Sunday, March 16, 2014

Steam(punk)y Summer Blouse: An Experiment in Cutwork (Part II)


Firstly, I found a really, really, covetously lovely example of the same style of blouse I've set my sights upon.

DROOL! Here's the link...
Even if I had the money, and could somehow rationalize buying such a thing, it wouldn't fit my gigantic modern build. Well, not gigantic, I suppose. I'm not tall, just large. I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that a woman's bust can be the size of my rib cage/underbust. Tiny people, what's that about?

Anyway, this -as well as the other example- are composed of lace, rather than cutwork. (Although the 'eyelet' referred to in this blouse is more of what a cutwork would be). But I don't do the knitting thing, so definitely don't do the lace-making thing. However, I do do the embroidery thing, so I'm going to emulate this style, only in cutwork and maybe some purchased lace hem tape.


I do really like the shape of these blouses; the neckline, the volume that gets gathered into the fitted waistband, the little peplum/tails, the inset look of the center front piece. I know this was worn over the typical high-collared, long sleeved shirtwaists, but I've realized that high-collars make my round, round face look really big. And it's going to be July when I'm wearing this, so I claim 'steampunk' and am only wearing an overbust corset underneath.

For these pieces composed primarily of lace, they are obviously put together after the individual sections are made. However, with cutwork, and wanting my pattern to fill the allotted spaces (which I won't know the size/shape of until I start putting it together), I've decided to piece the blouse first and then to tailor my design to the shape of the blouse. However, the sleeves and the peplum pieces will have to be done first and then attached later. Because, the embroidery hoop will not fit in the finished sleeve very well, and the finished bodice will be gathered into the waistband.


Why do I sketch pieces first? As I go through the process of drawing the garment, putting in seams and decorative portions, considering the fit of it, I'm simultaneously thinking about how it will go together, how to design the pieces (alter certain patterns in my possession or draft from scratch), what measurements are needed,  etc.


Following my calculations in my concept sketch, I cut the pieces out of a white tone-on-tone stripe. They're basically just strips of various widths, with a little bit of shaping. The fit is mainly achieved through the gathering of the blouse at the front waist. The waistband will be the same hem lace used along the center back and center front pieces.

I did end up putting a button placket on the back left side, but will put the buttons and button holes in later.

I finished the peplum and sleeve pieces to the point to be emboirdered. I'll have to attach them to the rest of the blouse later. (And shape the sleeves a little?)

NEXT UP... Designing the Cutwork Embroidery


  1. You make everything look so easy! I'm looking forward to see wwhere this is going...

  2. When you walk us through this step-by-step, it seems almost do-able.

  3. I found your blog a while ago via craftster and just wanted to say hi :)

    I really like your Steampunk projects, and this costume looks like it's going to be wonderful. The idea for the blouse is great.

  4. This 'series' is great! I haven't really done very much needlework of any kind, other than sewing that is. My aunt does amazing's fascinating to see all her different projects. Yes, she often buys kits; but never completes a project exactly as outlined. It's more likely that perhaps 25-30% of the project will be as originally designed. Following your thought train on this is really interesting! I think you are like my aunt; she is both wildly creative and methodically minded. Art meets Math halfway.