Pendrell Sew-Along #16: Finishing the Blouse

Hello Sew-Alongers! It’s a great day, it’s Friday, and today we’re finishing up our blouses! Just in time to wear out this weekend, if you’re fast. Or, wear it to work on Monday, to start the week off in style. So let’s get to it!

Today, we’ll be sewing our Sleeve Ruffles to the armhole, if you’re making View B. After that, we’ll add the armhole binding, which is sewn on just like the neck binding. We’ll sew up the side seams, hem the blouse, and we’re done!

This is a long post, especially if you’re making View B! But now you’ll have all the photos and tips you need to finish it up this weekend.

Need to get caught up on Sew-Along posts? Here are links to the earlier posts:

You’ll need your half-constructed blouse, your armhole binding pieces, and your sleeve ruffles if you’re making View B.

Take your blouse, and open it out flat, right side facing up. If you’re not making the ruffled version, skip ahead to the armhole binding step.

Match up the centre notch of the seam ruffle with the shoulder seamline on the blouse, and pin through all layers.

Pin the ends of the seam ruffle to the blouse, ending at the notches. Hint: It’s easier to adjust the gathers, if you pin the ruffle with the longer, bobbin-threads facing up, so you can find the threads to pull easily!

Pin in between the ends, using as many pins as you need to feel comfortable.

Repeat with the other side.

Baste the ruffle to the body, adjusting the gathers. If you need to pull them up a little to fit, pull up the bobbin threads as shown.

Here’s what it should look like after the sleeve ruffles are attached:

Another angle:

Ok! If you’re making View A and C, jump in here! Take your armhole binding pieces, and fold them in half lengthwise.

Give them a gentle press with the iron, and baste 1/4″ (6mm) from the raw edge. This basting is just to keep the binding folded, in case you were wondering!

Take the folded binding pieces, and pin them to the armhole of your blouse. If you’re not sure which is the front and back, compare the binding pieces to your pattern pieces, looking for the notches to show you which way to line up the binding.

Pin the armhole binding to the shoulder seam, matching the notch to the seamline. Pin the ends of the binding to the ends of the armhole, aligning the edges.

Put as many pins as you like in between, and get ready to sew on the armhole binding.

Sew binding to armhole, taking a 5/8″ (1.5cm) seam allowance. I find it easier to line up the folded edge of the binding with the opposite side of the presser foot, so that it’s even.

Once the binding is sewn, trim seam allowance to 1/4″ (6mm). If you remember sewing on your neck binding, these steps are very similar! Easier, perhaps, since you’re working flat instead of in a circle.

Fold the binding to the inside and press lightly.

Pin binding to inside, like so. It should lie flat as you pin it, not sticking up at all either to the front or back. Give the binding more ease around the curves, it shouldn’t be pulled tightly or there’s a chance it will ‘rope’ – roping is what happens to create diagonal wrinkles and strain lines along the binding.

Sew binding to armhole, stitching close to the fold with the wrong side of the blouse facing you.

Once you’re done, give the binding a press to set the stitches, and to smooth out the binding. Here’s a close-up shot, showing the right side and wrong side of the binding:

Now, we’re going to sew up our side seams! Still with me? It’s a lot of photos, but when you sew it yourself, it will seem much faster! (Hopefully!)

Start under the armhole, and pin the sideseam together, right sides together, lining up the finished binding edges. This is the most important part of our sideseam! We constructed our armhole binding flat, but now we need to make sure the sideseam lines up perfectly, as we can’t change the binding.

Side note: When I wrote the instructions, I decided it was more important to make the armhole binding easier, by constructing it flat, and then sewing up the side seam. Alternately, you could sew the sideseam, and then add the armhole binding like we did for the neck binding. But it’s harder to sew the armhole binding this way and has a tendency to stick out around the lower curves.

Pin the rest of the sideseam, lining up the hemline.

Sew side seams, and finish the seam allowances. Before you do finish the seam allowances, check to make sure the top edge of the sideseam, right under the armhole, lines up perfectly. If it doesn’t, rip it out and re-adjust it so the edge is straight. (Otherwise, you’ll have this little crooked bit under your arm – not cute! It’s worth taking time to do an inch of unpicking to get it right.)

