The runways and high street have been bombarded with the ruffle trend for some time now; the addition of a humble strip of gathered or pleated fabric gives shirts and dresses an injection of drama that’s nothing short of fabulous.
I’ve been eyeing up other seamstresses’ versions of the Nina Lee Bloomsbury Blouse and decided I had to get in on this trend. This pattern gives various options so you can go as dramatic as you fancy, with wide or slim ruffles along the front and back yokes, and you can choose to go with or without ruffles on the cuffs and collar. I thought I’d go ‘out out’ and cut the biggest ruffles!
When first cutting it can look a bit daunting - there are lots of pieces, but fear not! As always, Nina’s instructions take you through each step methodically and clearly so it all makes sense. I had to put my pattern tetris powers to good use but I managed to cut the biggest ruffle options on just under 2 metres of fabric. And what a fabric to use. I chose this beautiful Sevenberry spotty cotton lawn which was a dream to cut and sew.
The bodice of the blouse has a relaxed fit and you join up the bodice and sleeves before adding the yoke, and at this point it looked huge; I was really worried I’d accidentally cut a size too big but once the yoke was in it fit perfectly. Part of the reason for the illusion of enormity is the yoke, and therefore the ruffle, sits right at the edge of the shoulder, a lovely feature that makes it differ from other shirts.
It took me a while to come round to the ruffle trend and I so wish I’d started sooner, they’re oddly satisfying to make! The long ruffle across the front and back is an absolute beast - 2.5 metres to turn, press and stitch, so it’s not quick, but it was the perfect opportunity to zone out and focus on one thing making it the ultimate sewing therapy.
There’s so much inspiration around for ways to interpret this blouse, and I initially went for full-on drama and cut the biggest main ruffle, plus neck and sleeve ruffles. However, I made a last minute decision to omit the neck ruffle - if I even think about looking down I get a double chin, so a high neckline is not the thing for me!
The blouse finishes with a button-up back, another gorgeous detail and I used some floral buttons to complement but clash with the spotty fabric. When I tried on the finished blouse the drama of it was unavoidable! Sadly, something didn’t feel quite right with the sleeves; they sat at an awkward length on me so I chopped them off and left off the sleeve ruffle, letting the huge one on the bodice do all the talking.
There seems to be a trend for ‘quick makes’ in sewing, which although satisfying at times, it isn’t what sewing is about for me. This shirt isn’t a 'quick win', but if you want something special, unique and dramatic, this is for you. This is a mega blouse. And it’s brilliant.
Thanks Alice xx