Go to content Go to navigation Go to highlighted projects Go to contact

Manequim silk birthday blouse

25 March 2011, 12:49

I love this blouse!

It all started in Paris last June when I saw this amazingly gorgeous silk satin (charmeuse) in Tissues Dreyfus that I just had to have. But it was €22/m (zoot alors!) so I only bought 1 metre. But even now I still love it love it love it love it so it was worth it worth it worth it!

Ever since, I kept my eyes open for a good blouse pattern that only needed 1 metre of fabric, and along came Manequim Feb 2011 #158, which called for exactly the amount I had – 1 metre long and 150cm wide!

These two were clearly meant to be together! I don’t often do prints, but this one is just so gorgeous with the psuedo-floral/paint splatters of silver, black, orange, and fuschia that I wanted it to form both the centrepiece of my March Mini Wardrobe as well as be my special birthday garment this year!

Here it is paired with my NY-Lon jeans:

As you would expect for a silk blouse, all the seams here are french seamed to prevent fraying. Except the centre back seam, that is, because I needed to cut the back pieces against the selvedge instead of on the fold due to my fabric being only 140cm wide instead of 150cm. Having this edge on the (non-fraying) selvedge means I can do a regular seam here, which is super lightweight and hopefully less noticeable.

Here’s Manequim’s suggested layout diagram, where they have the back on the fold:

With my fabric being slightly narrower, I had to put one of the back pieces on the left and one on the right of the main front piece.

As you can also see, there aren’t any shoulder seams, but instead the front extends over to meet the back to form something like raglan seams back there, but the sleeves are really more like loose cap sleeves. All in all, this makes for a super comfortable, super flattering, basic pullover blouse!

You totally don’t need the slit and button opening in the back like Manequim suggest – the neckline is plenty wide enough to even go over my pumpkin of a head!

Eliminating these also makes the finishing of the neckline, sleeves, and hem much easier, too. I ditched the front and back facings and just did a doubly-turned over hem and sleeve hems, and on the neckline I did a narrow bias edge, which gives an easy, clean finish with far less bulk than a facing, and guaranteed to never flip out!

My favourite feature of this blouse is the pleat detail:

I just love the asymmetric pleat on this top! It looks a bit intimidating on the pattern piece, but I took the extra time to mark this really well before removing the paper pattern from the fabric. First I thread-traced around all the edges of the pattern piece at the pleated area with some silk basting thread. Then I cut into the pattern along each of the the pleat lines, and basted along those with the silk thread, too. Then it was just a matter of pinning all the pleats together and then sewing that central seam (which I also made as a French seam). The nice thing about silk basting thread is that it just slides out in one go when you’re done, so I didn’t need to get the seam ripper anywhere near my precious fabric!

I totally love this blouse pattern so much that I’m strongly considering folding it up and taking it with me when we go to France at Easter so I can make it again if I come across a good, wide 1 metre of fabric for it, so I can make it then and there!

This is the third of my finished garments for my March Mini Wardrobe, and hopefully you’ll get to see my leather skirt next week before I run out of time!

Oh, and if you hadn’t been keeping track, I am 32 years old today!

I always make myself something nice and special to wear for my birthday each year…

Past Birthdays

31st – LMB draped birthday dress in teal silk jersey:

30th – Green silk birthday dress using a Burda magazine pattern a emerald green silk satin:

29th – A bolero and jeans, on which I put the outline of the Thames on the back pockets, and lined the bolero with some vintage apron fabric from my Granny:

28th – I was homeless and living out of a suitcase in my boyfriend’s parents’ house, watching the Shipping Forecast every single day, hoping for good weather to sail our boat across the North Sea. My sewing machine was in storage, so I couldn’t make a new outfit, and frankly, ALL I wanted was for our boat to arrive. And it did, on the evening of my birthday.

27th – New Look 6429 in a fun sparkly knit from Walthamstow Market (and then about three days later decided to lose all that excess weight for good!).

26th – (probably the first year I was really into sewing) my favourite vest pattern with a red vinyl square neckband:

Does anyone else share the same birthday sewing tradition?

tags: , , ,


  1. What a beautiful top! And you’re right, that is an outstanding fabric!! Thanks for sharing your birthday outfit photos, that’s a neat tradition.

    IowaHoodlum    Mar 25, 01:08 PM    #
  2. Oh I do love a Silk print and this one is beautiful . You look so well Melissa have a great birthday :-))

    lisa    Mar 25, 01:20 PM    #
  3. The fabric is to die for and the pleat detail is great too. It’s a beautiful blouse.

    Karin    Mar 25, 01:21 PM    #
  4. I live in the US and I NEED a subscription to this. Your blouse is beautiful and I’ve been looking for a pattern like that for a long time. How do I get my hands on this? :)

    — adrienne    Mar 25, 01:27 PM    #
  5. Happy Birthday :)

    — adrienne    Mar 25, 01:28 PM    #
  6. I love it! Happy birthday!

    Lakaribane    Mar 25, 01:32 PM    #
  7. I love the blouse and happy birthday. Your birthday makes look like a great way of tracking your different stages in life. How lovely.

    karen    Mar 25, 01:52 PM    #
  8. I love this top. The fabric is beautiful!!! It also looks great on you. good work. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Love seeing all of your past B-day outfits!!

    DD    Mar 25, 02:18 PM    #
  9. Happy Birthday! This blouse is a perfect present to yourself — I completely agree that the fabric is worth it, worth it, worth it! (Especially when combined with this lovely blouse pattern.) Thanks for posting the layout diagram, I just might challenge myself to try to draft a pattern like this.

