Sewing for Me: IKEA blouse

ikea-linen-blouse1Sometimes you just need a simple, white linen blouse. It’s been drizzly and bordering on frigid ever since we got back to Seattle, and I welcomed the idea of sewing a long-sleeve top.


I’ve been saving a breathtakingly beautiful and expensive white linen for years, but I couldn’t cut into it for this project. I knew I wanted white, and it most definitely had to be linen, but I was afraid I might make an irreparable mistake and I wasn’t sure if I could handle that in my current frazzled state. I am nothing if not resourceful, and out of the corner of my eye, I spotted our little closet that houses bedsheets and toiletries. I remembered that I had an IKEA linen duvet that always drove me nuts because the ties never stayed in the designated holes. It was satisfying to snip apart the duvet, and it turned out to be the perfect choice because the duvet’s been washed so often the linen is lusciously soft and drape-y. I have enough to make at least two more tops, or maybe even a dress for K.

The pattern is from this book, and I made a few modifications, mainly to speed things up. I cut the size 11 (roughly equivalent to a medium) and here’s what I changed:

– Ignored the bust dart. The position looked all wrong for me, and I didn’t really want any shaping.

– Also ignored the side slits. According to the pattern pieces, they went up almost up to my belly button, and due to the sheerness of the top, I figured I’d want to wear a cami tank underneath which would have looked odd with the side slits/vents.

– I didn’t set in the sleeve, but used my cheater method of attaching the sleeves before sewing up the side seams of the bodice. Like this.


Because of these changes, from initial tracing to completed top took me about an hour and a half. I love me a quick project! The hardest part was attaching the very thin ties. My regular foot needs more fabric width to keep things moving, so I’ve recently acquired an extremely handy teflon foot that’s meant for “sticky” fabrics like leather and laminated textiles, but I’m finding it pretty useful for knits and thin bias tapes too. I’m still experimenting with it, so I’ll let you know if I change my mind about its usefulness.

Today and tomorrow, I’m shooting the cover of my sewing book (and yes, I needed this top for the photo shoot)! I have the most incredible photo team — I’ll talk about them more in-depth later — and they’ve made the whole shebang so organized! Still, I always manage to make things harder for myself so it’s crazy town here in my house at this moment. Next week, I hope to be less scattered. Thank goodness for K hugs…they always make me feel less chaotic.


P.S. M’s birthday was awesome.

32 thoughts on “Sewing for Me: IKEA blouse

  1. Love this top. So fresh looking for summer, no one would ever guess it used to be bedding. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear more about the new book!

    1. Someone told me that it looked like a high-end shirt today, which pleased me to no end 🙂 Thank you, Kristi, I hope to be able to share more about the book gradually, but there are all sorts of rules about keeping things under wraps with book publishing…

  2. Good luck with the photo shot Sanae! I just heart white shirts!!!! they are one of my favourite clothing item. This one that you made looks wonderful, plus the fabric… oh, that is so fresh and “très chic”. Beautiful

    1. Thanks Morgan! I’ve been experimenting with sewing smaller sizes than I normally would, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. So lovely to see you today!!

    1. Well…”celebrity” is a reach, but I tell you, it’s weird to be called an “author”. I did a double-take when the art director introduced me as the author to someone! This will take some getting used to…

  3. It’s beautiful, Sanae–and it suits you so perfectly.
    I can’t do white, but it sure looks fresh and pretty (I am always hugging my large black dogs and spilling tea on myself)

    1. White is tricky for me sometimes too, Sharon — I’m notoriously clumsy and am constantly bumping into things, spilling (usually red) substances…still, I love breezy white tops and own way too many!

  4. Nice! I tried to up-cycle a huge pair of linen pants that a friend gave me, only to realize the color was so wrong and homely, the project ended up once again in the scrap pile. So nice to see a successful transformation!

  5. oh this is great, sanae! lightweight long sleeved shirts are pretty amazing, aren’t they? roll the sleeves on a warm day, layer it up as it cools off…great staple.

    1. Thanks, Kristin! SO great to finally meet you in person, btw — you are as adorable and cool as you seem on your blog!

  6. I haven’t had much time this summer for stopping by your blog- a quick peek tells me that life and sewing, etc are moving along in such an exciting way. Congrats on your upcoming books! Can’t wait for the publication dates! And I’m so impressed with K’s skateboarding adventures!

    1. I always love seeing your name pop up in my comments section, Gita! I hope life is treating you well!

  7. I can’t wait to hear more about your book. I already want it.
    I love that shirt. I have some “eggshell” linen that i either want to make a top from or pillowcases (because linen pillowcases are awesome…) but now i am leaning towards a top.

    1. Ooh, I love linen pillow cases! In fact, I still use the IKEA ones that came with the duvet and they are so nice and soft now 🙂 thanks, Anna!

  8. Look at you getting all resourceful, Sanae! Good call with the IKEA duvet – pretty sure Ikeahackers don’t have anything as lovely as your linen blouse:) I will be looking for glimpses of it in the book and smiling to myself remembering this blog post:)

    1. Ha, I should submit this to Ikeahackers to see the response! 🙂 sadly, the blouse was nixed for the photoshoot, but that wasn’t a big surprise. At least now I have a lovely linen blouse!

  9. I love that shirt! One of my very favorites that you’ve made. Makes me want to sew one right up. Although a white shirt around here sounds like a recipe for disaster!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth – I was so pleased that it sewed up so quickly, though I was sewing furiously fast! White shirts are pretty impractical for me too. But I love them so, and own way too many!

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