Women's blouses are always in style, whether they are paired with jeans for a casual look, with a business suit for a professional appearance or with a black skirt for more formal occasions. If you have recently lost weight and want to flaunt your new figure, or if you regret purchasing a loose-fitting blouse, you can achieve a more flattering look by tapering the blouse to be form-fitting. All you need to transform a blouse from ordinary to terrific are some basic sewing skills, a sewing machine and a few spare hours.
Do up all buttons or fasteners on the blouse you wish to taper. Turn it inside out so the wrong side is facing you. Lay it on a flat work surface with the front of the blouse facing you. Repeat this process with a tight-fitting shirt you already have.
Lay the tight-fitting shirt on top of the blouse to be tapered. Align the shoulder seams. Pin the shoulder seams together.
Use tailor's chalk to draw a line down each side seam of the blouse, following the outside edge of the seams on the tight-fitting shirt. Start at the top of the seam where it joins the armhole seam and curve the line until it meets the edge of the seam of the shirt. Remove the tight shirt and place pins vertically along the lines drawn on the blouse.
Turn the blouse right-side out and try it on. Repeat steps 1 to 3, moving the pins closer toward or farther from the center of the blouse about 1/8 inch if you feel the blouse is still too loose or has become too tight.
Use a seam ripper to remove some stitches from the hem of the blouse. Unpick two to three inches of the hem on each side of both side seams. Unfold the hem and extend the pinned seams straight down to the edge of the fabric.
Thread the sewing machine with thread matching the color of the blouse. Straight-stitch the new side seams along the lines formed by the pins. Remove the pins as you sew.
Turn the bottom edge back toward the wrong side of the blouse along the fold where the hem had been stitched. Stitch this hem back in place.
If your shirt has front or back darts you can increase the amount of fabric taken up on each dart in addition to the tapering of the side seams.
Try on the garment after it has been pinned and invest the time to pin and re-pin as many times as necessary, repeating Step 4 until the best fit has been achieved. If not, you might not be satisfied with the final appearance of the blouse.
Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.