The Ballad Blouse and Block Fusing

Today I wanted to share with you my newest Love Notions sew~ the Ballad Blouse! And yes, it is the $5 Friday pattern today, 6/17/22. Along with a detailed review of the Ballad Blouse, I also wanted to discuss in detail my top tips for sewing this blouse! Keep reading to learn more!

This is such a perfect blouse for summer. Sewn in the right fabric it will keep you looking cool and comfortable all summer no matter how hot it gets where you live!

The Details

The Ballad Blouse is THE perfect blouse for summer! It’s loaded with options that can easily help you fill your closet full of beautiful yet comfortable blouses. The relaxed fit will help you stay cool, yet look cute! The real star of this pattern is the shoulder detail! You can choose between shirring or gathers. I only made the gathered version at this time. Consider trying the shirred version as well~ I did shirring for the first time in a LONG time for my Tempo sundress. It’s a lot easier than you might think! Plus there is a wonderful video to help you along the way! I can’t wait to make a few sleeveless versions for August!

Features

  • Functional button placket (But the Ballad has enough ease that you can skip the buttonholes and sew your buttons on through both plackets!)
  • 5 sleeve options: sleeveless, puff with ties, short, flutter and bishop
  • Shirred or gathered front shoulder option
  • Back yoke with gathers
  • Excellent tutorial that walks you through the shirring. (There are also video links to help you!)
  • Love Notions Blog post with directions for hacking this into a cute dress!

Construction Details

  • Burrito roll method for yoke construction (call me crazy~ but I love this method!)
  • French seams on side seams of body and sleeve~ makes for a pretty inside too!

Sizing and Alterations

The Ballad Blouse is available in sizes XS through 5X. Like all updated Love Notions patterns, a full bust front piece in included. The Ballad is meant to be a relaxed fit blouse, with plenty of ease in the waist and hip. It is designed to hit at the hip.

Remember to choose your pattern size according to your high bust measurement. It’s important to do this so you can get a good fit across your shoulders. If you are in between sizes, make sure you size down. Sizing up in a relaxed fit blouse, will result in a blouse that is just too large.

Not sure why using your high bust measurement gives you a better fit than using your full bust measurement? Visit my Focus on Fit post on the Love Notions Patterns blog to learn more! Click HERE to visit that post. Below is a sneak peek at a Ballad Blouse sewn up using my full bust measurement instead of my high bust.

I sewed my Ballads by using my high bust measurement of 40″. This puts me in the XL. Since my full bust is 4 or more inches larger than my high bust, I used the full bust pattern piece. I did grade out for my hips just a tad. Remember that using the full bust front pattern piece adds 2″ to the finished measurements at the waist and hip. I did not make any alternations on the light blue version other than grading between sizes. On my floral version, I did make a very small narrow shoulder adjustment. This is typically not an adjustment I need to do, but I felt after making my blue version(which was my wearable muslin) that I needed to do that for this pattern. That is why I am always Team Wearable Muslin!

I am only 5 feet tall, and I did NOT shorten the length of the entire blouse. I really liked where the side seam hit me on my hip. Shortening the blouse would have raised the side higher than I liked. I redrew the bottom hem line(using a French curve ruler) on the front pattern piece to shorten it about 1.5″. Using the full bust front pattern piece adds additional length to the center of the bottom front curve. (This is to account for how a fuller bust might pull up the front hem of a blouse.) I find that I don’t need all of this additional length at the center front, so I simply remove some of it.

NOTE: The sleeves are very generous on the Ballad Blouse. If you are planning to wear this under a cardigan or jacket, you may want to alter them a tad. Make a muslin~ even if just for the sleeve.

Fabrics and Notions

The Ballad is designed for woven fabrics with drape. Crepe, rayon challis, voile, lawn, gauze, silk and lightweight lines would all work well. If sewing the gathered version, your fabric should be very lightweight as there is a lot of fabric to gather at the front shoulder. I found rayon challis to be the PERFECT fabric for the gathered version. My light blue(and plum) versions were made using a rayon/nylon blend from my stash.

NOTIONS

  • Interfacing(see comments below)
  • 6 1/2″ buttons
  • Elastic thread (for shirred version)
  • Bias tape, 2 1/2 yards for Puff sleeve. (Consider making your own, it can really elevate the look of your blouse!)
  • Elastic, 1 yard of 3/8″ for Bishop sleeve

Tips for Sewing Rayon Challis

When cutting out “shifty” fabrics such as rayon- make sure NOT to let your fabric hang off your cutting table. The weight of the hanging fabric pulls on the fabric and can result in your pattern pieces being distorted.

