Silk blouse refashioned bigger

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My friend gave me this 100% silk blouse which was cut on the bias but there was zero ease around the bust area.

The sizing in this blouse was XL but the dart was really small and I can not imagine are many XL women for whom the dart would be correctly positioned.

My finger is pointing to the point of the dart

I decided the fix would be to add a little more ease down the side seams, increase the size and position the bust dart.

Un picking the side seams and original dart was straight forward enough but revealed there was very little side seam allowance.

I made a new dart by pinning using a mirror. The bias cut fabric meant that the two sides often looked asymmetric when I was trying on, so I just had to trust to measuring to get it right.

I selected some lace trim to add into the side seam. The lace only added around 2 inches of ease in total because I had to use some of the original seam allowance to join it, at least with the bias cut there was no fraying.

I also added some different lace at the front bottom edge to make up for the fabric taken up by the larger dart. I suppose the side lace is meant to be functional and the bottom lace is meant to be decorative.

finished garment, no more pulling around the bust
Here’s the lace, and you can also see the new bust dart is in the right place

It’s been a while since I’ve done a refashion like this so felt the pressure was on to produce something with a good finish as I’ve done a lot of sewing and gained experience since.

Lace insert top

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I bought this thin and silky polyester top for £4 from traid.


They were having a sale, everything £4, which is cheap for them.

It’s from Marks and Spencer and is a silky polyester fabric with a subtle swirly pattern, reminiscent of something you might see on the top layer of a bridal gown.


From the label, I estimate it to be 1980’s vintage, when they were still making things in the UK.


I bought it with this refashion in mind, I’d been looking for something white, but when I tried it on at home, the fit wasn’t too bad.  One of my first thoughts was that this was such a simple design it would be easy to copy in another fabric sourced from my growing stash.

I wore the top for a month or so, but it was a little too long and a little too tight on the bust so it was time for the refashion to happen.

I had some lace just the right size to insert as a side panel, which would make the top a bit wider.


I’d bought the lace in a sandwich box of mixed ribbons, lace and buttons for £1

On closer examination I wondered if it was actually lace, or a piece of broderie Anglaise which someone had already cut around on one side to make lace.  I cut around the other side to complete the process and make my ‘lace’.

I opened the side seams of the top, which had been serged.  This fabric frayed like hell and its also very slippery, so before attaching the lace I gave each seam edge a small hem.

There was the question of whether to put the lace on top or underneath.


I decided underneath looked neater.

Although the photo only shows pins, I tacked the lace down before sewing, and at places where there were multiple layers, secured the folds with some hand stitching before machine sewing.

I also tried on after the tacking which revealed that at the armhole end, the insert needed to be one flower shorter to improve the fit.



To complete the refashion I cut about an inch off the bottom edge of the top and re-hemmed to make it a bit shorter.




Bonus feature:

On a recent trip to Norway I found the most fantastic Salvation Army charity shop.  As I found this shop with no Kroner left, no room in my case and only 10 minutes before I had to leave, all I could do was take photos.



This was just part of the homeware section, there were 3 floors, the top floor was all bridal wear.

So many lovely Scandi table cloths and doilies, the photos don’t do it justice.