How to Make a Knit Driftwood Blouse

The Driftwood Blouse and Dress is such a versatile pattern, but did you know that it can also be sewn in a knit fabric?  While the pattern was designed for woven fabric, lightweight, drapey knits can also be used with excellent results. 

Omitting the keyhole and facing, sewing a band instead of a hem, and omitting the sleeve cuffs or elastic hem makes this a very quick project to sew!

Choosing fabric:

The Driftwood Blouse pictured here was made using a merino wool/cotton blend knit.  It is a fairly stable (about 30% stretch), lightweight knit with excellent drape.  Using a more stable knit will make it easier to gather and bind the neckline.  Of course, all knits behave differently.  If you are using a fabric with a lot of stretch, it may be necessary to stabilize the neckline.

Prepare the pattern pieces:

The blouse pictured here was made with a couple of minor, optional, alterations to the pattern pieces.  The Blouse Front and Back pieces were shortened by about 3" (7.5cm), and the Neck Binding piece was shortened by about 1" (2.5cm) to account for the extra stretch of the knit fabric. 

Create a Hem Band pattern piece:

To create a Hem Band for your blouse, use the measurement of your hips and subtract 2" (5cm).  This will be the length of the band piece.  Cut a rectangle of fabric using your determined length by 5" (13cm) tall.  The longer length of the fabric band needs to have the most stretch which usually is across the fabric.  You can, of course, adjust the length and height of this piece to your preference.  Be sure that the fabric has enough stretch so that the band can stretch to the width of the blouse hem. 

Cut your fabric:

Cut out your pattern pieces, with the following considerations:

  • Omit the keyhole opening on the Blouse Front piece.  Do not cut the Facing piece.
  • For the flutter sleeve as pictured, cut the sleeves to the Elastic Hem length.
  • Cut the neck binding using the Neck Binding for Button and Loop pattern piece.  It is not necessary to cut it on the bias when using a knit fabric. 
  • Cut one Hem Band using the pattern piece you created. 

Sewing Instructions:

1.  Sew the sleeves and side seams as described in the Driftwood tutorial.  I used my overlocker/serger to stitch and finish the seams in one step. 

2.  Finish the sleeve with the method of your choice.  For this top, I decided to omit the elastic and cuff to keep a fluttery look, and instead finished the armhole with a narrow rolled hem.

3.  Prepare bias binding as described in the tutorial, being sure to use the Neck Binding for Button & Loop pattern piece (remember, for stretch fabric it does not have to be cut on the bias).  Open out your folds and stitch the short ends of the bias strip together to form a continuous loop of fabric.  

4.  Sew gathering stitches around the neckline of the blouse as described in the Gathering Stitches section of the tutorial.  Since there is no keyhole opening, the gathering stitches will go the entire way around the neckline.

5.  Gather the neckline to the size of the Neck Binding loop.  In order to gather evenly, I find that it helps to divide the Neck Binding into 4 equal parts, marked with pins.  Then divide the blouse neckline into 4 equal parts, marked with pins.  As you attach the Neck Binding, match up the pins marking the quarters to ensure that the gathers are evenly distributed.  Pin the right side of the Binding to the wrong side of the neckline, as described in the tutorial.  The seam in the Neck Binding loop that you sewed previously should be at the centre back of the neckline. 

6.  Stitch the Neck Binding to the neckline, omitting the steps in the tutorial relating to the keyhole.

Sewing the Hem Band:

7.  Fold the Hem Band piece in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press a memory fold.  Open it out again and stitch the short ends of the Hem Band, right sides together, to form a continuous loop.

8.  Re-fold the band along the memory fold, wrong sides together, and divide the band into 4 equal parts, marked with pins.  Divide the hem of the blouse into 4 equal parts, marked with pins.  Line up the pins in the band and the blouse hem, and affix the band to the blouse, right sides together, with the raw edges aligned. 

9.  Sew the Hem Band to the blouse.  The body of the blouse will be bigger around than the Band, so you will need to gently stretch the band so that it matches up with the size of the blouse. 

Enjoy your comfortable and stylish knit Driftwood!

The Twig + Tale Blog is home to a number of simple tutorials that allow you to modify your Driftwood and achieve even more looks with this versatile pattern.  Read more about the Driftwood Blouse and Dress here:

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    ~Images by Angela Schade~