I have a coworker who travels to Bali every year. She always comes back with amazing stories, a gorgeous tan and beautiful gifts (so thoughtful, and fortunate for her- since it makes it harder to hate her for her kid free, relaxing tropical vacations!)
When I saw the Bali blouse/Sunset Cami by New Horizons, I knew I had to try and do justice to the pattern’s beautiful namesake….and hack it a little along the way too. Because, you know, that’s how I roll. A little background before we get started: the Bali blouse features an envelope back with a back yoke, an angled front yoke with gathers and a variety of sleeve lengths.It also includes options for a “loose fit” or a “slim fit”, and works in knits or wovens (with separate binding/pattern pieces for each).
I always appreciate Terra’s solid drafting and high quality finishing techniques, so I was really looking forward to trying this one out!
Being on a bit of a woven kick lately, I chose to make it up in a geometric cotton/rayon challis from Mood that’s been hiding on my shelf for several years- it was recently unearthed (in the same way that a rockslide reveals dinosaur fossils) when I dove into my neglected woven stash to make this dress and these tops. I was drawn to the similarity between the geometric lines on the front bodice of the Bali and the triangles in the print. Since Bali is part of the “Coral Triangle”, it seemed a fitting match (see how I just snuck in a little learning there? You can take the mom out of the homeschool, but you can’t take the homeschool out of the mom!).
Anyway, since its 113 degrees F outside right now (aka, hotter than the surface of the sun, almost), I opted for cap sleeves, and the loose fit for better airflow. I also decided to hack the back to make it closed- mainly because I don’t feel comfortable going around exposing that much skin, and wearing a cami underneath, or any sort of layers at all, sounds like torture right now. (Note: The Bali Blouse is designed to have a camisole underneath, and comes with another pattern, the Sunset Cami for this purpose. I made (and hacked!) the Sunset, which will feature in my next post!)
The end result is just perfect- loose and airy, but not too “sweet”. My favorite detail is the cap sleeves- I’ve never sewn cap sleeves before and I love how I didn’t even have to hem them! The sleeve cap features little to no extra ease, so setting them in was a breeze.
Want to make your own closed-back Bali Blouse? Here’s how:
- First, you’ll want to grab the back pattern piece, and make a mark about 1″ in from the overlap (NOT the armhole side). If you’re making a larger/smaller size, or want more/less gathering, you can change the position of the mark. Using your ruler, blend down from this point to the bottom, creating a straight angled line that is biggest at the top, and tapers to nothing at the bottom hem. The diagonal line in this picture is the original pattern line. I like to trace my patterns onto swedish tracing paper or medical exam paper when I’m altering them.
2. Place your pattern piece on the fold of your fabric, using this new line for placement.
3. Cut out your back bodice. Stick a pin or make a mark (I love these friction pens- they disappear when you iron them!) in the center back of your back bodice, and two more pins, each several inches away from the center back. The exact place you start and end your gathering doesn’t matter, as long as the end width is the same as your to yoke piece and it looks even on both sides.
4. Gather between the lines, using a long basting stitch. Pull the gathering threads until the back bodice is the same width as the back yoke. I find my gathering is most even when I use three lines of basting stitches, rather than the standard three.
5. Pin together with the upper back yoke, and sew/serge (make sure to finish your edges if working iwht a woven). Top stitch toward the yoke if desired.
That’s it! Sew the rest of the blouse as directed, and show off your creation!
I can’t wait to wear my new Bali blouse on vacation in two weeks! I’ll also be sharing my version of the Sunset Cami (included in the same pattern with the Bali Blouse) early next week….so stay tuned!
Nursing note: This top is loose enough to pull up from the bottom. It is not low enough to go over the top!
Need the pattern? Get it HERE:
Do you love the look and feel of wovens, but have anxiety about sewing with them? Read my blog post HERE with some tips and tricks for taming the beast!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Some make me a little $ to pour back into my sewing ventures, and some are just for fun!