Hot! The “Disgruntled Romanian Flamingo Blouse”


So it’s official now: I just don’t smile in photos. I thought I was smiling (or at least looking neutral) but here we go: Hubby took pics of me again that make me look as if I am a completely unlikeable person. Will I be more likeable if I try to blame my little son for my bad mood? Probably not.

We had perfect weather today – it felt like the first real summer day – and we went to one of Berlin’s zoos to have a picnic and have loads of fun (and to take some pics of me in front of them flamingos). We did have a picnic, we had quite a good amount of fun but we also ended up having a very disgruntled child who desperately needed a nap but refused to have one in that nifty little handcart that we used to pull him around the park…

Anyway, let’s talk about my blouse which is the third challenge I have managed to take on this year. I know that’s quite meagre but something always comes in the way so I was happy to see that there was a pink challenge because I started to work on this blouse in early March (no kidding). I took me forever to complete it because I wanted to embroider it with my sewing machine. It’s only some preprogrammed decorative stitches on my sewing machine but it still took several hours to embroider both sleeves and the front of the blouse. Sewing the whole thing together was relatively simple (although this pattern has some mean gussets to insert under the arms – I have come to the conclusion that I am not a fan of gussets) but I simply had a lot of work coming in between, little terrorist got sick, little terrorist needed new pants (priority!), little terrorist needed new pj’s (why does he grow so fast???) so it really took me almost two months to complete this simple blouse.

I’ll give you a nice closeup of the whole thing (excuse the frown but my son was sitting right there in his cart and moping around):































The Facts
⁃ Fabric: Very thin linen (that frayed like hell!) I bought this about 6 years ago at a fabric market.

-Pattern: “Roumanian Blouse” No. 103 from Folkwear (independent pattern company). I love their patterns and finally ordered some for myself as a bday gift to myself. This was the first pattern of them that I tried out and definitely not the last one.





– Year: Year of the pattern? Well, this is the pattern for a traditional Romanian blouse so I guess one can’t really name a year.
⁃ Notions: machine embroidery yarn, rubber band (to gather the sleeves) and some crochet yarn (for the cord at the neckline)
⁃ Time to complete: Ah, don’t ask…I didn’t time but I guess it took about 7 hours at least….
⁃ First worn: April 28th in “Tierpark Berlin”
⁃ Wear again? Yes – although I am not totally happy with the length of the blouse. I should have measured it before I cut the fabric. I am 6 feet tall and this blouse was definitely not designed for tall women. I would have preferred something long, rahter like a tunic. I am not sure what I’ll do about this problem but I think I won’t leave it as it is. I might either make a skirt to go with the blouse (and tuck the blouse in) or I might try to lengthen the blouse (but not sure how to hide the ugly horizontal seam I will create this way. I was thinking about hiding it under a sash but I can’t place the seam at waist height because I would cut into the embroidery then…tricky thing.)
⁃ Total price: I only paid the pattern (which was about 17 US-Dollars…) Ok, I also paid for the fabric (nope, didn’t steal it) but that was years ago and I honestly can’t remember the price. It wasn’t much though.

Oh, and some of you might recognize the pants. I made those for the UFO challenge and they work really well for this blouse. I still have some of this brown fabric left and I am planning to make a vest to go with the blouse and the pants…but as slow as I am with my sewing project I probably won’t complete it until September. If I am lucky there’ll be a vest challenge around that time…;)

And here the final photo to show you that we actually did have a bit of fun while taking the photos: Me trying to do a flamingo stand. I sucked.





Djamila is a German translator living in Berlin, Germany. She is married to an American and has a 4-year-old son who never sleeps. She used to sew A LOT before her son was born. After 4 years of wearing practical sandbox-clothes she finally wants to get her original fashion style back and sew a lot more again.


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  1. Really pretty blouse, And I love all the details you added to it.. Pretty..
    [sorry your little one cranky and sleepy…I have 5 grandchildren, so
    I fully understand the needing to nap and not wanting to.ha]

    • Thanks for the kind words and your understanding. I am half way through another weekned without a napping child and I feel so sleep-deprived. I used to nap with him at the weekends… ;)

  2. You are too hard on yourself Djamila. The blouse is lovely and I adore the machine embroidery you do on your pieces….it’s seriously pretty. And I love the flamingo pose photo. Trust me I know how difficult it can be trying to do something for yourself whilst a little person gets annoyed about not being the centre of attention for 5 seconds!

    • Thanks, Tempest. I guess one’s always one’s worst critic…I just wish I could smile naturally at a camera for once. I love the pics in your posts – although you said somewhere that you can’t smile in photos which I disagree with you… You look great in your photos! Maybe if I could borrow Gothchild for the photo shoot it would work out better but my husband mopes around if he has to take more than 3 photos of me in a row and he tends to “chop off” important parts of mine (head, arms…). Even without my cranky son it’s hard to relax with such a photographer because I keep thinking “Please, let me have a head in this one!”. ;)

  3. As the mother of a two year old nap refuser i totally sympathize. I wonder sometimes how I ever manage to complete anything. Gorgeous blouse, and you even managed embroidery! Great job!