Now we’re going to tack the sideseam to the armhole, so it stays put, facing the back. Fold the seam allowances towards the back. If you have any serging tails, tuck them into the folded seam allowance so they’re out of the way.

With the seam allowances folded to the back, take a few machine stitches up and down to tack the seam allowances in place. I stopped the tack at the armhole binding topstitching, and backstitched up and down, keeping the stitching above the stitching line for a tidy look.

All we have left to do is the hem!

I like to hem my blouse by serging the hemline, and then stitching the hem twice for a finished look. I’m always going to wear my blouse tucked in, so the hem really doesn’t matter. I want it to be strong and never need to be re-stitched. You can hem your blouse any way you like!

Finish the bottom edge, and press up the hem allowance. This is a good time to try on the blouse, and see if you want to shorten the length at all. If you do, simply trim off the extra and make your hem at the new length.

I stitched my hem once, and then turned it over to the right side of the blouse to sew the second row of stitching. That way, I can use the first row of stitching as a guide! I lined up the edge of my presser foot and stitched a second row around the hem.

Lastly, give your blouse a final press. Here’s a little finishing cheat-sheet:

  • Press side seams towards the back
  • Press princess seams towards centre
  • Press hem from the wrong side, to avoid show-through of the serging on the right side of the blouse
  • Remove any visible basting or edgestitching (carefully!)

That’s it! You’re done! A pretty finished blouse in less than a month, if you’ve followed the sew-along steps exactly. Go take pictures, and post them in the Sewaholic Patterns Flickr Group!

I know there are a TON of Pendrells finished so far, all around the world! So exciting! I’ve been collecting the links and hope to share some of them next week. If you’re finished your blouse, leave a link below in the comments to your post! I’d love to round up as many as possible and share them on my blog, if that’s OK with you guys.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll try and get some photos of the new blouse modelled, and finish up some of the other ones. (Maybe you can finish up your blouses while the Super Bowl is on?) Whatever you’re up to, hope it’s a good one!

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18 Responses to Pendrell Sew-Along #16: Finishing the Blouse

  1. Rachel February 4, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    Quick question: why have to chosen not to press the fold of you ruffle and sleeve?

  2. Tasia February 4, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    Hi Rachel! On the draped sleeve, I like the softer, unpressed edge better. It feels more drapey and relaxed to me! Plus, being on the bias means that it can shift and move around, and if I pressed a hard crease then it wouldn’t look nice if I move around, and the crease kind of stays put. And, this polyester material doesn’t press or crease nicely anyways! So I left it alone.
    On the ruffled one, it’s the same thing. I like the slightly puffy, softer ruffles to be left unpressed. It all depends on the fabric choice though! If I had a Liberty cotton lawn, then I’d probably press the ruffles in half for sharper, crisper ruffles.

    The short answer is – personal preference! You can press or not press, whatever you prefer :)

  3. daiyami February 4, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    A twin needle would work for the hem, right? rather than stitching around twice? Or are most of these fabrics too lightweight for a twin needle?

  4. Brumby February 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Looks great Tasia, once again I LOVE that fabric, should you ever get sick of it I will gladly take it off your hands. Cannot wait to seem more of the Pendrell’s!

  5. Tasia February 4, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    @daiyami: Hi! Sure you could use a twin needle if you have one! I’d test it on a folded piece of scrap fabric to get the tension right and to be sure you like the way it looks. It would be faster than sewing the hem twice, that’s for sure!

    @Brumby: Thank you!! I used it all up, the fabric I mean.. but if I come across it again I’ll definitely let you know!

  6. Fay V February 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Hey Tasia,
    I have finished my blouse!! Thank you so so much for your super duper sew along, your instructions are wonderful. Just following them and completing something myself has given me a real boost in confidence. I’ve uploaded a couple of photos onto flickr
    – I hate photos of myself but I am so proud of my first sew along completed item, I thought I’d make a special effort : )
    I lowered the neckline a fair bit as my bust is quite large and I felt it was more flattering. I also added length to the actual blouse so that I could wear it as a tunic – I added 4 1/2 inches.
    I so enjoyed sewing it and I wore it to my youngest’s 2nd birthday party today- 2 of my friends asked me to make one for them!
    Thank you Tasia – please do another sew along soon!

