my subtle sparkle

Do you have those white whale situations with sewing patterns? When you’re always on the look-out for a perfect pattern for certain type of garment, like I don’t know – a perfect trench coat or a perfect cigarette pants? Because I do. I have so many sewing white whales, it’s like a Waterworld over here. Just without Kevin Costner.

Enter the perfect button-up.

The truth is, I don’t mind making any kind of shirts, perfect or less than perfect. I just love them – shirt is such a versatile piece of clothing! You can wear it on its own, with a pinafore, under the sweater – you can never have enough of shirts! And talking about perfect button-up, I’m not even sure how it suppose to look. I just trust to recognize one when I see it. Which is why I’m attracted to so many button-up patterns, hoping for each one to be THE one. (I’m still talking about shirts people, don’t get any ideas! 😁)

The other thing I really love are tie neck blouses – is there more feminine garment than a blouse with giant bow around the neck? So when I saw the pattern that combines the two, it went straight to the top of my sewing queue.

But before we dive into sewing and pattern talk I have a quick technical announcement – I finally figured out how to make my images clickable! Champagne all around! Now, if you want to see details you can click on any image and it will enlarge! Pretty nifty, eh? And it took me only an entire month. Air high-fives for everyone.

Back to the sewing – this pattern is from June 2017 issue of BurdaStyle (pattern #103) and this time they actually did a pretty good job presenting it. In the magazine you can find none less than three versions of this blouse – one made in a solid, one in a busy print and one in cute novelty print. I thought this was really clever on their part, as you can see how the pattern works in different fabrics. Good job Burda!

For mine I used viscose that I got at Walthamstow market. It’s in a soft peachy colour with subtle glittery dots, it has a lovely drape  and it was a dream to work with. I bought the fabric with no particular pattern in mind but I knew I want to make it into some kind of button-up shirt, and I think it’s a really good pairing with this pattern.

I made size 38 with hips graded to 40, although in the end it turned out there was no need for that and I had to take in the extra I added. This did annoyed me a lot, because every shirt I made and forgot to grade the bottom part ended up being tight around hips. Every SINGLE one. And the one time I do remember to grade it up, it turns out I didn’t need that extra room after all. Sewing can be so fun sometimes.

I also added 2.5cm to sleeve length, because monkey arms.

I made some changes to the pattern. The most obvious one is forgoing the piping – I really love how this detail looks but I didn’t think it would work with my fabric. I wanted overall look to be soft and subtle, and piping just didn’t fit into that vision. For me, giant bow and sparkle from the fabric are the main features and all other details, such as piping or visible buttons, needed to be pared down.

Which is why I also changed button placket. This pattern actually doesn’t have button placket at all – fronts are finished with  facings and piping instead. I’m not sure how I feel about that – for me, this technique is something I would rather associate with pyjamas. Although when I think about it, this pattern does have a lot of classic pyjama features, such as piping, front facings and piped breast pocket – it’s possible that this is Burda’s play on that whole sleepwear as outerwear trend!

But to go back to my shirt, I got rid of front facings and made hidden button placket instead. This was only my second time sewing hidden button placket, and when I  was making first shirt I had no instructions nor any reference point, so I just winged it in a completely wrong way (that luckily ended up being functional). So this time I was smart enough to look at some RTW shirt I own and figure out how to do it properly. It’s quite simple construction actually! Basically, you just add more width to your right side front so that you can fold it twice and create that “extra” placket. I can’t imagine this explanation being helpful to anyone, but if you google it I’m sure a ton of tutorials will pop-up. It really is easy!

Last change I made was to the hem – original pattern had a straight hem that hits me at the widest part of my hips, and let me tell you – that wasn’t s a flattering look at all. So I changed it to curved hem which looks much better on me.


I used french seams for sides, shoulders and sleeves, and armholes are finished with bias binding. I try to do this for all my shirts (especially with fine or transparent fabrics) as I really like neat and clean finish on the inside.

