Tuesday, March 20, 2012

DIY: The Scarf Blouse

In my newly completed Scarf Blouse. Or slouse. Maybe blarf. Whichever you prefer.
So I have this new habit. Whenever I experience a craft failure/disappointment/disaster-of-epic-proportions, my new thing is to step away, calmly, and leave the scene of the crime. From there I usually wallow around with a bar of dark chocolate, a cup of tea and maybe a cookie or three and find another craft to attempt. I find this really helps me get over the frustration of time lost and effort spent. And, sometimes, helps me come back to the mess with fresh eyes and new ideas. Even if that idea is, "craft project, meet trash can." 
I snagged this sweet little scarf-to-blouse pamphlet during a recent thrifting adventure. I quickly learned that the 20-30 minute bit was just false advertisement.
Which is how this Slouse was born. This little pamphlet had been sitting on my sewing table for ages. So, after a recent craftastrophe, I decided to give it a shot. One of the first things I began collecting in high school were vintage scarves. I loved the patterns, the texture of the silk and the fact that they were cheap. In college I went through a period where I wore them 1950's style around my neck. These days my collection just sits on my sewing room shelf.
Just a few of my favorites. I don't think I'll be able to cut into some of my scarves, I love them too much. I mean, look at that puppy pattern, swoon!
So I chose a scarf from my stash that I didn't think I'd miss if I messed up. It had a small tear and some discoloration but I loved the color and pattern. After deciding on my scarf, the first thing I had to do was add more fabric to make it large enough.
If you decide to create your own Blarf, and I believe you should, keep in mind that these measurements are from the 1940's. People were so much smaller back then. I used the measurements as suggestions.
I happened to have some green striped taffeta (er, I think that's what this fabric is) in my collection that once was a curtain. Adding that fabric to the scarf turned out to be the biggest chore as I had to hem it, attach it to the scarf and then figure out a way to miter the corners. Super fun times. But once complete, I was finally ready to follow the pattern.
While I love this shirt, it's not my usual style. I was hoping for a 1940's look...but I'm afraid I may be a little closer to Mrs. Roper.
I began with creating an opening for the neck. I did have to expand the measurement for the opening by an inch or two as my head is kind of large. Especially when you take into consideration that there is usually a bumpit making it even larger.
When following this pattern, I pinned, tried it on, repinned and tried again. I made many alterations to the pattern but this gave me a great starting point.
Really, creating the opening was not the hard part. It's this sewing silk business that drove me mad. It's so stinking slippery that it's like maneuvering a snake through your machine. And I found it difficult to measure accurately. But my sewing skills are extremely limited, so I'm winging it most of the time. For you sewing smarties, it would be a snap.
The back. Duh. I was concerned about how the backside looked, but if you look at the illustration, the bottom of the shirt is a little more tight fitting.
After the opening was complete, I was tempted to just leave the thing as a poncho. But, after taking one of those aforementioned breaks, I came back and set to work on the side seams.
Follow these measurements with caution and lots of fittings.
 What I found helpful was getting one side seam sized correctly and making a tissue pattern. That way I could use the same measurement on the other side. After creating that tissue pattern, the rest was just a zip through the sewing machine, ironing and done!
While snapping these pictures, I found it kind of funny that I have the very same pallet of colors in my house. Must be what I'm drawn to. The skirt, by the way, came from Target.
I do hope you'll give a Scarf Blouse Shirt Top a try. And if so, please send me a photo. I'd love to see what you create. I'm thinking of making a couple more myself. Enjoy your week!


  1. I'm finding this quite intriguing, as I often do with these 40s project instructions. May have to see if I can find a scarf worth chopping at the thrift store to give it a whirl! ;) I do like how your version turned out though--the sleeves are fun!

  2. Wow what a fabulous blouse, is gorgeous, totally worth the perseverance!! I do love the fact that some old patterns underestimate the time things will take to make up, perhaps people really did move faster (like in old cine film) back then:)

  3. Anonymous3/29/2012

    thanks for sharing, will have to try that! your blouse looks really cute!

  4. What a fun idea! Sounds too challenging for my sewing abilities, but love your results and thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you for posting this pattern! I have so many vintage scarves that I would love to do something with!

  6. I have boxes and boxes of beautiful scarves, thank you for posting. Great pattern!

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  8. Hi there! Do you have the pattern for the first blouse (top left in the first diagram)? I can't see what's different between that and one at the top right?

  9. Nice blogging keep blogging

  10. Wow...You have shared a beautiful post about blouse pattern cutting and stitching. Thanks you so much for sharing.

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  12. Nice dress.Thank u sharing a beautiful post about blouse pattern cutting and stitching.
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