Fringe Blouse Hack

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This top was born in my imagination when I saw this gorgeous windowpane linen at Imagine Gnats.

(scroll to bottom for abbreviated mods and sewing details)

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I have learned over the past few years that I don’t like tops that are loose or oversized through the shoulders because my shoulders are quite narrow, and my hips are wide by comparison. I generally don’t like the proportions on me. When I want a drapey or oversized top, I generally opt for something fitted through the shoulders, with a set in sleeve, that flows out under the bust. I love this proportion on me! I have made several Waterfall Raglans that I wear frequently.

So when I saw this fabric and dreamed up a top with a dolman sleeve and cropped, boxy body, I wasn’t sure if I would actually like it on my body. I thought I should for sure do something with darts for some shaping. The Fringe top! Yes! Darts and cuffed dolman sleeve, but loose enough to put on without closures- perfection. I cut the front bodice on the fold at the marking for center front and drew a rounded neckline by hand. I excitedly sewed it up, having not sewn much for myself in a while. Mistakes were made. Seams were ripped. I re cut the front bodice. I was hacking without a muslin, after all, so that is par for the course. I was nearly done with the top when I realized… the darts were a mistake. It was too snug. the sleeves were spot on, but this linen in a fitted bodice and the length of ruffle I’d made… it was wrong. Nearly done, but wrong. I didn’t like it. It made the sleeves look gigantic.

Luckily, I’ve sewn enough things to recognize when I should fuss with it till it works vs scrap it and move on. I removed the ruffle (which I’d already serged), unpicked the darts, straightened the bottom of the bodice, gathered the ruffle (again), and sewed it on to the bodice (again.) . Hemmed up shorter, this was now the boxy cropped linen top I dreamed of!

It turns out, proportions really matter. These sleeves on a slightly longer, slightly more fitted top in this fabric (too stiff for the original pattern) were ALL WRONG. But cropped (so a bit of waist shape is visible beneath the hem) and looser so the fabric can stand away from my body… ALL RIGHT. So right. The rounded neck, which I hacked, is the perfect canvas for bias binding (stunning in this print!) and a long necklace.

My wardrobe is small, so this top is going to get a TON of wear this summer. The cropped length is perfect with high waisted jeans for fall and spring, and my woven joggers this summer. I’m not much of a shorts wearer, but I’m on the hunt for some longer high waisted jean shorts to try on and see if it jives.

Sewing Details:

Fabric: Essex linen blend yarn-dyed woven windowpane from Imagine Gnats (no longer available in this colorway)

Pattern: Fringe Blouse and Dress from Chalk and Notch

Bust: 35.5 inches

Size: 6 (my bust measurement fell directly between sizes 6 & 8)

Mods:

-Cut front on fold at center front marking

-Rounded neck

-omitted neck facing and bound with bias tape instead

-let out darts and straightened bottom of bodice

-added ruffle to bottom, cut 14” long and 7” tall

-hemmed bottom of ruffle 5/8”

I’m so happy to have worked out this hack, and look forward to pulling it out again for my favorite structured woven fabrics! And as it happens, there are quite a few Fringe hacks happening in the sewing world these days- check out #fringetophack on instagram for more!

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