Put on your favorite Francois Hardy record and get ready to oohhh lala all over this pattern! The Airelle Blouse by French pattern company Dear and Doe is a wonderful sewing experience, and will most likely become your favorite wardrobe piece. France is known for remarkable style, simple, elegant, and tailored garments, which Dear and Doe definitely captures in their patterns. This is the best fitting, loose fitting blouse I’ve ever made!
Continuing from my last blog post, I decided to make this blouse for a summer staple (although you can throw a cardigan or coat over it and wear it all year) so I made it out of Bolt’s creamy voile and accented it using Liberty of London fabric. I would recommend using voile or other lightweight – sheer fabric for this pattern to get the optimal flattering appearance. Pour quoi? Since it is a loose fitting blouse you want to make sure the fabric you are using has nice drape; if you used say medium weight cotton it may appear as though it doesn’t fit properly as it would stiffen and fold in odd places. Voile is a wonderful apparel fabric and you may develop a slight obsession after your first time using it. As mentioned the drape is wonderful for all garment types, and the hand is c’est parfait! I’m slowly in the process of adjusting my whole wardrobe to have mainly voile pieces. Due to the weave of voile it is very breathable, and great for summer and sleeping garments. Also because of the weave the solid colors tend to be a smidgen see through, but all the more reason to tap into European fashion and get your classy (or sassy) slip on.
As most of you may know we keep our stash of solid colored voile in the same bin as our Liberty of London fabric. It just so happened that when I was perusing the bin for a voile, couldn’t help but notice how the solid voile paired with the right Liberty is just about a match made in fancy heaven. Now I’m right along with most of you who view purchasing a yard or more of Liberty as an investment, a very well made and worth it investment, however one none the less, don’t fret! We sell Liberty in fat eighths in our “candy” section by the register. You may ask what would one use a fat eighth for? Well, I could name off quite a few things but for the sake of this blog I’ll explain how I used two to accent this blouse! The Airelle pattern suggests variations of the blouse where you can use a contrast fabric for the yoke, collar, and sleeve cuffs. I decided to just use a contrast for the collar and cuffs. Due to the width of the collar, and the size of a fat eighth of Liberty, you have to piece the collar together instead of having one continuous piece for the collar top. Essentially you would sew two under collars together, which luckily Liberty textile patterns are so intricate and dense that you won’t be able to notice the center back seam. If you need any assistance visualizing this ask one of the lovely ladies or myself at Bolt and we will show you!
As for the pattern itself, it is pretty straightforward. Unlike other patterns that may have too much instruction, which even for myself can be overwhelming, Dear and Doe keeps it nice and simple. For an experienced sewer I’d say you are fine, however for a novice sewer I’d recommend to have a techniques book handy if you are unfamiliar with some terms as the instructions are very to the point and simple; ex: Gather shoulder seam, sew fisheye dart, attach collar facing. Do not be discouraged though if you are a novice sewer, this pattern is very simple and easy to construct.
This blouse is such a great staple to any wardrobe. It can be paired with just about anything, worn all year, and will be in style forever. I am making a few more for myself in different colors and accents. I’d suggest trying out a linen, or lightweight chambray. This blouse can easily be a garment for the office, or a casual one for around the house, it is so versatile!
I hope you have as much fun with this pattern as I did, bonne couture!