Hot! The “Likeable Librarian” Blouse

The Facts

Fabric: Cotton Sateen
Pattern: Simplicity 2614
Year: Contemporary
Notions: Interfacing
Time to complete: 12 hours
First worn: At photo-shoot. Next, the office.
Wear again? Certainly
Total Price: $20


You have just met the blouse formerly known as Muslin 2614.

All of the fitting and design changes were made last year.

Muslin 2614 was destined to became a real blouse one day, but was set aside to make room for a cowboy boot dress, a blue-buttoned waistcoat, a knocked-off frock, and sexy-but-of-out-of-season swimwear.


Muslin 2614 needed only some fabric and a reason and to exist in the real world.

The week six Un-Finished Object challenge arrives and Muslin 2614 get its chance. After a few upgrades (tie at the neckline, longer sleeves) the “Likeable Librarian” blouse is born.

My wardrobe needs blouses like an asthmatic needs his inhaler. If I didn’t make this this blouse, my closet would’ve kept wheezing and hyperventilating all season.

There was some worry about the sleeves at first. Gathered sleeves styles are a less risky option for a tight construction schedule…but would these banded hem ones look crazy on me? Would I end up looking like an extra on an episode of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman? The jury deliberated this for at least an hour.

The Verdict: NOT GUILTY (of looking ridiculous in gathered sleeves).
Clearly, I can summon ridiculous all on my own.

We’re all kinds of proud of the “Likeable Librarian” blouse in my house. Even Mr. Carroll carried on about its loveliness instead of sharing his usual, frozen-fingered grumbles about being a winter camera man.

Thanks for looking. Here is a poem from the Shel Silverstein book featured in the first photo.

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb,
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That aint’ been there before.



Najah Carroll is a project manager by day and seamstress by night. Once it became clear that ready-to-wear was never gonna support her five feet of curves, she taught herself to sew and make pattern alterations. In January, she lost her mind by signing up for this 52-week garment sewing challenge.


Comments are closed.

  1. I love this blouse. Nice job.

  2. Najah, I love this! I really like the sleeves. And you photograph beautifully.

  3. Looks great on you, not a Dr Quinn in sight!

  4. Beautiful blouse! I love the details. Great job!

  5. I really love this blouse. The color is amazing. And amazing on YOU!

  6. Love this! I am in need of this pattern immediately. It’s beautiful on you

  7. Love. It. “My wardrobe needs blouses like an asthmatic needs his inhaler.” had me loling. Also, I’m a firm believer in rocking gathered sleeves whenever possible. Perfection.

    • I would love to be more gung-ho about gathered sleeves. Since I’ve got proportional challenges, I try to be careful with volume (gathered sleeves have plenty). If I bought a blouse like this off the rack, the sleeve band would be to tight and high, the shoulder seam would be too wide causing the already poofy sleeves to look even poofier. Guess that’s the origin of my paranoia. With all that I’ve learned about fitting patterns for my proportions, it still feels like mysterious sorcery to me. A custom-fitted sleeve won’t have those made-in-china issues.

      Thanks for laughing at my campy metaphor, the lovely compliments, and reminding me that sewing is my courage to try styles that were previously off limits in ready-to-wear.

  8. Wow! That looks so classy. Some of the posts I’ve seen on here are not so much. You are a very beautiful woman!

  9. I always look forward to your posts and especially your sewing. You are very witty and funny and you always look so happy. Your choice of fabric and pattern for this project really are spectacular. Love that blue! Thanks for sharing Shel Silverstein’s poem with us. :)

    • Thank you so much, Barbara. With all of the Sew Weekly eye candy I get to consume and all of the sewing I am making time to do….I have been quite happy lately. I’m glad that shows in the photos.

      I grew up reading (and reciting) Shel Silverstein poems. He does these quirky ink drawings to accompany many of them. In my favorite book of his, Where the Sidewalk Ends, there’s a poem that begins, “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout would not take the garbage out.” it goes on telling the story of how the garbage piled up and eventually covered the world. He draws this hilarious tower of trash across two pages of the book. Great stuff. I highly recommend Silverstein’s books. Especially if you have kids or are a kid at heart.

  10. I agree, love to read along with your adventure. It’s a great blouse with a beautiful fit and thank you for the poem. I went right to my book shelve and read this poem for a book my mother gave me.

    Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

    Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
    I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
    But when I start to tell them,
    They think I’m telling lies.
    I say,
    It’s in the reach of my arms
    The span of my hips,
    The stride of my step,
    The curl of my lips.
    I’m a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    • That’s another favorite poem. That one I learned and recited as a teenager. Maya Angelou has been an inspiration to me for years. Her book, The Bluest Eye was practically required reading for little black girls (like me) who felt up unpretty. Now that I think about it Maya Angelou may have been about 25% responsible for the development of my self confidence and self-love…which of course grows even more when I sew (and receive such encouraging feedback).