And the bow. I mean, how adorable is this bow neck? It’s such a feminine touch, I can’t even. I especially like how it looks in this soft and creamy fabric, it really is my favourite detail. That being said, it’s good that is removable as that makes the shirt so much more versatile. You know, for those days when you feel less obnoxious than usual. Or when you want to wear it under the sweater.

For the sake of these pictures I paired the shirt with skinny pants, as I wanted to show the length and how it looks untucked. But the truth is, I never really wear it like this – it’s usually tucked into skirts or worn under pinafores. And the best part – it goes with literally half of my wardrobe! I can’t say that I planned this because I’m the worst at thinking these things through, but luckily my taste in colours is so boring and predictable that all things end up matching with each other anyway. But who cares how we got there as long as we’re there, right? Or something like that. I’m sure there’s some sort of saying that applies to this situation.

Now to summarise my feelings about this shirt.

Is this my perfect button-up pattern? Mmm, nah. But it is pretty close though! I would love it to have more interesting back – like with a yoke or something. And maybe some bust darts? I’m not sure..

Does it matter that this is not THE one? Mmm, nah ah! I absolutely LOVE this shirt and I already wore it a ton since I made it in December. It might not be the perfect button-up pattern but it’s perfect shirt nonetheless.

Do you need to make this pattern for yourself? YES YOU DO! That was a stupid question.

And if you come across this fabric, should you buy a ton of it and then mail it to me? Yes, yes you should.

In the meantime, my search for the white whale continues..

19 thoughts on “my subtle sparkle

  1. Hi Vesna!!

    I love this blouse and I’m planning to make a similar one with a spotty viscose I’ve recently acquired. The pattern I’m using for the shirt is one i’ve had for ages but it doesn’t come with a bow, I wonder if you could share some details on the basic dimensions? I.e: length and width of the central strip, and same for the two pieces that tie (is this even making sense?) I think I can draft it from these 🙂

    Thanks SO much 🙌

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Giorgia! I’m SO sorry for such a late reply, hope this info is not coming too late!!! The bow is super easy to draft on your own, dimensions of central strip are 9x40cm (1,5cm SA are included and it’s meant to be folded in half to create neck band piece). The bow itself is 68cm long and its width goes from 6cm on one end to 8cm on the other (these measurements are without SA!) . Narrower end is meant to be pleated so that it fits into the neck band piece, and wider end is slanted and it’s meant to be the end of the bow tie. I hope I’m making sense, if you need more help please don’t hesitate to ask! Good luck! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Vesna! Not at all, this comes at the perfect time 🙂 I haven’t started the shirt yet, I’m finishing something else that will go with it first. I’ll save your instructions and will let you know how it goes. Thank you so much!


    • Oh, that’s an unfortunate misspelling on my side – I meant “white whale”, as Moby Dick reference. In a sense of having an irrational obsession over finding a perfect pattern for a perfect type of garment, which is something that happens to me a lot 🙂


  2. Love the fabric and the resulting shirt! I made one and I love it so I totally understand how you feel about it.
    Agree with you it’s got the pajama look, but that’s finr by me 😊. Also agree that life might’ve been better with bust darts…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, it really is a very comfortable shirt! While we’re waiting for warmer weather you can try and pair your blouses with sweaters and cardigans, that way you can wear them all year round!


  3. I love your version of this pattern. It’s yet another one that’s in my sewing queue as well. Like you, I’m debating replacing the facing with a button band, since I’m not very likely to make a version with piping (a bit fiddly, isn’t it?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It’s a great pattern, I think you would like it too!
      I don’t mind piping, but I really didn’t like that technique with facings. I can’t imagine it being very practical either, especially with lighter fabrics. But it’s so simple to change it into regular placket, so I say go for it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I also have several white whales regarding things like coats and different kinds of outerwear! 😀
      Did you see that free pattern from Sasha of Secondo Piano blog, it’s called basic instinct tee or something similar? It might be close to what you’re looking for.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, I meant button up shirt, not tee. Though I was after a pattern like hers for a long while, and actually found it in Ottobre! I’m going to blog it when I get the opportunity to take photos.


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