How to draft a wrap blouse - Step by step pattern making tutorial!
🍂 The leaves are shifting colours and the air is crisp and clear. At least in Stockholm this time of year... This makes me want to curl up under a blanked with a cup of tea. And suddenly the colour orange seams to be so much more appealing than in other seasons...? I posted a picture on my Instagram a few days ago from the one and only orange girl Steffy! Her insta feed is amazing by the way... <3 You should follow her. You guys really seemed to like this style so I'm going to show you how YOU can draft this gorgeous wrap blouse today! 🍂
The idea of creating a blouse like this as a PDF pattern for you guys went through my mind. But that would make you have to wait a looong time to be able to sew it up in your favourite fabric. Instead I'm going to walk you through the process of drafting it yourself!
What you will need:
♥ A basic bodice block or a bodice patten. I think most of you have some kind of basic bodice pattern available in your pattern stash. It doesn't have to have any darts and it doesn't have to be anything special. In this tutorial I'm using a basic bodice block in 1:4 scale so I can easily show you the steps.
♥ Drafting paper. Any big paper will do for drafting. Sometimes I use brown wrapping paper.
♥ Pattern paper. Any see through paper will do. This is for the tracing at the end when the draft is complete.
♥ Paper scissors.
♥ Ruler and measuring tape.
My first step of making any draft is creating a line drawing where I can see all the lines to understand where I need seams, where to put any darts or details that are important for the fit or design of the garment. For this particular blouse I went and did some research. I found out that this blouse is from the Parisian brand Sézane. A chic silk blouse from a french brand. Cliché but we're going with it. Who doesn't want to look like a Paris girl, right?
This blouse is out of stock but I managed to find some other pictures of it online:
So these ones are kind of helpful! From what I can gather from these pictures it looks like the blouse is a "real wrap" design. Meaning it actually ties around the body and is not sewn together at the side seams creating a blouse that stays wrapped. This is a silk blouse made of woven fabric without stretch so I'm going to make it a real wrap that can be opened and closed.
Ok so from this picture we can tell that it has a drop shoulder seam. I also would suggest no darts at all. It's a bit over sized in the design and the wrap makes it adjustable. No need for darts then.
Then I found this picture that appears to be the same top but another fabric. Here I can see that the wrap is cut off at the side and there the wrap pieces that go around the body to create the bow are attached. We can also see an opening at the opposite side of the blouse. It's hard to tell but I'm going to assume the wrap goes through an opening at the side. You might have a wrap dress in your wardrobe that has that same solution. Sometimes when you try to recreate a look you like and only have pictures to go on - you have to make assumptions and move on. It might not be exactly that way it was originally intended to be drafted but that's not the point. We are here to make a beautiful blouse, not an identical to the one Sézane designed :)
Let's move on to the drawing board! This is what I imagine the top to look like:
Of course the waist is going to be smaller once the bands are tied.
Now that we know what to focus on, let's get started with the pattern drafting!
My bodice block/sloper has the bust dart placed at the shoulder seam. That doesn't help this design so I'm going to rotate the dart to the armscye for now. Since we need some room there.
Step 1. Trace the bodice like this picture shows. When rotating a dart you trace from one of the bust dart's legs and all around to the point you choose where you want the dart to be rotated to. Here you can see I've chosen a point at the armscye marked on the bodice block. The bust point is also marked but doesn't really show on the picture.
Step 2. Rotating. The x on the picture is the bust point. That point is a constant in this equation. The bust point never moves - the whole bodice moves around this point. The other leg of the bust dart rotates (counter clockwise in this case) until it reaches the marking of the first leg of the bust dart. Then I trace the rest of the bodice until I reach the marking on the bodice where I want the dart to be. Now the new dart is formed with its two legs. If you have never rotated a dart before it might seem daunting but then it will suddenly click and then you can rotate anyting! Just have some patience :)
Step 3. Now I'm adding some points to help me with the drafting. Since the shoulder is dropped I'm elongating the shoulder seam adding 8 cm.
I'm also moving the armhole depth point 3 cm out and 3 cm down. And I'm adding 15 cm to the length. Keep in mind that your measurements might be different. Depending on size, the look you want and so on. Generally it's a good idea to focus more on the proportions and shapes rather than exact measurements when drafting. Since this blouse has an asymmetric front piece it cannot be drafted with a center front on fold. I'm extending the hem and making a line upwards on the left side with the same width from center front as the right side. Just as the picture shows. This creates a bodice piece that has a right and a left side to it.
Step 4. The shoulder drop is 2 cm down from the extended shoulder seam line. When extending the shoulder it's good to drop it down a bit too so it doesn't stick out straight from the body when wearing.
