orange silk blouse | mccalls 6793

my last post was of a scout tee in silk, but this blouse is actually the first one i made, and my first real foray into the world of floaty silks! natch, it comes with a convoluted narrative, so bear with me…


last winter i entered the sewing for children pattern review contest and came in second for the coat i made my daughter. my prize was a $50 gift certificate to truthfully, most of what they sell isn’t really my thing (haven’t looked recently though), but they do have a small selection of fabrics. i ended up treating myself to two yards of a silk crepe de chine. the price tag was a whopping $23/yd, so i crossed my fingers that it would live up to my expectations. at the time i didn’t know my chine from my charmeuse and had hoped to use it as a fancy jacket lining, but duh it’s totally the wrong type of silk for that. so… it sat in my sewing room for months and i kinda forgot about it until recently.


i decided to make a blouse (though i wasn’t completely convinced that orange would look good on me) but in typical i’m afraid to ruin this fabric mode, i agonized over the details. for weeks. you know how it is… the longer you hold onto a nice cut of fabric, the harder it gets to use… then on a whim i decided to use mccalls 6793 and make the bow blouse with the peplum gathers and blouse-y sleeves (i love those sleeves!!), but as it turned out, i didn’t have quite enough fabric for that version. however, it led me to trying out the pattern on much less expensive fabric, specifically the bow blouse i made recently. i’m glad i did because i realized i really don’t need many bow blouses in my wardrobe. also, it was perfect to test the fit so i could confidently cut into my precious fabric. since i had the fit worked out, i decided to make some design changes. i browsed a ton of blouses online and decided to do the following:

  • raise the neckline to be more scooped
  • add a front button placket
  • bias bind the neckline
  • add a back yoke
  • add 2″ to CB of lower back piece for light gathers
  • add 1″ to back length, curve hem up at the sides

from my last version, i only tweaked the sizing a tad. i cut a straight S on the back piece (but added 2″ width at CB gathered to the yoke). on the front i also cut a straight S, but slashed and spread from the waist to swing the width out to a M at the hemline (just as i did for my last scout). anymore i prefer the “slash and spread/overlap” instead of grading between sizes because it feels more accurate and it’s more obvious what pattern changes i’m making to get the fit i need.


even though i had all the details worked out in my head, i still procrastinated starting my project because i had about zero experience on dealing with silk. after a bit of online research and some swatch testing, i felt pretty confident that my fabric would not fall apart if i machine washed it, so in it went on the cold/handwash cycle. i threw in a color catcher sheet for good measure. after washing i line dried it, and that was it!

construction was slow, but all went well. the first thing i did was make the front button placket, and let’s just say i’m glad that i’m very comfortable with this process otherwise it would have been a nightmare. it’s still not perfect; even though i was using a microtex needle, it had a hard time piercing the layers. i encased the yoke seams as i would a regular button up, and french seamed the sides. the armholes i trimmed way down and serged.


i realized i haven’t done a proper bias bound neckline in… i can’t even remember when, if ever! it’s a bit nerve-wrecking since you have to chop off the whole seam allowance. no turning back once you choose to go that route. fortunately it turned out pretty darn good. in the future, i think i need to “pre-stretch” the binding before cutting it to the right width. as in, cut bias strips wider than needed and actually stretch them out, then cut to the width i need. i think that would have made the bias tape more stable and easier to bind. if anyone has thoughts or experience, feel free to chime in on that one!


i love these feminine bloused sleeves. they have a continuous binding placket and bias bound cuff/hem. if i had to do over again i wouldn’t bother with cutting the cuff on the bias (per the directions); the bias made it extremely difficult to sew since my fabric is cray cray stretchy on the bias. i had to meticulously measure the cuff as i gathered the sleeve to it to make sure it ended up the right length.


anyways, i’m glad i finally got over my fear of silk, and i’m glad i fretted over every detail. even though i had the difficulty ramped up in my head, i would have regretted skimping on the details. i think the hardest part sewing wise was getting used to the feel, or lack thereof, of the fabric. the stuff is so thin and floaty that it almost disappears under your fingertips. other than that, it was pretty well behaved. and oh yeah… i love my blouse!

—lisa g.

34 thoughts on “orange silk blouse | mccalls 6793

  1. The Sewing French Girl says:

    Super Nice !! I love working with silk, unfortunately, on my caribbean Island it’s only semi-practical (hello sweat marks…). I just finished a dress with a tab opening, I wanted to do a little triangle shape at the bottom but then I started looking around at how to do it and couldn’t find anything, so i did it square. I would be very curious to hear about your process!

    • lisa g says:

      thank you! i made the front placket the exact same as i would do on the cuff of a button down dress shirt. there are several good tutorials out there if you search “tower placket.” hope that helps!

  2. dokucug says:

    It’s so beautiful. I love this color on you.

    When I first got back to sewing a few years ago, I made a bunch of things in silk, then set the silk aside for more “practical” fabrics. I’ve recently purchased a fair bit of silk but am a tiny bit afraid to dig into it. Your post is giving me a bit of courage!

  3. poppykettle says:

    It’s gorgeous! I always think it’s worthwhile fretting over the details – it never fails to pay off and this is a great example. LOVE the buttons/placket at the front and the softness of the cuffs… but you did that cuff binding on the bias??? Yikes! It looks amazing for what could potentially have been disastrous, especially with the added fiddly-ness of the button loops. Crepe de chine is so lovely to wear 🙂

    • lisa g says:

      thank you! and, in hindsight, i should have followed my gut and cut the cuff binding on the straight grain. oh well… it all turned out fine in the end! i do love the crepe de chine, can’t wait to add more to my wardrobe!

  4. cathy says:

    giant kudos to you for foraging into slippery silks! i am graaaaaaaaaadually easing my way in with silk/cotton blends, but not yet brave enough to go 100% silk. Love the blouse on you!

    • lisa g says:

      it was nerve-wracking to be sure! the nice thing about crepe de chine is that the fabric has some “grip” to to it, so the actual sewing isn’t all that hard. hope you get to try it out soon!

  5. liza jane says:

    Oh my gosh, the colors in that silk are just gorgeous!! I love this so much. And I think your comment about pre-stretching bias strips is veeery interesting. Will have to keep that in mind.

  6. Melissa says:

    LOVE this top! I found your post searching for “crepe de chine sewing” because I’m about to make a Colette Sorbet tank in crepe de chine and was a bit worried about how it would work with the whole bias bound edge idea. A bit nervous here, but it’s nice to see your beautiful top turned out so well. I was disappointed you basically designed your own top here, because I wanted the pattern! But kudos to you! I’m not yet confident enough to alter patterns much except for fit (even then I’m nervous).

    • lisa g says:

      thanks! working with silks just takes a lot more patience than cottons. i definitely suggest cutting your stripes wider than you need, then stretching (and maybe even starching them for stability) before trimming to the right width. good luck!

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