With my family reunion coming up, I knew I’d have to have some cool blouses handy to beat the sticky Nebraska and Iowa heat that happens in July.  I’ve had this tiny black gingham in my stash for a while, and I knew it’d be appropriate for hanging out on my aunt’s farm.

Burda 2-2007-109: Black gingham blouse

What I learned:

You too can fit a button down blouse!:  Button-down blouses are my nemesis.  I’ve never had one that fit me in the bust that wasn’t 8 sizes too big everywhere else.  Back in January when I wrote down my goals for the year, sewing a button-down was on my list.  As my starting point, I traced of the shoulder size that matched my shoulder point to shoulder point measurement the best after I measured the pattern.  I used to use my high bust measurement as Fit for Real People and other fitting books will tell you to do.  The problem is that my shoulders are narrower than this, so using my high bust measurement makes everything too big in the shoulders and neck, making things rather uncomfortable and generally awkward.

From there, I transitioned to the next size up 2.75″ below the armscye seam with a French curve.  2.75″ isn’t some random number–it’s precisely where the fullest part of my bust is.  I deepened the waist dart by 1″ via the seam method, and I sewed my side seams at 3/8″ instead of the 5/8″ that I had allowed for myself just to give myself a tiny bit more room to breathe.  Honestly, I don’t know why I’ve been avoiding button-down blouses until now because this was truly not that bad to fit at all.  It helps that Burda patterns are drafted for C cups instead of B…

Poofy sleeves:  I’ve never quite shared Anne Shirley’s opinion of puffed sleeves.  I’m not really sure why I don’t like them, I just never really have.  But these just seemed sweet to me.  And what with the excellent way that Burdas fit my arms, I knew they were worth a try.  I was not disappointed.  Maybe I can appreciate Anne’s tastes after all now.

Perseverance:  The only tricky part of making this blouse was the collar.  The stand does not go to the end of the band.  The front edges of the collar get sewn to the ends of the bands instead.  At first I thought I really messed up bigtime, but I read others’ reviews on PR and found that things were supposed to be like this.  Of course they were–I’ve never seen Burda make a 2 inch drafting error!  I reduced down my seam allowance on the collar, stand, and the neckline to 1/4″ to make things easier to move around.  I did a practice collar and got such noticeably better results by not sewing 5/8″ seams, that I will always use 1/4″ seams for collars in the future.  Once I had the collar+stand made, I basted it by hand to the neckline so it would be easier to control.  There is a band of bias that covers the collar seam on the inside.  I sewed with the basted side up and the bias on the bottom which made things very simple to manipulate.  I’m really glad I stuck it out with this collar.

As a teacher, perhaps one of the most exciting things to see is the process of your students puzzling through things that they might come to a point of understanding.  To see that growth in myself is no less exciting.

I’m pretty jazzed to have a blouse now that fits me so well and that will keep me cool in the summer heat.  Did I mention the buttons?

I love the little vintage feel that they have.  I’d love to make this up again with that vintage poly chiffon that I used for my niece’s Comfy Jumper dress, but I’m not sure about how to make it less sheer.  I’ll be thinking about this…

My full review of this pattern is here.


  1. Lovely blouse! I love the fabric and it fits perfectly–perfect for the farm visit! Excellent job!

  2. Very cute. Thanks to the black-and-white, without being too sweet. Nice!

  3. I <3 gingham! The blouse turned out perfectly, and I agree that the puffed sleeves are a perfect detail.
    I'm going to have to give the 1/4 seam allowance a try – I avoid sewing shirts like the plague, and as a result have oodles of adorable skirts but nothing to match!
    Have fun at the family reunion! Where abouts are you headed?

  4. wow…………i wish i was thin enough to carry this off:)
    thank you for your comment too!!!!!

  5. Lita Jones Reply

    Great job on the blouse. I noticed that you also have one of the buttons right on the bust line. That was one of the lessons I had to learn years ago so I didn’t have gaping on a button front. If yours was part of the design or planned it worked out great.

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