Indiesew.com | Sewing Patterns for the Modern Woman - Blog Post: How to Sew a Highlands Wrap Blouse with Bell Sleeves

How to Sew a Highlands Wrap Blouse with Bell Sleeves

By Allie

Allie is the co-founder of Indiesew and creator of all things pretty on the site. Follow Allie and receive other Indiesew updates by subscribing to the blog.

highlands-wrap-blouse-cover.jpg

When I was hashing out the Highlands Wrap Dress design with my patternmaker Dawn, I sewed up four quick blouse-length muslins. It was an easy way to test the changing fit of the bodice without wasting yards of fabric sewing the maxi-length dress.

After staring at all those blouse-length muslins, Dawn and I both agreed that a Highlands Wrap Blouse was in order for both of us. And thus, this is the first pattern hack I got to work on after the pattern was finalized. 

I’ve been inspired by all of the wrap blouse designs I’ve seen popping up on Pinterest. Most of those are sewn in floaty floral fabrics, which (try as I must) I’m just not drawn to.

So, I decided to make my Highlands Wrap Dress in our Eggshell Windowpane Plaid fabric (sold-out, but navy is available), with doubts on whether it would work. You know this creative process meme? I experienced every phase of that process while sewing this top.

But in the end? Well, this might be my favorite thing I’ve ever sewn.

Highlands Wrap Dress Pattern Hack | Blouse with Flared Sleeves

Indiesew Sewing Tutorials | Wrap Dress to Blouse Hack

Highlands Wrap Dress | Flared Bell Sleeve

Highlands Wrap Dress Side | Indiesew Blog

Highlands Wrap Dress by Allie Olson | Indiesew Blog

Highlands Wrap Dress Sewing Pattern | Allie Olson
Worn here with the Leather Accent Pouch 

I’m a sucker for 70s-inspired fashion and this blouse reminds me of that era. The rayon crepe fabric is super lightweight, which makes this wearable even in warm weather.

Are you ready to make one of your own? Let’s get started!

You’ll need the following supplies:

  • Highlands Wrap Dress Sewing Pattern
  • 3 yards of 54” fabric, 3.5 yards of 45” fabric (sizes 0 - 12), 4 yards of 45" fabric (sizes 14 - 18)
  • Coordinating thread
  • ½ yard 1.25” wide elastic

The tutorial below will lead you through the steps of shortening the Highlands Wrap Dress while maintaining the mitered hem finish. If you aren't keen on the mitered hem, you can simply shorten the dress (accounting for the 1 7/8" hem allowance) and sew a traditional double fold hem

 

1. Modify the sleeve

For my Highlands Wrap Blouse, I chose to sew a subtle 3/4-length flared sleeve. To modify the sleeve shape, I separated my sleeve into six sections as shown below.

Then I slashed and spread the sections so that the sleeve side seams flared out just slightly starting at the underarm seam. If you want a more dramatic bell sleeve, you can spread them even further.

Note: Slashing and spreading will keep the fullness of the sleeve evenly distributed around the entire circumference of the sleeve. Simply extending the side seams at an angle is not a good idea, as that method will distribute most of the fullness to the underarm. 

Then I extended the side seams, lengthening the sleeve by 8” from the bottom hem. I trued the bottom 1 7/8” of the sleeve to accommodate the hem. This isn’t necessary, but does make hemming the sleeve a bit easier.

Highlands Wrap Dress | Flared Sleeve Modification

 

2. Shorten the Back Skirt

To decide how much to shorten the pattern by, measure from your natural waist to where you’d like the blouse hit on your hips. On me, this measurement was 9 1/4".

Add 2 1/4" to that measurement  to account for the skirt/waistband seam allowance and the hem allowance. Measure that distance down from the top edge of the skirt and cut your pattern piece horizontally.

Then cut the bottom of the skirt horizontally 3" above the side mitered point. This will give you a roughly 1.5" slit. You can measure even further above the mitered point for a deeper slit. The middle skirt piece can be set aside.

Tape the bottom skirt piece the top skirt piece, aligning the center of the diagonal seam with the bottom corner of the skirt (see image above). Trim the excess paper from the center back of the skirt.

In order to keep our hem allowance consistent on the side slit, measure 1 1/2" from the "step" towards the side seam. Extend the existing skirt side seam to this point.

Highlands Wrap Dress | Shorten Skirt

 

 

3. Shorten the Front Bodice

First assemble the front bodice, taping the Upper Front Bodice (notice there are two different pattern pieces depending on your sleeve preference) to the Lower Front Bodice as instructed on the pattern pieces.

To shorten the front bodice, use the desired natural-waist-to-hip measurement from the previous step and add 1 7/8”. Measure that distance from the bottom waist notch down and cut your pattern piece horizontally.

Again, cut the bottom of the front bodice horizontally 3" above the side mitered point.

Tape the bottom skirt piece to the top skirt piece, aligning the center of the diagonal seam with the bottom corner of the skirt (see image above). There shouldn't be any excess paper to trim.

In order to keep our hem allowance consistent on the side slit, measure 1 1/2" from the "step" towards the side seam. Extend the existing skirt side seam to this point.

Highlands Wrap Dress | Front Bodice Mods

 

4. Shorten the Lower Front Facing

Lay the lower front facing on your new front bodice, aligning the notches (you'll have to peek under your taped pattern piece to transfer the bodice notch).

Measure 1 7/8” up from the bottom of the front bodice and cut the lower front facing horizontally at that point. This will allow the facing to tuck neatly inside the hem and, thus, reduces hem bulk.

Highlands Wrap Dress Lower Front Facing Mods

That’s it! You’re now ready to cut out your fabric! Follow the Highlands Wrap Dress instructions to sew the blouse. We’d love to see what you make! Upload your creation and/or tag #highlandswrapdress on social media.

Happy sewing!

Pin It

We've created a Pinterest friendly image so that you can save this post for later, when you need it:

Follow our step-by-step instructions (with illustrations!) to sew your own Highlands Wrap Blouse with flared sleeves. | Indiesew.com

Leave your comment

In an effort to reduce spam, you must be logged in to leave a comment. Please log in or create an account.

Comments

No comments yet, be the first to leave some feedback!

    Browse Related Posts

    Want more sewing content like this?

    Receive the latest posts, tutorials, news, updates, deals and announcements right to your inbox!

    Emails are sent about once per week, unsubscribe anytime.

    We'll always respect the privacy of your e-mail address.