Finished: 'Nice Surprise' Blouse

When sewing, do you ever feel that you are not going to like the item you are making? That was how I felt about this blouse - hence the name. As soon as I started to sew the pieces together, and when I tried it on at different stages during the making process, I felt that I was not going to like the finished result. The shape seemed odd and matronly and the fabric felt cheap (it was). But when I had sewn on the buttons, I put it on to find that I actually liked the finished item.

This is the second item from my Capsule Wardrobe plan - a vintage blouse in man made fabric to wear to work. Here's my review of the project:

Pattern Used

 Butterick 9206 - a late 1950s blouse with a tie collar. I made view D.
Does it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? 
More or less - my tie is floppier but I used light fabric and didn't interface it.

Were the instructions easy to follow? 
Yes, pattern is labelled as 'nice and easy' and it is.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 
I liked the neck tie, the fact it said it was easy, and the kimono sleeves. One of the sleeves kicks out in a weird way, but hey, I can live with it.

Fabric & Notions  
I used a semi-sheer polyester with a blue printed design, that I bought from a charity shop. The buttons were dark blue circular plastic, but I could have used neutral-coloured ones as they are mostly hidden by the neck tie.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made
The pattern I had was a 38" bust so I had to make it quite a bit smaller. I didn't grade the pattern properly, because I'm lazy, but I deepened and lengthened the bust darts, lengthened the vertical darts and took in the side seams a lot - particularly under the arms. The fit is probably a bit looser than the pattern intends, but I'm happy with it.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?   
I probably would sew it again, and have made a note of my changes, should I wish to do so. I got a few compliments the first time I wore it, which has encouraged me to make it again. If I hadn't been lazy and had properly re-drafted the pattern I would probably be more inclined to make it again.
Did you use any new skills? 
Not really 

What wardrobe gap does this fill?
A top for work that doesn't need ironing. 

Fabric      £2.50 (Charity shop)
Thread    £1.45 (Remnant Kings)
Buttons   £1.50 (Remnant Kings)
Pattern     £1 (approx, part of a £6 pattern lot of 7 patterns from eBay) 

Total        £6.45 (plus £9.50 for the camisole - but I can wear that with other things!)
It really was a nice surprise that this blouse turned out so well. The finish definitely isn't perfect as the fabric was quite hard to work with - one of the ends of the sleeves sticks out and some of the sewing is a little ropey. Plus as it's so sheer I had to buy a camisole to wear underneath. I really do like the fabric and think that the size of the pattern suits the blouse well. It's hard to find a pattern of just the right size that isn't too big or too small or too fussy. I think this one is just right.

So what's next in the capsule wardrobe plan?

Peony in wool plaid - three quarter length sleeves version. 

I am so looking forward to making this, and am planning to start with a bodice muslin this weekend. Excited!

K x


  1. Very smart and work-friendly! But it still looks vintage, so double prizes!

  2. I'm glad you've ended up liking your blouse, as it's really lovely in my opinion! I'm very excited to see your plaid Peony, that fabric looks so snug!

  3. It's very lovely and looks completely vintage. I'm making a Peony at the moment too. I made a muslin yesterday and sewed up the real bodice today, looking good so far! Good luck with yours.x

  4. so cute blouse... i love the shape and the fabric ! So excited to see the peony !xx

  5. That is such a lovely blouse. I am off to ebay now to find a blouse pattern like this. It is truly beautiful, and it does not look cheap at all.

  6. Love the blouse. Maybe it's just me, but I think it's cute/retro-looking the way the kimono sleeves kind of stick out a little bit at the edges.

    Nice work. I want that pattern!

  7. It's a lovely blouse and looks way more expensive than it cost. I love your thriftyness it's really inspiring.

  8. I think the result is beautiful and the fabric doesn't look cheap at all. :)

  9. Oh, so cute! And I have totally had this experience, I recently made a blouse that I thought I would hate, mostly because the process was so damn time consuming, but now I kind of love it....and you are wise to love this, it's so classic and cute and flattering!

  10. Ooh, this looks so cute on you! Yay for happy surprises!

  11. I've been so busy I haven't had time to catch up on blogs so I will have to go back and read about your capsule project! I really love this blouse, I think your version looks even better and more wearable than the original (granted, always so hard to judge a drawing). The drapey-ness is great and I love the print and shape!

  12. I love surprises like that! Love that fabric too!

  13. That fabric looks as silky and smooth as butter. I love it. The blouse is really cute.

  14. I really love when a project surprises me! This blouse looks lovely--I just adore the vintage looking fabric! And omg. so excited for your that fabric too!

  15. Lovely, lovely, lovely!! It's just perfect on you, Kerry! I love the soft yellow colour - so pretty. I'm really looking forward to seeing your Peony!

  16. Totally adorable Kerry - i LOVE the neckline & tie ....

  17. This is soooo pretty! Good work scoring the fabric in a charity shop, it's a great find.

  18. Gorgeous blouse, your fabric really suits the pattern. I love the cute collar and tie.

  19. I just finished a top that, the entire time I was sewing it, I thought was going to look like hospital scrubs. Turns out I love how it looks and I felt exactly the same - it is a very nice surprise! I've also made a top with a tie collar like this, I adore it. It makes me feel like a 60s secretary and I play with it all day when I wear it. I really, really love yours, though, the fabric is adorable!

  20. I love that top and I would love to make one myself. If you ever consider selling or lending the pattern...;-)


Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say