    • Thanks so much, Tara(cat?). Thank goodness, my son still took regular naps when he was 2 (he’s almost 4 now) but he’s never been a good sleeper. His average sleep time is only 8-9 hours/night and I feel as if I haven’t slept in almost 4 years because I pretty much need 9 hours of sleep myself to feel like a human being during the day. ;)

  4. I love this blouse and your unsmiling smiling pictures are completely cracking me up. I often have this problem when sewing — I make something too short. However, you have a fix already built-in to the blouse. Sew a longer strip around the blouse and then do your machine embroidery either at the top or bottom or both. I think it will look really pretty. However, the blouse is pretty enough to leave as is — the seam will be absorbed into the blouse, I think.

    • Thanks, Colleen. That’s good that those unsmiling pics actually crack you up. :) I guess they’re kind of amusing. The crazy thing is that I honestly thought I was looking friendly in those photos and hubby even said “Oh yes, they are great photos!” Big shock when I looked at them later!
      I think I’ll follow your advices and simply add a strip around the blouse…and you’re probably right – the seam might not be obvious at all. I’ll try to put it at a height where I would put a sash/belt even if that means I’ll cut off a bit of the embroidery. I can always add a bit more embroidery if I feel it’s necessary.

  5. Hi Dijamila, love thedetails onthe blouse,reminds totry some of thoson my machine.

    • Thanks so much, Krista. You should really try them out. My machine is actually a combined sewing/embroidery machine but I have to say I use those preprogrammed stitches so much more than the real embroidery function. You can combine the stitches to get really pretty borders and I have a soft spot for folkwear inspired clothes so this is absolutely perfect for me.

  6. Oh such a sweet blouse and the fun embroidery detail really looks great. You’ll get your smile back, don’t worry.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Barbara. I actually smile a lot – it just seems to be impossible to fix it on camera. ;)

  7. I admire you to be able to do the embroidery on your blouse! And don’t worry, I just can’t seem to look natural in my photos too. I had to take a million photos before I have a couple of good shots.

    • Tiffany, good to know I am not the only one with photo problems! I think if someone took a lot of pics of me I would eventually find a few good ones, too, but as I have already told Tempest in my reply above, my husband is not willing to take a million photos of me. ;)

  8. I’m tempted to write this in German. (Ich komme aus Köln.) ;)
    The blouse is just lovely. I wouldn’t even have noticed, that the blouse could have been a little longer, it looks perfect, especially with these wonderful pants! The embroidery is a very nice kick. You totally won me over with your “idea” of sewing folklore patterns, I would have never thought, that they could look so modern and flattering. Wonderful piece of work, Djamila!

    • Thanks, Verena. I am glad you wrote all these compliments in English so that everyone can read them. ;)
      Good to hear that I could win you over to the whole folklore sewing. That’s actually my specialty. I grew up wearing folkwear blouses from Hungary and Romania (my grandfather was Romanian) and my mother had lots of books about traditional folkwear from Romania. I guess this influenced me a lot and I still feel the urge to make every modern garment a bit folksy…

  9. I love all your details on the blouse. Very good job! I too have to force myself to remember to smile in photos. The “I’m casual and natural” always turns out stern for unknown reasons!

    • Thanks, Liz. I looked at your posts and yes, we seem to share the camera problem…although I think you usually manage to smile a bit at least and you look actually quite cute in those pics. I love that Stegosaurus outfit by the way. Too late to comment on it directly now…

  10. The blouse is gorgeous! Especially your embroidery. Even machine embroidery takes a lot of patience, especially with a little one underfoot – I’m impressed!

    When you don’t smile you look just like my Mum (well, my Mum when I was about your son’s age!) when she forgets to smile. Looking at your pictures makes me happy because I remember telling her “smile Mum!”. :-)

    Also, you may be interested to know that Folkwear patterns are notorious for having weird length issues – the sleeves or hem of every pattern are either far too long or far too short for most people, or the neckline is scary low. It’s worth checking every length measurement on every one of their patterns if you plan to use any more of them. This blouse is one of the few I don’t own, and I’m definitely going to be investing in it based on your blouse!

    • Also, best title ever for a garment!

      • Leimomi, I think this is my favorite comment ever. ;) It makes me happy that you actually manage to find some very positive associations with my stern expression. Although I am also extremely happy that you added the comment in parentheses (just discovered my first two grey hairs last week so I am a bit touchy right now about the age issue… ;)).
        And thanks for the advice for the Folkwear patterns. This blouse was one of their simpler patterns, I think…I’ll have to make sure to make a muslin next time or checking the measurements at least.

  11. I love that blouse!

  12. Thanks, Erin. :)

  13. Your embroidery work on this shirt looks amazing! You should be so proud of how well it turned out – I bow down in awe of your fabulous dedication :) Love the flamingo pose, by the way :)