The Ceylon Blouse

The Ceylon Blouse

So, before committing to the entire Ceylon dress, I figured I would try and squeeze just the bodice out of various scraps I have lying around. The nice thing about this bodice is it’s in so many little pieces, almost any little scraps will do. I wound up using (some of) the rest of the swirly-print herringbone wool and a bit of black linen I picked up at the thrift store ages ago that was really too small for almost anything. Well, obviously not since I managed to line the entire blouse with it.

Now, I have a bit of a propensity for colour-blocking, and when you combine that with

Ceylon with suitcase. Why? Cuz.

the almost bolero-looking cut of of the Ceylon yoke, well, it was bound to happen. I opted to do the sleeves, yokes, and midriff pieces out of the wool, with the “blousy” pieces in between just out of the black linen. Since I didn’t particularly want the wool against my skin, I decided to line those segments with more of the linen. And, since something about Ceylon almost demands it, I opted to pipe, as well. It adds a nice touch of colour to an otherwise grey-and-black garment.

On the upside, this gave me lots of new techniques to try. Making my own piping (I used dark-red bias binding and some dense wool yarn, both from stash*), and using piping period  (I followed this lovely tutorial). I got to try the “burrito technique” of attaching a double-layered back yoke so the shoulder and bottom yoke seams are all nicely enclosed. Worked like a charm :). I also tried a technique for clean-finishing facings I just read about from Beth of Sunny Gal Studios. which was nifty and makes a super-nice finish; then this morning I get up and discover a recent post by Pam Erny for a very similar finish, but with less bulk at the seam (although hers leaves some of the interfacing showing on the visible side of the facing—which could be undesirable depending on how attractive your interfacing is.) Oh, yes, and a massive, massive amount of seam-grading.

My construction order was a bit haphazard and very different from that given in the pattern, but between the piping and the lining (everything but the mid-back and bust pieces) it’s possibly the most nicely-finished garment I’ve made yet. The piping was actually fun, and a wee bit more forgiving of minor variations in my stitching than I had feared it might be. I did end up hand-stitching the lining of the sleeves to the bodice and the upper seam of the midriff-pieces lining, making for absolutely  ever seam in the piece being enclosed.

I took a crapload of construction pics, but really I think the posts I linked to above cover most of the techniques, so I will just give you a gallery of them to browse through at your leisure. Feel free to ask questions, tell me I’m on crack, etc.

Ceylon Blouse

Buttons are funny things. As construction proceeded to the point where I could start to try on the shirt, I became convinced that it was way too small, that I had completely misled myself into selecting the size 0, abetted by the give of my flannel muslin fabric. The linen, by contrast, had no give at all, and I was sure the resulting blouse was going to be, if not outright ridiculous, at least far too constricting for comfort.

It wasn’t until I had the buttons attached and could try it on normally that I felt at all relieved. It is very snug, and more restrictive than I’d like for everyday, but for an “occasion” dress it’s fine. The sleeves are about as narrow as my arms could comfortably take, but don’t make my hands go numb or anything, and the shoulder width looks good. I’m very glad I tweaked the shape of the front yoke right beside the neck, and lowered the neckline 1/2″.

Ceylon blouse, back

I did manage to remove the wrinkling at the back midriff by flaring out the upper portion of the midriff a bit more (at both CB and side seams). Curving the bottom of the main back piece so it is shorter in the middle worked perfectly to reduce the excess blouseiness (doubtless I took off a bit too much, again, for my different fabric). As to those diagonal wrinkles, well, we’ll see. I think I begin to understand the fix Sherry was suggesting for them, but I’ll have to give it a go on another project.

The bust doesn’t sit particularly nicely, partly because there isn’t enough ease and partly because of the fairly crisp fabric. I would venture to say it fits about as well as in most of the other versions I’ve seen of it, though, which I suppose is good enough. There’s still some gaping on the left side top, which I suspect is the result of my left breast being smaller. It’s not such a big difference that I usually notice, but this style seems to emphasize it. Fortunately I was mostly able to compensate for it by clever positioning of my buttons—the topmost is considerably to the left of the rest of the row but you can’t see that when it’s closed.

And one more time...

So all in all, it was a great learning experience—lots of new techniques and construction to think through. Next version I make I will have to do some serious considering about sizing and my fabric and where I want to wear it—if it’s a crisp, firm fabric and I want to wear the dress every day, I should go up to the size 2 (possibly with SBA, probably with shortening in the upper torso). If it’s a soft fabric with some give, or a stretch woven, I could probably make the 0 again.

I do feel like I should apologize to Sarai, Colette’s designer, though. Everyone raves about her instructions, and they are lovely—I just haven’t ever followed them yet.

More photos in the Flickr Gallery

Whew! That was a lot of sewing for one weekend! And I still have to finish tracing off my pattern for the men’s shirt sewalong…

* Yes, despite the fact that my knitting education was highly truncated and I have never so much as learned to cast on, I have a yarn stash. I have even, as I think I once confessed to Sigrid though I can’t find the comment now, been known to buy souvenir yarn while travelling. In my defense, it’s not a large yarn stash, and some of it has proven useful in dance costuming over the years… but, er, yeah.



Filed under Sewing

47 responses to “The Ceylon Blouse

  1. Wow! Looks wonderful. It´s so funny though, because I´m also finishing a blouse version of Ceylon right about now! Love the pattern, and it easily adjusts into a blouse. Yours looks gorgeous! 🙂

  2. I like the corset-y effect that the color blocking creates and the piping is a real swell idea. And with the circle skirt, you’ve made yourself a fake dress! Well done.

