› Basic Blouse

How to Draft a Basic Blouse

A basic blouse - one that is, essentially, your blouse block pattern - doesn't have to be boring. Made in a stunning fabric with beautiful buttons, it's a simple statement that can dress up a pair of jeans or your favorite skirt.

sketch of basic blouse
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You can add a collar, change the sleeves, even change the body style as you prefer - but a simple blouse with a straight sleeve and no collar is a wear-with-anything, go-to top.

This is a style that can let your trim or buttons shine - literally! Jewel-like crystals or metal buttons could be the star of this style.


Or, choose an interesting print and let it be the focal point - no fussy details to detract from the patterns and colors.

You'll make this simple blouse over and over again!

This page shows you how to create a blouse using your basic bodice and skirt blocks. You can see how I did this with my own personal block here

And don't forget to finish your blouse with facings, hems, and seam allowances!

How to Draft the Blouse Body

Start by laying the front bodice over the front skirt block pattern.  Line them up at the waist (they may not match at the side because of the difference in dart depth, but don't worry about that).

Trace around the front, neck, and shoulder, following the block pattern.

Start tracing the armhole, but lower the curve at the bottom of the armhole by 1/2" (this allows more freedom of movement in the blouse than in the basic bodice).

draft of front blouse
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Continue tracing the side bust dart, then draw a straight line from the bottom of the dart to the hip line of the skirt.  The hip line is the bottom of the blouse.

back blouse draft
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The process for the back of the blouse is essentially the same.

First, though, close the dart at the shoulder seam; this will force the waist dart open a bit more, but don't worry about it.  You'll draw a straight line at the side seam, just as you did on the front.

Lower the armhole 1/2", just as you did on the front, and use the skirt's hip line as the bottom of the blouse.

Your final blouse pattern will be an easy fit, without darts or shaping at the waist.

The side bust dart from the bodice block remains in the blouse pattern. The bust dart is essential for good fit and to avoid gapping at the front opening when the blouse is buttoned.

Remember, this does not have seam allowances or a hem allowance!  Those finishing details will still need to be added to your final pattern.

final blouse pattern
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drafting the blouse sleeve
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How to Draft the Blouse Sleeve

Your sleeve block is very fitted, with a dart at the elbow.  Your blouse sleeve should be straight, without the dart, and just a bit less closely fitted.

Start by drawing a line from the point of the dart to the grainline. Cut along the line from the dart to the grainline, then along the grainline to the hem.

Close the elbow dart, forcing a new dart to open at the hemline. Draw a horizontal line at the hem.

Measure along the hemline from the grainline (in this case, the left side of the hem dart) to the side seam (on the right side). In the illustration, I'm using 7 1/2" for that measurement. 

Then measure the same amount (in this case, 7 1/2") in the other direction, along the hemline. This is the final width of your sleeve at the hem (in this case, 15").

Draw new side seams from the hem to the underarm, straightening the side that had the dart.

blouse sleeve pattern
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Lower the curve at the bottom of the sleeve, as you did on the blouse armhole. (Follow the dashed lines in the illustration, above).

The sketch at right shows the final sleeve shape for your blouse.

What's the Next Step?

If you'd like, design the neckline or collar and sleeves as you choose. The blouse stands well on its own, but you can make it as simple or as detailed as you'd like.

And don't forget to finish your pattern with seam allowances, facings - or whatever is required of your style.

More Blouse Body Styles

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