My new vintage-style blouse from Butterick’s 5846 dress pattern

For my latest project, I started off with dress pattern Butterick 5846 and turned it into a blouse. I love how this blouse came out, particularly since I my last attempt at a project had a sad ending.

Here’s my new garment:


This is a quilting cotton, so it’s a little heavy for a blouse, but it’s soft. I love-love-love the colors.


And the back.

Here are some of the fun details:


The pattern calls for top-stitching all over the place, which I liked.


The vintage buttons are fun and a good match.

As a reminder, here is where I started:

I think this will make a great blouse.

I originally had this darker green thread selected for the top-stitching, but as you can see, I ended up going with a bright yellow-green instead.

How a dress became a blouse

I decided the 1930s-40s lines of Butterick 5846 would be perfect for the vintage-style fabric I found that only had enough yardage left for a blouse. I made some adjustments to the pattern to turn the dress pattern into a blouse pattern and then made a few other changes just to customize it:

  • I made the bodice longer. The bodice originally ended at the waist seam with a total of 12 tucks into that seam. I extended the tucks an inch (the better to hide behind a waistband) and increased the bodice length about 9 inches.
  • I changed the gathered sleeves to regular set-in sleeves. Gathered sleeves are not the best look on me. I liked the sleeves on New Look 0134, which I had recently made, so I wanted to substitute those. I measured the armhole sleeve seam on New Look 0134, and it was a perfect match for Butterick 5846. Once I eased them, the sleeves went in beautifully. Love them.
  • I made the collar a little larger to better reflect vintage styles. Vintage blouses tend to have bigger collars than today’s blouses. I made a line bisecting the point of the collar, then drew a new point an inch out from the original one. I then blended the lines into the original collar where it joined the neckline and at the shoulder. It’s a subtle change, but it gives me confidence that I can do pretty much anything I want with a collar shape.
  • I turned the two-piece yoke into a single yoke. I couldn’t figure out why the yoke had a seam at the shoulder — until I was tracing it to make it a single piece. If it’s done in a plaid or a stripe, the lines on the front part of the yoke will be at a weird angle. That didn’t affect this print, and I was already tracing, so I continued on and made the yoke one piece. It was a simple matter of overlapping the shoulder seamlines and tracing.

Construction changes

I still don’t want to deal with my serger (which probably only needs to be serviced), so I am all about tidy seam finishes that don’t require one. Since I practiced flat-felled seams on my recent ill-fated project, I used them all over this blouse. I love the way they look.

Flat fell

How slick are these flat-felled seams? They were a little tricky here at the armhole seam, but I made them work.

For the yoke, I used a technique I’ve been reading about for years but had not had the opportunity to try. The yoke is sewn entirely by machine and then turned out. The trick is rolling up the bodice pieces before you sew. Style Arc’s website has a great explanation of the technique here. The top-stitching on the yoke is strictly decorative.

And here it is on me!

Front of Butterick 5846

My new blouse. Photos by Matt Henry, the 10-year-old.

Back of Butterick 5846

The back.

I am so happy with this blouse that I eventually want to make a long-sleeve version with a white collar and cuffs. And I have the perfect fabrics in my stash. Until I find something else I like, this will be my go-to blouse pattern. It’s already fitted, so the sewing is quick.

Meanwhile, I have this fab blouse and nothing vintage-style to wear with it. But I’m trying to take care of that with my next project. A muslin is underway and going well so far. I’m thinking dark blue denim.

Gemini Note (because it’s not all about the sewing)

After an amazing start, and a horrifying June Swoon, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series for the third time in five years. As much as I love sewing while watching baseball games (three hours of multi-tasking!), I canNOT sew during playoffs. Not with the way the Giants play. I’m too busy clutching a pillow. I’m so glad the season is finally over. My nerves couldn’t take much more, and I have lots of sewing to do!

Mood board: A blouse from Butterick’s 5846 dress pattern

I fell in love with a pretty blue and green print from DS Quilts in the quilt fabric section of Jo-Ann’s a few months ago. I was disappointed to discover that there wasn’t enough yardage left for a dress.

Several weeks later, it occurred to me to make a blouse instead. Fortunately, the fabric was still available. And since I’d successfully made a beautiful teal and navy shirtdress from Butterick 5846, I decided it would be the perfect pattern.

