Hot! A Common Thread:
The Daring Secretary Blouse by Sarai M.

When we met Sarai a couple weeks ago during the Spring Palette Challenge/Colette Patterns theme, we couldn’t say enough great things about her pattern line. Colette Patterns are truly fantastic and a mirror of a remarkably talented gal. Here, Sarai takes the lace in a crazy creative way and the results are just fabulous! Thanks for participating, Sarai!


The Facts:

image from Fabric: Swiss-made cotton (sort of a silky, more textured batiste?), ~$11. Silk gazar, $4
Pattern: Simplicity 1905, from my stash
Year: 1946
Notions: 6 buttons (from my stash), some extra lace (from my stash)
TIme to complete: 12 hours, maybe more.
Wear again?: Yes
Total cost: About $15

I wanted to do something a little different with the lace Mena sent. While lovely, the lace is delicate, narrow, and scalloped on one side. In other words, it’s clearly meant to be an edge trim. I wanted to figure out a way to make it the center of attention instead. I decided to lay the lace on an illustion neckline, interspersed with piping, surface cording, and some additional lace in the same ivory color. My inspiration came from one of my favorite mid-century Ready To Wear designers, Peggy Hunt, the master of the illustion neckline.


Here’s the lace! As you can see, it’s meant to be sewn along a hem or in a seam. But I didn’t let that stop me. I just placed it side by side on the yoke to give it a different look.


I used a vintage pattern that I’ve made before, since it already had the chevron yoke I wanted, but I raised the yoke up a couple of inches so it wouldn’t be quite so daring.


The fabric is a swiss-made cotton that has a bit of a silky sheen to it, and the backing for the illusion yoke is a light tan silk gazar. If you’re not familiar with silk gazar, it’s similar to organza but stiffer and has a more open weave, like crinoline or a stiffer tulle. I sewed the lace in strips to the gazar, then hand sewed cording between the rows.



I made some bias tape and used it three ways in this blouse: as a binding on the neckline, as piping between the yoke and blouse front, and as surface cording between the rows of lace. If you’re interested in learning how to do surface cording, Rachel wrote a fantastic tutorial on the Colette Patterns blog. It’s a really fun and versatile vintage-style embellishment.






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  1. I love this color mixed with the lace! It’s so lovely!

  2. Holy wow. The detail is beautiful. Amazing sewing!

  3. Wow! Fantastic! What a brilliant use of lace!

  4. It looks gorgeous! I have that pattern too and have always wanted to make it. Yours is just stunning. :)

  5. I can just see this on my mother. She taught me to sew and pay attention to the details. She would have loved this.

  6. SO BEAUTIFUL! Wow…this is such a wonderful blouse! Love surface cording! Thanks also for the link to the Peggy Hunt flickr group–I think I have a new favorite designer!

  7. I love the detailing you have done on this blouse – very clever, with stunning results.

  8. It’s utterly stunning! So gorgeous! The color of the blouse along with such a fantastic embellishment make this such an unbelievable piece! Beautiful work Sarai!

  9. Thanks! I really love the color too. It’s one of those shades that’s so flattering on everyone!

  10. I’ve also made the one with fagoting! It’s very pretty as well, and I love the sleeves on it.

  11. Details are my favorite part! I thought this was a great excuse to try out some heirloom sewing techniques with the lace..

  12. Isn’t her work amazing? I own a Peggy Hunt dress, and it’s really stunning, even apart from the fancy details. Just really well crafted.

  13. Thanks Sunni! It was really fun to work on.

  14. Lovely! I love the color and that pattern is too cute!
    I really want to try surface cording now.

  15. margueritedesigns

    I really like this because I’m inspired now. I bought a piece of, can only describe it as, ‘antique green’ looking fabric, printed with a faded creamy/brown floral from a charity shop last week and thought it might look good with some ‘old’ looking lace. Now I know it will! Love this blouse!

  16. I LOVE this so much! Love that you sewed the lace on gazar and completed the look with cording. With the color combination and texture, the blouse is so beautiful!

  17. This is just too adorable for words. I love me an illusion neckline- thanks for sharing your tips!

  18. just, utterly beautifull.

  19. Thanks for being so detailed in your explainations Sarai, I’ve never even imagined how to build up a yoke that way, so it’s just so amazing to see these kind of techniques in your photos!
    Using the fabric in those 3 different ways makes it even more polished! YIKES!

  20. All the details in this blouse are fascinating…it is like something out of Threads, only much more stylish! The color is gorgeous too!

  21. Wow. What an amazing effect using the bias strip gives. Thanks for sharing.
    Ta Meagan