      • Correction: The Bluest Eye was written by Toni Morrison. It and Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was what I referring to. I think. Damn. Guess it’s time for a re-read ;-).

  11. Man, you can sew! At least, I’m sure it’s at least PARTLY your obviously-excellent technical sewing skills. What else, please tell?

    Is it all in the fit, do you think? (I suspect you’re also gifted at selecting great fabric and advanced ironing as well!).

    • With all of the awesome seamstresses contributing here (many of whom can sew circles around me), that’s a big, blush-worthy compliment you got there. I’m hugely flattered.

      I’m actually a relatively novice sewer. More like an advanced beginner with her toe dipped in the intermediate pool. Even though I’ve sewn for several years, most of that time has been spent figuring out (with books, a bit of the internet, and lots of WTF moments with hacked up patterns and muslins) how to make things fit (length, width, and most importantly depth). Except for a few semi-wearable muslins, the garments I’ve posted here so far are actually the first REAL handmade additions to my wardrobe I am proud to wear in public.

      If you notice, I probably spend (on average) the longest amount of hours constructing -usually in the double digits. That’s because I do pattern alterations and a muslin nearly every time because I don’t yet have go-to slopers. If it helps, here’s an aerial view of my approach to things: FIT (alter the pattern until it fits), FABRIC (choose suitable fabric, verify proper thread/needle in reference books), CONSTRUCTION (modify steps to my skill level, plan hems and seam finishing), and TIME (scale back or modify plans to fit my reality). No tricks. Just practicality fueled by loads of book and lab time.

      Thank you for your curiosity and sweetness.

  12. No more wheezing from the closet phew! perfect fit, perfect colour, perfect fabric, perfect post and no need to worry about the gathered sleeves at all. She ‘s a winner!!! Love that poem too.

  13. I love the blouse! Cotton fabrics can be sometimes so hard to make drapey and fit in with RTW, but you did a great job on this, and the fit is so flattering!

    • This was a barely, medium-weight cotton sateen, not a quilting cotton like I used for the Made This Look challenge. So, it definitely has a softer drape — which is what drew me to it in the first place. The print (I later confirmed) is meant for little girls. I ignored the possibility of looking like Romper Room because I was after the lovely drape. Thanks for noticing and for the kind words.

  14. Love the end result! Thanks for sharing your process, and the Shel Silverstein poem. I had A light in the Attic once too, but lost it to water damage…
    I loved seeing your croquis in action plus reading your modification notes. Super helpful!

    • Thank you for noticing the croquis…wasn’t sure if it was too nerdly of a thing to display here. I have to pay such close attention to fit (no sewing straight out of the pattern envelope for me), that sometimes I feel like all of my notes and sketches are OCD overkill. Then, when I make the very something I imagined, sketched, and modified….I think: Hey, the nerdly way works.

  15. You look great in this blouse! I hope you don’t mind, but I “pinned” you on one of my boards for inspiration. :)

  16. Great blouse! Perfect fit as always. (I really should spend time making muslins.). We read those books in school. They were great! I remember drawing from the one you mentioned to Barbara quite well.

  17. That’s a really pretty blouse – I love all of it, the fabric, the gathered sleeves, the tie in the front. And its fit is really great. You did a great job. And the photos are great, too. :)

  18. I love this and wish there were one in my closet – something to aspire to!

  19. That’s a good looking shirt – I love a pattern that offers a ‘D’cup sizing. Sweet fabric.

  20. Any reason for a good poem is worth it’s weight in gold.:-) The only thing better than this photo of your shirt is seeing it in person. Strut your stuff,my friend, you got a reason to be proud of your work.

  21. Nice. And thanks for the insight into your process.

  22. We might have to become BFFs soon Najah! I LOVE SHEL SILVERSTEIN!! And I always love your posts and what you’re wearing in them!

  23. That’s a beautiful blouse and looks so good on you. What a great fit. I must make the perfect blouse for me this year.. it’s on my to do list. Dresses I can manage.. but making a blouse I’m happy to wear continues to elude me. Well done.

  24. You had me at Shel Silverstein. The blouse sealed the deal. Seriously, that tie at the neckline that’s nice and square, a little masculine, combined with the gathered feminine sleeves and bust, the perfect fit. Breath of fresh air.

  25. The fit is amazing and I love your fabric choice. You look stunning in it!