  3. This is gorgeous! I love the layered look you created with the different fabrics.
    Great job…as usual.

  4. What a great outfit!!! I really like this pattern as a blouse. I also really like your colorblock idea. I passed up this pattern as I didn’t think it was me, but the colorblock makes it much more appealing…

  5. I think it looks great. To be honest, this pattern doesn’t really resonate with me. (I don’t think it would suit my shape.) But this does work on you so well. And I love your colour blocking – adorable and eco-friendly.

  6. I love the piping and colorblocking. Actually, I love the look of colorblocking, but I’m usually too much of a wuss to try it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. very snappy outfit, love the top with the skirt.

  8. This looks amazing on you! Amazing. I love that you made it a blouse. I now officially want to make a circle skirt. And a petticoat.

  9. CGCouture

    Love it! I really like the “color blocking” effect that you ended up with, probably better than the solid versions that I’ve seen floating around. Very cool!

  10. wow that looks amazing (as usual!)! i love the red piping and the overall “dress” effect with the circle skirt….so elegant and fun at the same time 🙂

  11. Nice outfit.
    Glad my yoke burrito tutorial worked for ya!

  12. So cute! You’re very photogenic as well. 🙂 Not jealous at all. LOL

  13. I really love this “blouse” on you but now I’m a little worried. Our figures are pretty much opposite, so if it looks good on you, could it look good on me too?
    Hmm, maybe one day …

  14. LOVE THIS!!! SO AMAZING!!!!!

  15. I love the top of Ceylon with a fuller skirt on you, you should definitely add godets for your dress version! And I’m also very fond of the bolero/corset effect of the color-block. A very dainty look!

  16. I really like the idea of making the Ceylon dress into a blouse, I really like what you’ve done! You’ve inspired me to make another ceylon but as a blouse this time!

  17. Wow, great job!! I have sone serious blouse envy! I think you’ve convinced me that I NEED that pattern!!

  18. You are awesome! How do you manage to find the time? Also, thanks for the links on the piping, as I want to do some on a bolero/cropped jacket thingie on my “to do” list!

  19. Wow, just wow! The colour blocking really shows of the different parts of the blouse so well :)! Maybe if you made another one in medium weight cotton in a size 2 (or half-way between a 2-4) and extended the sleeves/made them wider too … you’d then have an sweet little cropped jacket to wear over a cute sleeveless t-shirt/camisole in summer?

  20. Your blouse version of Ceylon is AMAZING! I LOVE it!

  21. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice. Make me one.

  22. Really nice. The piping and color-blocking really add something. I am pretty amazed at your ability to cram so many techniques into one garment! Thanks for the links. I remember your comment and with a bit of searching found it (As you say, it wasn’t easy).

  23. wow you have been sooooo productive lately, where on earth are you finding the time to get all this done?!
    love the ceylon top with full skirt, and the colour blocking really makes it pop, @Claire (aka Seemane)’s idea of using a bigger version as a over-top is genius 🙂
    (p.s. nice old school suitcase!)

    • Well, we did get like 10″ of snow last weekend. Leaving the house was not exactly high on the priority list. 😉

      The suitcase is awesome, isn’t it? It came as a hand-me-down. The kids mostly use it, but I thought it might make for a fun prop…

  24. Joy

    This turned out really nice with the piping and colorblocking. It looks like you got a pretty decent fit. And how versatile the Ceylon has just become – it’s a dress AND a blouse.

  25. This is SO awesome! Like K-line, this pattern hasn’t resonated, but you’ve done it proud – and I LOVE the look of the fake-dress with the full skirt!

    Burrito method! That’s the same method in the Negroni instructions (I think, from a quick perusal of the pics on the link) that I referenced that I was CERTAIN I was doing incorrectly! It’s magic!

    Doesn’t it feel great to do all that awesome finishing? I just read the facing trick on Pam’s blog and am eager to try it!

    • Didn’t resonate? C’mon, midriff panel! And you could totally pull off the little puff shoulders. It’d be adorable on you. Granted the fitting would be a pain in the arse, but we know you’re up to it.

      I officially think that facing trick is the best thing since sliced bread. 🙂

  26. I just did that facing thing on Beth’s recommendation as well and it is awesome!

    LOVE your Ceylon. The color blocking really works. I am sort of tempted, but I just don’t think Colette will fit me without major surgery (either me or the pattern).

    • Thank you! I was actually surprised at how well the fitting worked out for me—I am hardly their typical body type either, but I actually had to undo some of my preemptive alterations.

  27. Ali

    Damn lady, I blink and you’ve another finished object 😉

    What I love is that you’ve made this your own — so unique! Blouse, color-blocked, rockin’ it. Thanks for sharing the torso adjustments, I need to go back and read that carefully since I have so many torso-fitting issues.

    • Feel free to email me about the fitting if you have any questions—we do seem to have a lot of the same issues :). Make sure to check my post on the muslin for this, too, as it includes a bit more info on my first round of changes.

  28. Sewista Fashionista

    What a good idea to make a blouse separate for fitting. Your outfit looks terrific!

  29. Pingback: What I made this month: January « delfinelise

  30. I LOVE your Ceylon blouse, the colour blocking looks amazing. I have this pattern too and I’ve seen so many great versions, I can’t believe I haven’t started it yet, but I’ll get there eventually 🙂

  31. This looks wonderfully elegant on you!

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  33. Pingback: What I made this month: January | delfinelise

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