Saturday, October 29, 2016

Bead a Basic Button-Down Shirt

I fell in love with this $100 blouse sold out at J. Crew recently. A blue and white stripe button down with jeweled bees fits nicely in my casual wardrobe. Each bee is embroidered with unique-shaped beads.
Since the fall is a busy time for me as a teacher, I am sewing relatively simple projects in my limited sewing time. I recreated the bee blouse first with a white linen from Vogue Fabrics. The bees are $6 worth of  iron-on transfers purchased recently at a sewing expo.
While I prefer the multi-faceted beads used by J. Crew, I didn't feel I had the time to source them nor did I want to spend much on the embellishment.
Bee Embellishment
In my button stash are satin bridal buttons from my custom sewing days. They raise the style of the blouse from basic to a little special. The buttons are spaced closely to prevent gaps and also to embellish the blouse.
Today is a beautiful, breezy fall day as you can see in the photo.
The blouse pattern is Butterick 6097. If you are interested in the blouse construction details, I have created a 3-part tutorial that features photos of each construction step. See the Index on the right column of the blog.

I had a vintage-inspired cotton print purchased from the Vogue Fabrics bimonthly swatch club. It stitched up nicely into a duplicate blouse.
I used bronze beads I had in my stash to add subtle interest. Again, I did not feel I had time to do a serious bead search. I used materials I already owned which feels nice.
I covered the buttons in self-fabric. It was too hard to find buttons that worked with the fabric. I like 3/8" buttons for blouses though 1/2" is sometimes okay. I don't like the heaviness that a larger button can add to the look of a blouse.
The pattern has lovely shape due to the waist seam and front and back princess seams.
I made a muslin over the summer. A muslin for a fitted shirt is essential even if I have sewn from a given pattern line. A well-fitted shirt can work for years and I have favorite blouses in my wardrobe that were made more than twenty years ago. 

I start with a full-body muslin with no sleeves.

Fit of front, side, and back are checked and corrected.
Sleeves are then added. Sleeves can highlight shoulder length issues so I always add both sleeves which is extra work I would prefer to not do.
Enjoy the mile fall weather this year, at least in Chicago!


  1. Love your tops and the beaded embellishment, especially the bees! May have to copy your idea.

    1. The blouse sold out very early in the fall season and it was never discounted. I expect J Crew will offer the shirt again in another color!

  2. Oh Ann,

    Just so wonderful to see you in my inbox; always a delicious treat.

    I absolutely adore the white blouse and the addition of the bees............stunning.
    Beautiful work as always dear friend.

    Enjoy the mild fall weather. We are also enjoying good weather for the time of year, here in the U.K.

    With warmest regards,

    1. I do what I can, Marysia. I sure miss sewing suits and dresses but I'll be back to them over the holidays.