  7. Becky February 6, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    I finished up my blouse yesterday–was a few posts behind, but I had a free day. So I have it posted here: *click*

    Still trying to decide how I feel about the ruffles on me, but I enjoyed seeing this pattern come together–your directions were awesome! Thanks for holding the sewalong!

  8. Debbie February 6, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    I finished view A tonight and view B should be complete tomorrow night. I have posted a few pics.

    Thanks so much for a great sew-a-long. i really enjoyed it and am looking forward to your next pattern.

  9. Natalia February 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    Hello Tasia

    well done on your good news! I whipped up my first pendrell blouse today (I suspect there will be more) and despite it being the first item of clothing I have ever made it was really straightforward and enjoyable. I referred back to your sewalong for tips on the bias binding but otherwise I was able to get through with the pattern instructions alone.

    What a clever little monkey you are! :o)

    There are pics of my efforts here I think I will be doing the plain version next – I particularly liked your lace idea!


    Natalia :o)

  10. Bri February 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    A great pattern and fabulous to show off such a gorgeous print.

  11. auzzi February 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    I finished my blouse yesterday so that I could wear it today. It was my first garment project and I am pretty happy with the results. I just wanted to say thanks to you, Tasia for your INDISPENSABLE advice, tutorials and instructions. I am very very proud of my blouse and am already planning my next pendrell (i’m going to do a sleeveless silk version and am going to try to hand dye silk with a shibori technique!). Congratulations on your good news!… but will we be seeing the sneak peek of sewaholic pattern #2 sometime soon?

  12. Tasia February 7, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Yay! This is awesome, thanks everyone for leaving links to your finished blouse posts and pictures! It’s amazing to see it all come together. I’m so happy to hear that all of the tutorials, tips, and walk-throughs of the sewing steps were useful to you! I am LOVING seeing how you style your blouses, too. (And taking notes for future outfit ideas!)

    @auzzi: Yes! You will see a peek of pattern #2 soon. Just a few little details to finalize, and then I’ll have something to share!

  13. Sue February 8, 2011 at 2:54 am #

    Thank you Tasia! You’ve been a wonderful host for the blouse sew-along, I’ve enjoyed it very much and will definitely be making more Pendrell blouses. I finished my first one, a sleeveless version today.

  14. Kim February 8, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    I finally blogged about my version, after finishing it almost two weeks ago: Don’t worry, I waited nowhere near that long to wear it!

    I’m wondering if I’m the only one who had problems with the neckhole being too small? I didn’t think I had an oversized head, but I could barely get the blouse on before I added a keyhole opening.

    @auzzi: A shibori-dyed Pendrell sounds gorgeous!

  15. julia February 10, 2011 at 4:31 am #

    Thanks for the wonderdul sew-along, I just posted pics of mine on Flickr and a little review on my blog.

  16. Reana February 14, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    Hi Tasia! Thank you again so much for the sew-along, this was my first blouse and I’m so proud that I’ve completed it! I put up a photo on my blog
    Thanks again! I’m already looking forward to making the next one :)

  17. Angela February 14, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    Hello Tasia,
    I was wondering if you have ever top stitched along the princess seams on a Pendrell? I’m feeling like my shoulder ruffles might be more “fixed” if the seam was stitched down…any thoughts??


  18. Tasia February 25, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    @Angela: Hi Angela, sorry I missed responding to this comment for so long! I haven’t topstitched along the princess seams personally, but that would help to keep the ruffles down. I would be concerned about having perfect stitching down the seamlines, but it all depends on your fabric and if it has a print on it, if there’s a print the stitching will be less obvious.
    Another thing you can do is tack the princess seam at the shoulder – stitch in the ditch of the shoulder seam, with the seam allowance pressed towards the centre, and stitch for about half an inch in the ditch of the shoulder seam. Nothing will show on your garment, but it will keep the ruffle from ‘flipping’ to the inside. Does that make sense or should I take some photos for an example?