Orageuse: Helsinki Blouse
Reminiscent of a blouson-style top, this surplice-front blouse features four stacked pleats near the waist edge, which are pressed and left unsewn on each side of the crossover front, bust darts, and a twisted front hemline. The front edges and neckline are finished with a narrow band that has triangular notches just above the bustline and at center back. The self-lined back yoke gathers the lower back panel at center back. Bracelet-length sleeves with a sleeve placket and buttoned barrel cuffs give this blouse polish. The sewing instructions are correct and all seams match up, but the crossover twist at the hem is difficult to visualize. Orageuse has a video on its blog to help with this step. In styling the top for photography, we found it challenging to arrange the front hem twist and keep it from becoming a heavy knot. Select lightweight woven fabrics such as challis or poplin to diminish bulk at the front hemline.
(Sized French S34–S46 for busts 31.5–40.9 in.)
—Tested by Toby Barton, Winsted, Connecticut
Sewing Tip: Once you get the front twist in the desired position, invisibly tack it in place to maintain the folds.
Illustrations by Steven Fleck.