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Summer Sewing Challenge - Express Yourself in Linen

pinkish heirloom with flounce collar

Aug 17, 2009
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This is one of a series of blouses I designed when i was learning to do heirloom techniques. It is made from a very tightly woven linen that is more opaque than some.

One technique i had wanted to use was a madeira border with a pinstitched edge. I like seeing the combination of two different fabrics for that so I combined it with a very lightweight tightly woven cotton that I had treasured for years. In order to make it obvious that they were intended to be together I tinted both so that they are the palest pink imaginable. 

The blouse has a circular flounce at the neck and a bell sleeve which is modified circle ( cone shape). The body of the blouse is linen and the collar and cuffs are cut of the cotton and trimmed with a 1 1/4 inch band of linen. 

The linen bands were cut to match the pieces they’d trim with 1/4 inch seam allowances on each side. I used a technique I had learned through Martha Pullen & Co.  Wash away thread is used to sew the right sides of the bands together. After carefully turning them so that the curves are nice and smooth they get pressed  with steam and spray starch until the thread dissolves. At that point the two pieces can be pulled apart leaving a nicely turned under curved edge. 

Those bands got sewn to the blouse as one would sew a facing … but with the facing on the outside. After clipping that seam and turning the band to the right side it is sewn in place with a wing needle and a pinstitch. 

The blouse has bell sleeves with an inverted pleat and are joined to the blouse on a curved seam. The blouse closes with bias loops sewn into the left front, the buttons are sewn to a small placket inserted into the center front seam on the right side.

The entire outer edge of the blouse has a 1 1/4 band attached with a pinstitch.

Like my other heirloom garments this can be worn as a special occasion piece or with casual clothes. The fact that it is linen gives it a casually wrinkled look, something that I think makes it imminently more wearable.  

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  1. User avater Scheri January 4th

    The details are beautiful.

  2. SabrinaStyle November 9th

    This is a very nice blouse. What is an heirloom techinique? What pattern was used to make this blouse?

  3. User avater joi October 3rd

    great job! love the heirloom sewing touches

  4. moushka September 21st

    Love the Madeira border and all the heirloom touches. I'd happily wear tailored heirloom linen every day if my lifestyle allowed. Beautiful work.

  5. jestersmother August 25th

    Do you have the machine that makes this hole pattern in the material? I had a old friend that had one of them. She has since passed and I wonder what happened to it. Do you know what I am talking about? She used it to attach her crochet laces to napkins and other table cloths. I have found tablecloths and bought and used the material for costumes. I do this with Curtains too.

  6. cairopatchwork August 25th

    This is really lovely. I especially like the delicate stiching in the sleeves.

  7. sewsuz August 18th

    Very striking design & details. Classy.

  8. Couturegirl August 18th

    Incredibly lovely & romantic! I imagine wearing this on the English Moors. :)

  9. User avater ShereeS August 17th

    This is so pretty! I especially like the sleeves.

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