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Add an Extravagant Touch to a Basic Blouse

Accent garments with embellished fabrics
Threads #183, February/March 2016

A thoughtfully trimmed top can give an ensemble real power. By simply highlighting small sections of the garment with outstanding fabrics, you can set the whole mood of an outfit. 

There are several ways to fabricate a look reminiscent of the inspiration blouse. Find a blouse pattern that includes a collar, cap sleeves, cuffs, or other edge details that can be enhanced beautifully with surface embellishment. Select a special fabric to be used for these peripheral areas. It can be a print, an interesting weave, embroidery, lace, even beaded or sequined fabric. It can be something you have inherited, found, purchased, or invented yourself. 

If you want to create a custom textile for your garment, it’s easier than you think. Today, embroidery is available to everyone, even if you don’t have a knack for using a needle and thread by hand. There are embroidery machines that make simple work of duplicating motifs and colors you prefer. You can embroider small areas just to fill the pieces needed to trim your top. You also can free-motion-embroider or appliqué to add another dimension. Fabric paint, crystals, and hand-sewn beads are other artistic options.

The inspiration blouse features pre-embroidered fabric, but I’ll show you how to replicate this effect by embellishing just the exposed fabric. This approach ensures that the embellished section edges are flat and bulk-free so your finished garment looks polished.

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