Have you ever tried to create a blouse from a dress pattern? It is a simple process, you just need to pay attention to a few key tweaks. Some sewers would rather just buy a blouse pattern but this method helps you create more than one look without spending more money. I will share the following changes and keys to making a cowl sleeve dress into a cowl sleeve blouse.
The excitement was real when I received my “Shapes of Beauty” from my Jewels fabric pattern collection in poly crepe de chine fabric from Spoonflower. I knew I wanted something more dramatic, yet still feminine as the print is more bold. On a trip to my local Fabricland, I noticed a selection of for sale patterns. Among them was a Vogue #v1518 dress pattern. The sleeves sold me immediately as did the six dollar price tag.
If you are looking to sidestep mistakes when tweaking a pattern, I will show you the key steps to getting your make just right.
It is always wise to try out a pattern with scrap fabric or muslin so you get your fit just right. My first trial was using the actual dress pattern which helped me determine what I did not want in my second attempt.
- Determine fabric needed. Lay out the full pattern on your fabric to see if you can afford to add more width. The dress was a slimmer fit than I wanted so I made sure I had enough to add some width to the waist and hip area.
- Measure the desired length of the cowl sleeve blouse. I took a measuring tape from my waist to where I wanted it to end. That measurement was marked on the pattern. I decided to not only add width to the waist and hip area but also flare the side seams and curve the bottom. That way the blouse would have a lovely drape from the waistline and accommodate wearing tucked in or left out.
- Adjust the neckline. As I didn’t want to add binding to the v-shaped neckline, I opted for an easier round neckline. When I added the binding to the original trial dress, the v-neckline did not sit proper. I opted to use bias tape instead on inside of rounded neckline.
- Make pattern adjustments. The pattern called for a yoke in both front and back. This was to accommodate the lining for the bottom half. For the blouse, lining was not needed so I combined the yoke with the lower half of the dress bodice. I overlapped the pattern pieces and eliminated the seam allowance.
- Adjust the bodice side seams. I took my measurements and added enough allowance so the fabric would not be fitted to the body.
- The only part of the pattern that remained unchanged was the cowl sleeve. When it came time to attach the top of the sleeve to the armhole, instead of gathering the fabric, I folded each side of the top of the sleeve inwards, sewing where the two folds met. See image below.
I love how this blouse looks great with different jackets, jeans and dress pants. To see more of the kimono style jacket click HERE. And for a modern version of a Chanel style tweed jacket click HERE.
The kimono style jacket was a design I created to showcase my “Adorned” pattern. I knew that a satin kimono style jacket was the way to go with this luxurious fabric.
I hope you have enjoyed learning how to tweak a pattern to transform a dress into a blouse. If you liked what you have read, please share the love with a pin or a comment. Thank you!