have been a rare make for me.... so I emailed Susan Khalje and explained what I was doing and asked how she would make this blouse for a couture client with a unlimited budget.....

Not only was she incredibly generous again with her time and advice,  she also made and sent sample pictures and a dress so that I could see a closure she was explaining.

Yep...serious geek out moment when I opened the package.... especially as I had the book on my table.  It took a minute to work out where I had seen it before but it is indeed the cover dress.

She said I am welcome to share pictures of the inside finishing, so as we reach each relevant section I will highlight them . I will also incorporate as many as possible into one of my versions for context.

So lets talk back slash....

We are going to use a dart to neatly close off the end of the slash, rather than trying to pivot bias tape or use a hem with topstitching.    This will result in a very clean stitch free finish which looks very professional.

This has been a bit of a revelation for me, as I hate bias tapes, I do not have the patience at all....

There are lots of ways to incorporate this into your regular sewing, Susan used it for a zipper here so that she did not have to add a center back seam to the dress...  (The pin marks where the dart ends)

I've made the sample below using the thinnest of silk crepe de chine so you can see through to the inside...

I would suggest practicing this once or twice, its very easy to do, just a little counter intuitive until it clicks!

I made my first sample in a medium weight stable muslin, and although this application is much more appropriate for light weight fabrics it was easier to control for a first try.

I'm giving measurements that worked well for me for a trial run but experiment, your fabric might hang better with a longer dart of say 4 or 6" , that eases more fabric into a gentler incline. 

The dart in Susan's dress for example runs from the top of the zipper to 9" below so try a longer line  if you feel your fabric is being pulled around and below the dart.....

*Also I will talk much more about this before we cut our fabric BUT if your back piece is loose and flowing  or if future pieces have gathers etc you will not need to add to your seams to compenstate for the dart , but if your slash is pulling and your back is very fitted , increase your seam allowance by at least  1"- 2"  to stop further stress and gaping on the bodice*

Cut a swatch approx 15" wide and 20" long on grain, find the exact middle lengthwise and mark where your slash will stop (mine is 6")

 Now mark 2" further down (8" for me) and 2" below again (10" for me)

This will be the entire length of your dart.

At the top mark 1" on either side of the center line and grade from there to the 10" dart end.. You can make this seam allowance bigger or smaller than 1" but try this first to get a feel of the process...

and fold the fabric directly down the center line pinning your dart to secure it.

Now sew as normal from the first line (6" mark) to the point (10" mark) reducing your stitch length to a 1.5 as you get close to the end for a neat bump free finish and tie off your threads  (Don't backspace)

Do NOT sew from the top to the 6" line!

Then cut from the beginning of the fabric at the top of the dart  to the 8" line  directly down the middle- while your dart is still folded in half. 

You will be cutting 2" into the middle of your stitching seam (the 6" to 8" section)

Now snip very  carefully almost into your stitching line at the 8" mark so that you can open up the seam and lay it flat.

Fold enough seam so that the top remains in line but not so much that you distort the fabric.  Mine shown above is 1/2".

and for anyone working with silk below are samples and tips for sewing with a lighter fabric...

Use a chalkoner or chalk pen in a very light colour, mine was white on will just be able to see it and if you work fast its fine :-)

Only use silk pins on your fabric, they are much thinner and sharper and will not leave holes...Use them to mark you lines for the dart increments.

and leave as many pins as possible in your fabric above your stitch line while you sew.    You are trying to stop the grain from moving when you lift the garment off your cutting table and carry it to your machine.   Lots and lots of pins will help keep it stable and on grain.

Use a brand new needle, a microtext 70 or similar (thanks Cissie!)  and either silk or all purpose thread.

Gently open up the seams and iron them smooth before steaming and pressing the dart flat.

and finally tuck your unfinished edges underneath and give it a final press.



As the slash is cut on grain , your fabric is lightweight and the dart is small, there should be no need to stabilize the fabric opening. 

HOWEVER, if you were using this for a zipper application then some tape or selvedge would be necessary.  Also additional width would need to be added to compensate for the seam allowance that is  holding the zipper  especially in a tighter fighting garment.

If your fabric is not folding or holding well when you tuck it under,  run a tiny line of invisible stitches down each side (picking up the tiniest of threads on your fashion fabric)

but as the top will be secured with your collar it should hold firmly in place.  I have worn my sleeved version a couple of times and its still all exactly where I left it!


Any questions?  let me know!

Back later with sleeves :-)

Blouse sew along Pt 3- Collar alternatives..

Blouse sew along Pt 3- Collar alternatives..

Blouse sew along Pt 2B - Sleeve options

Blouse sew along Pt 2B - Sleeve options