The bodice lines are very reminiscent of blouses from the 1930s and 1940s, so I think it will be a good match for the vintage-looking print. Here’s the mood board:

I think this will make a great blouse.

How adorable is this fabric? The navy blue buttons are vintage. The olive green thread is for top-stitching.

The fabric is a little heavy but nice and soft. It’s not ideal for a blouse, but I hope it will be OK. And since I’ve already fit the pattern, it should be a quick project.

Sew Liberated’s Schoolhouse Tunic was a bust for my full bust

I had high hopes that I could translate all my recent experience in fitting my bust into a version of Sew Liberated’s Schoolhouse Tunic that would NOT look like a maternity top.

Alas, either my skills are not yet up to snuff, or this pattern was not a great choice for my figure. Probably both.

But I did try out some new techniques on my muslin that I’m eager to use again.

First up, this is how far I had progressed when I decided to call it quits:

Ugh. My attempt at a full-bust adjustment screwed up the proportions of this pattern.

Ugh. My attempt at a full-bust adjustment screwed up the proportions of this pattern. I had to lengthen the part above the bust seam to lower the bust point. I also opted for gathers instead of a dart, which was a mistake.

I thought of soldiering on, but I came to the conclusion that a seam just below the bust will not work on my figure unless the area below the seam is fitted, which is not the case with this pattern. So disappointing! It’s such a cute pattern.

The “muslin” was half of an old sheet. At least I think it was a sheet no longer in use. I couldn’t find any holes or stains or other signs of being worn out, but it was near my fabric stash, so I think I had relegated it to the “use for a muslin” pile. Too late now! I still have half the sheet to use for something else.

Although the tunic didn’t work out, I do think my idea to reverse the placket to the front was a good one.

I think my idea to reverse the placket was a winner.

The placket looks really good, anyway. Small victories.

Oh well, the good news is I tried a flat-felled seam for the first time, and I love the technique!

I want to make a shirt for my husband (the sleeves on ready-to-wear are always too long for him), so I investigated the shirts in his closet. Flat-felled seams everywhere! I thought I’d better try one before I make him a shirt.

And so I did. And it was awesome!

I am thrilled with how my first attempt at flat-felled seams came out.

This seam looks good both inside and out, although I may lengthen the stitch when I make my husband’s shirt.

You may also have noticed the embroidery on my muslin. I have an embroidery machine that I barely use. I remembered why when I used it for this project. The machine is in such an awkward spot in my sewing area that it’s very uncomfortable to use. I need to relocate it because it has so many possibilities for garment sewing. Here’s a closeup at the embroidery I picked from the designs already on my machine:

I finally tried using my embroidery machine on a garment.

With all the files out on the Internet for purchase, the options are limitless for enhancing a garment with machine embroidery.

So that is the sad story of my attempt to make Sew Liberated’s Schoolhouse Tunic. But I’m very excited for my next sewing project. And since it’s a different version of a pattern I’ve already successfully fitted, it should be a winner.

Note: Sew Liberated was kind enough to offer me a free pattern after I made their Clara Dress, which I love. I chose the Schoolhouse Tunic, and all the opinions here are mine.

Mood board: Sew Liberated’s Schoolhouse Tunic

After I posted my finished Clara Dress, Danica from the Sew Liberated pattern company offered me a free pattern in return for a link to my post after I finish it. Who could resist such a lovely offer?

Enter the Schoolhouse Tunic!

The picture on the pattern envelope has a boho chic vibe going; but, after checking my stash, I decided to go in a completely different direction. Here’s the mood board:

This is going more preppy than boho chic.

I originally bought the preppy stripe and white fabrics to make a traditional shirt.

The Schoolhouse Tunic has an empire line (a seam just below the bust), a placket that turns to the wrong side and is top-stitched down, and three-quarter-length sleeves. It is designed to be worn over a camisole.

My plan is to turn that placket to the outside and make it white. I also want to add simple white cuffs (bands, really) to the end of the sleeves. I’m not sure how I will run the stripes. I may make them horizontal on the upper bodice and vertical on the lower bodice.

The Schoolhouse Tunic presents an interesting fitting and design challenge. While tunics are generally a flattering look on me, the combination of an empire line and the need for a full-bust adjustment could very well result in a garment that looks like a maternity top.


I am counting on a good fitting job to prevent that. If it all comes together like I hope, it should be a nice layering piece.


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