Hot! The “I’ll Fly Away” Blouse

The Facts
Fabric: Lecien Memoire a Paris cotton lawn, $12/yd bought at my favorite local shop, Fancy Tiger Crafts
Pattern: BurdaStyle Alexander blouse
Year: 2011
Notions: 6 buttons ($2.50/button! eek!) But they are olive green! And oval!
Time to complete: 12 hours :(
First Worn: coffee date with Erica & Nahum
Wear again: Totally!

Total price: $43, unfortunately.


So I really wasn’t sure if I would like this shirt half way through making it. The fluttery sleeve-wings seemed HUGE every time I tried it on. I was worried that they would fly off with me. But, I was determined to like it. I LOVE THE FABRIC. It has every color I love in it: mustard yellow, peacock blue, olive green, burnt orange, and brown! And it is so so so soft. So I persevered and I’m really impressed with the final result. Also: oval buttons. I love them for some reason.

This is not a type of shirt that I would usually make or wear, but it works. I’ve got a personal challenge this year to make more blouses. I used to think that blouse = old lady. I guess that means I’m an old lady now that I want to wear more blouses. Actually, I just want more tops that I can wear with jeans and be comfortable but look cuter than in jeans and a t-shirt. This fits the bill!

I used the BurdaStyle Alexander blouse pattern. I did make a few changes after reading all the reviews. I lengthened the center front on one side by 2″ so as to avoid the dreaded gap. I added 2″ in length to the waist but I’m going to take those 2″ back out, my torso isn’t that long after all. And I added 3″ in length to the peplum. I did sew a center back seam instead of making it button up.

The pattern construction is pretty awesome, the sleeves are cut in one piece so they stay fluttery.

I’m not really sure why this shirt took me 12 freakin’ hours to complete, but it did. Probably because I got all OCD and insisted on finishing all the seams. French, flat-felled, this blouse has ’em all! I have a really bad tendency to get all nitpicky with my creations. If I’m going to be sewing weekly, I need to get that under control so I don’t spend 12 hours on a shirt ever again.

I would like to thank the Denver Public Library for having books on tape for download. That’s what got me through my marathon sewing session.

That’s my friend Nahum, below, trying to decide if he wanted in the picture. He found the games and decided that was more fun than watching his mom take my picture. :)

Instead of button holes, this shirt has button loops. I’ve made plenty of button holes, but never button loops! New skill, score! And, I like button loops way better than button holes I think.

And a shot from the back. This shirt uses pleats instead of darts. It’s more of a relaxed fit. I did extend the back darts up 2″ more than the pattern calls for. I think that makes the shirt less baggy-in-a-dumpy-kind-of-way, which is good. No one wants to look dumpy in their newest handmade creation!

Also, thanks to my lovely friends at Denver Bicycle Cafe for letting us take over and use their shop for a photo shoot.


Sara C

By day, Sara Cougill is a high school teacher (math, science, and art!). By night, she sews, knits, cooks, bikes, runs, and hangs out with her cats and husband. She's been sewing about as long as she's been walking and is excited to add some new challenges to her sewing life!


Comments are closed.

  1. Very cute fabric! Love how it all worked out, even if it did take a bit longer :)

  2. Nice! And definitely not dumpy!

  3. Bravo for making such a fabulous version of this pattern! I tried my hand at it last year and it was probably my least favorite thing I made – and took me the longest! I love (and am seriously envious) of your version – the fabric is delightful, and it looks fantastic on you! Well done, and congrats on conquering those belt loops!

    • Glad to know I’m not the only one who has spent way longer than they should have on this pattern! :) I was dreading spending so much time (and money) and then not liking it, that’s the absolute worst. :(

  4. I love this- especially the oval buttons- too cute!

  5. Really lovely, the fabric and the pattern you picked are really great.

  6. Lovely! The fabric is divine and the buttons match is perfectly. Totally wonderful!

  7. Adorable fabric and pattern. It looks great on you too. Don’t you feel sorry for all of your students who don’t know a thing about sewing? I’m also a middle school teacher by day, so I can relate to the comfort of jeans and cute blouses.

    • I also get to teach art, so my plan is (when I get someone to donate or reimburse me for some machines) to teach a sewing class! First project: a pillow case. Second project: pajama pants! The kids all get really confused when I tell them that I made something myself.

  8. I do like this shirt very much and I’m glad you stuck with it. The fabric is lovely and it does indeed make a nice change from t-shirts (I need to get on this bandwagon)

  9. I think she looks stunning given the time and cost I think it was well worth it.

  10. I really like this blouse with jeans, cuter than a t shirt. You did a really nice job on this. I might have to give this pattern or a similar pattern a try. That Burda sounds challenging, might have to find a simpler version.

    • BurdaStyle’s patterns are notoriously bad in the sewing instructions department. But their patterns are so cute and if you can suffer through their bad instructions, they almost always turn out super cute! It might just take you 3 times as long as you had planned. This is the 4th or 5th pattern I’ve used from them. I even made my wedding dress from one of their patterns.

  11. This looks like the perfect compliment to jeans (instead of a t-shirt). I love all your changes!

  12. The blouse is so cute and since I don’t sew, I’m doubly impressed. Looking forward to your next project and seeing all the pictures. You look great!!

  13. Lovely Alexander! I made this a year or so ago (whenever it came out?), and spent quite a while on it… adding plackets to the CF/CB, underlining chiffon, serged rolled hem. It’s a weird-fitting blouse, and I think yours is a great version!