    — Olga    Mar 25, 02:34 PM    #
  10. What a lovely blouse! Happy birthday! Every year, I keep meaning to make something for my birthday, but never get around to it. Perhaps this year!

    Reethi    Mar 25, 03:41 PM    #
  11. Happy birthday!
    Love your blouse and it looks great on you!

    — Teddie    Mar 25, 04:12 PM    #
  12. Happy birthday! That print looks great on you – and you’re looking fab on your birthday!

    Nancy    Mar 25, 04:14 PM    #
  13. wow that silk is gorgeous. You look so chic and it is great to see your fashion evolve over the years. You look better than ever. Happy 32!
    Birthday sewing, yes! I am usually in Hawaii for my birthday at the end of summer so I always have a dress, preferably of the type that makes me feel “I’ve still got it!”

    Beth (Sunnygal Studio)    Mar 25, 04:50 PM    #
  14. Happy birthday, Melissa! The top is gorgeous, and I love all of your birthday tradition pieces!

    — Sara    Mar 25, 05:01 PM    #
  15. Have a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope it is wonderful.

    — Kelly    Mar 25, 05:44 PM    #
  16. Very pretty top Melissa! Making something wonderful for yourself for your birthday is a great idea. We should all do that.
    A very happy birthday!

    Kim Hood    Mar 25, 05:45 PM    #
  17. Happy Birthday!! I love your tradition, and once again you’ve chosen a really nice item. If a print really grabs you like that, you have to go for it. How fabulous would that peeking out under a jacket? Great with your new jeans, of course. Your mini wardrobe will be gorgeous!

    — M Kate    Mar 25, 05:59 PM    #
  18. Happy Bday! The blouse is beautiful. It is very flattering. I love the asymmetrical pleat detail too.

    Rebecca    Mar 25, 06:44 PM    #
  19. Happy Birthday! Lovely blouse—classic and classy! The silk and the pattern are a perfect match!

    Lynda in LV    Mar 25, 09:33 PM    #
  20. Happy birthday Melissa!

    That blouse is beautiful, and you are looking really well in yourself too :-)

    Lucy    Mar 25, 10:03 PM    #
  21. Happy Birthday – I love your outfits are wonderful. Great style.

    — Lisa    Mar 25, 11:22 PM    #
  22. That fabric is GORGEOUS, you did a great job. I love the pleat detail, subtle but beautiful. Have a very happy birthday :)

    Karen    Mar 25, 11:25 PM    #
  23. Happy Birthday Melissa! Your top is gorgeous… you should try more prints it looks really good on you, and can’t wait to see the skirt :)

    Claire (aka Seemane)    Mar 25, 11:45 PM    #
  24. Happy happy birthday! Your top is absolutely gorgeous and you look gorgeous in it!

    Angela    Mar 26, 03:38 AM    #
  25. Happy birthday! This pattern was a perfect use of 1m of fabric. It is much more flattering on you than on the models too.

    — JenL    Mar 26, 04:52 AM    #
  26. Happy birthday Melissa! I love your recap of past birthday outfits! And the Manequim top is superb – that was the pattern that so stood out from that issue and it looks lovely, particularly in that gorgeous fabric.

    Jacquie    Mar 26, 11:32 AM    #
  27. Happy birthday! You continue to look gorgeous!

    — Sharon    Mar 26, 02:21 PM    #
  28. Very pretty blouse!The pink and orange are great colors for you.

    Happy Birthday!

    Joy    Mar 26, 06:27 PM    #
  29. Gorgeous blouse! You look great, happy birthday.

    Uta    Mar 26, 08:12 PM    #
  30. Happy birthday! What a lovely gift to give yourself!

    melissa    Mar 27, 02:38 AM    #
  31. Happy, happy birthday! You keep getting better every year! Your blouse is gorgeous, and very flattering.

    Gwen    Mar 27, 01:31 PM    #
  32. I can’t believe I missed your birthday all the while we’ve been emailing back and forth! So sorry! Hope you had a great birthday Melissa. I love your blouse!! You look stunning. Happy belated Birthday!!

    Isabelle    Mar 27, 07:37 PM    #
  33. PS: Oh, and to answer your question, I do have the same tradition! I always make something special for my birthday too. :)

    Isabelle    Mar 27, 08:56 PM    #
  34. Happy Birthday Melissa! :) I love your birthday top, I’ve been considering this pattern and a similar one in Patrones for a quick sewing fix but I wasn’t sure about how it would look on me. You look fabulous and you chose great fabric, I am sold. Love the new hair cut too xx

    kaitui_kiwi    Mar 28, 03:56 AM    #
  35. Hope you had a great birthday. Your top is absolutely fabulous, you’re right that the pattern and fabric were made for each other.

    allisonC    Mar 28, 04:54 AM    #
  36. Great top, and sorry I missed your birthday! Hope it was awesome. Love this retrospective of past birthday outfits.

    Nadia    Mar 29, 08:03 PM    #
  37. Happy birthday Melissa !
    I love your top !
    I, too share your birthday sewing tradition, besides sharing the same birthday :-)

    lasandrou    Apr 6, 04:07 PM    #
  38. can we sub to your blog through email? it would be great; if we can, i missed it … darlene

    — darlene    Mar 23, 12:51 AM    #

Add a comment:

  Textile help