Step 5. I draw the new shoulder seam with a very slight curve. Then I create the new armscye free hand. There's no way to make sure if it will look good or not before testing with fabric. So this is just an educated guess of what will look good. For the wrap front line my starting point at the shoulder seam is 4,5 cm in from the highest point of the shoulder. I decided to end the line at the waist height on the opposite side of the bodice.
Now this is a good starting point for the front bodice. All the outlines are created.
6. Now let's move on to the back piece. I'm making similar changes to the back bodice to make them fit together nicely. This means the first step in tracing the back bodice from the shoulder dart and all the way to the point in the armscye where I want the dart to end up. Just as I did for the bust dart. If your bodice pattern doesn't have a shoulder dart you can skip this step!
Step 7. Rotate. The same process as I did when rotating the bust dart. The dart point is the constant point that doesn't move and the bodice piece moves around that point. All the way until the dart ends up in the place I want it to.
Step 8. Guide points. Shoulder seam starting point moving 4,5 cm from highest point of the shoulder and extending 8 cm. And then moving down 2 cm.
Step 9. More guiding points and final lines. I'm drawing a new neckline 4,5 cm from the original one. The new shoulder seam I'm making is slightly curved. Armhole depth point is moved in the same way as I did on the front piece. 3 cm out and 3 cm down. I'm connecting the armhole depth and the new shoulder point creating a new armscye. The dart is crossed since I don't need it. I just moved them to the armscye to create more ease there. I also add 15 cm to the length, same as on the front bodice piece. Now this too is a good starting point and all the outlines are in place!
Step 10. The sleeve. By now I think you know how I lay out the block and trace it so I skipped that step in pictures. I'm moving the sleeve cap down 8 cm. And the outer points down 3 cm. This is a guess and it's very possible that this curve I've made here is too high. I can only make educated guesses when drafting. The final shapes need to be created in the muslin making process. When I see the drape of the fabric and how the pieces fit together. Since the shoulder is dropped there's actually not a shoulder there to fit in the sleeve, it's just an arm so no need for a high sleeve cap. It could even work with no sleeve cap at all and just a rectangle piece. Depends on the shape of the armscye and the fabric and how dropped the sleeve is.
Measure your armscye on front and back bodice pieces and add the measurements together. They should match the sleeve cap measurement. Adjust on the bodice pieces and on the sleeve to make them fit together.
I'm just ignoring the sleeve dart since the sleeve is so over sized I don't need any shaping there. The sleeve also needs to be quite wide to create the gathered or pleated sleeve cuff. I added 2 cm to each side of the bottom of the sleeve. Creating an almost 90 degrees angle at the bottom.
Step 11. Extra pattern pieces. For the waistbands I'm thinking they are around 8 cm wide. The length of the waistbands I'm guessing a good starting point is around 1,5 times your waist measurement. They both go back around the body and then ties at the front on the side or middle. This calculation should leave me with enough fabric to tie a bow or a knot and create a nice look. Up to 2 times your waist measurement could work actually. I would draft them as rectangles with the same width all around. Up to you if you think it would look better with another shape.
The sleeve cuffs are just rectangular pieces folded in the middle.
That's basically it for all the pieces needed to make this gorgeous wrap blouse! Now it's ready to be traced on to pattern paper leaving all the lines behind that are not needed. The outlines and some notches to help assembling the pieces later is all that's left. Cut 2 front pieces that are mirrored. The front pieces are identical but mirrored. Cut 1 back piece on center back fold. Cut 4 waist bands and sew them together 2 by 2 and turn. Cut 2 mirrored sleeves.
Some final notes on troubleshooting and fitting this blouse.
The shape of the waist comes from the waist bands. When tying them around the body you can adjust the fit pretty easily to fit perfectly. The biggest issue with a wrap blouse like this is the gaping in the front. I can see on some of the photos of this blouse that it's happening but for some people that's not a concern. To eliminate much of the gaping one idea goes something like this:
1. Trace the bodice front from the draft.
2. Create some cutting lines.
3. Shape the wrap front line to make it smaller.
This creates a slightly curved edge and makes the wrap line shorter which can help it stay closer to the body without gaping. I don't think the original blouse in the pictures has this drafting but it's a tip if you're worried about the ladies popping out so to say :D
That's it for this tutorial!
Let me know if any of the steps are unclear to you. I'm happy to help!
And if you think there's a better or another way to do this - let me know! Would you draft in another way or would you add something? Comment below!
And comment below which fabric you would use for this wrap blouse. Doesn't have to be an orange 100% silk fabric I'm sure... I would use a gorgeous white viscose fabric with black polka dots that I have in my stash ♥
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new.
♥ Bye for now ♥
🍂 🍂 🍂