Try not to over handle your cut pieces.  Rayons can stretch easily if you aren’t careful.  Stay stitching helps to prevent this.  Don’t skip this step in your tutorial.

Consider using Knit tricot interfacing for rayons.  Knit tricot interfacing gives the rayon the  stabilization  needed on the collar and front band without making them overly stiff.

How many times have you cut out your collars and facings , only to have them not match up to your interfacing when you go to fuse them together?  Any lightweight fabric, like rayon challis can shift before you get a chance to interface them.  Steaming and applying interfacing can often shrink your fabric pieces, which in turn prevents them from fitting correctly when pinning the collar/plackets to your blouse. The best way to prevent this is to block fuse. 

Block Fusing

What is block fusing? Block fusing is a garment industry technique that can make home sewing so much easier!  Your interfaced pieces will in turn be much more accurate which is so important when working with collars and plackets.  I HIGHLY recommend block fusing the front and back plackets for the Ballad blouse!!

Block fusing is the process of cutting a block of fabric and interfacing the same size.  The two are then fused together.  Follow these simple steps.

  • Cut a block of fabric and interfacing the same size.
  • Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.  Use lots of steam.  It’s a good idea to use a press cloth as well.  Remember to press and lift the iron~ do not slide the iron.
  • Press the right side of the fabric as well.
  • Cut the pattern pieces that require interfacing.
  • Now you have perfectly accurate pieces to sew with.

Remember to always lay out ALL of your pattern pieces first before cutting away a block to fuse.  I like to mark out the area I will need for my interfaced pieces with chalk.

Sew Mary Mac’s Tips for Sewing the Ballad Blouse

  • Page 11, Step 1~ Don’t skip the line of stitching 3/8″ from the outside curved edge of the placket. It really does make pressing this evenly during Step 2 much easier.
  • After stitching the outside edge, I like to make a very small clip at the corner. This helps to get a nice clean corner when pressing during Step 2.
  • Page 21-Puff Sleeve ~ I like to do step 6 and 7 BEFORE Step 5. I like working with just the sleeve and not the entire blouse when attaching the bias binding.
  • Page 21, Step 5~ I choose to concentrate my gathers towards just the top of the sleeve head only. Just my preference.

Thanks for stopping by! I truly appreciate all of you that visit! If you enjoyed this blog post, consider subscribing to my blog to stay up to date with all my posts!

Mary Anne 🙂

Remember to follow me over on Instagram to see all my latest makes! @sewmarymac


Purchase the Ballad Blouse pattern HERE. This is my affiliate link. It costs you nothing to purchase from this link, it just helps to fund my fabric addiction (and helps me test more patterns!)

To receive an additional 10% off the pattern price, use this coupon code MARYMAC10. This coupon code can be used at anytime on any pattern….even a $5 Feature Friday pattern. It never expires!!

Fabric Resources

What is Rayon Challis?

Rayon Challis is a man-made fabric made from natural fibers.  It’s lightweight, flowy, soft and it’s amazingly comfortable to wear.  It’s the perfect fabric for summer garments!    Why is RCF rayon challis so special?  RCF rayon challis simply isn’t as “shifty” as some rayons can be.  Thus making it a dream to cut and sew.  It truly is one of my most favorite fabrics to sew.  If you’ve never sewn with rayon before~ RCF rayon challis is the best place to start.

Raspberry Creek Fabrics

The Watercolor Floral rayon challis is from Raspberry Creek Fabrics and is available HERE.

Other Great Fabric Resources For the Ballad Blouse

Alyssa May Designs: great rayon challis, lightweight cottons and bubble crepe

Stylemaker Fabrics: high quality rayon challis and cotton lawn. Sign up for their newsletter to get a 25% off coupon during your birthday month!

LA Finch Fabrics: great selection of designer deadstock fabrics.

10 Comments

  1. Marcia Dumas says:

    I love this rayon challis print in your Ballad Blouse.It is so cute with this style sleeve.
    Waiting to try out this style!

    Like

  2. Yvonne C says:

    I just found you. I saw the blog post about making muslins on the Love Notions site. I was shocked at what a difference between the plum and blue colors were. I’ve been sewing for a while, but grading scares me. i usually just use my largest body part and hope for the best. Your pictures helped me see why that is not always the best choice. Thank you for sharing and for sharing this information about block fusing.

    Like

    • sewmarymac says:

      I am so happy you found me and my info helpful!! I find it so hard to buy anything RTW anymore- I love getting that nice fit in the shoulders and fullness I need other places due to grading. Once you get more practice with grading you will live all your results as well!

      Like

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