Blouse Refashion – Bias Binding Armholes

You can refashion a frumpy, long sleeve blouse into a cute fitted top in only a few steps. Just cut off the sleeves, take in the sides, and finish the armholes with a ‘french’ bias binding. It took my look from ‘suicidal accountant’ to ‘sassy librarian’ in a flash! For a full DIY tutorial, keep scrolling :)

before and after

short sleeve

blouse refashion*Note, the book is Dispossessed by Ursula Leguin. She’s probably my all time favorite author. If you get a chance, read her short story ‘The Ones Who Walk Walk Away from Omelas‘ It’s a heart wrencher alright.

Anyways, onto the good stuff, the tutorial!!!

tutorial step 1First, cut off the sleeves of your blouse and slice up the side seams, so it lays flat on the floor. Then,  You’ll need something to reference to cut the blouse down to size and give it shape. You can use either a sleeveless top that you already own, or a sleeveless blouse pattern that fits you well. Take in the side seams, adjust the armholes, and add darts where necessary.

Once that’s done, you’ll want to sew up the side seams.

bias binding

Don’t throw away the sleeves! You’ll need them to make the bias strips which you will then use to bind the armhole. The method of binding that I’m going to illustrate is referred to as ‘French Bias Binding,’ and it can be used to finish necklines as well. To start, you’ll need to cut 2″ wide strips from your sleeve. Cut the strips on the bias (diagonal) as they will curve around the armhole better this way.

The following illustrations describe how to finish an armhole using the french bias binding method. Sewaholic has an amazing photo tutorial showing how to bind a neckline the same way. For further clarification, be sure to check her site out as well!

binding tutorial

 Step 1: a strip of bias tape 2″ wide and a couple inches longer than the circumference of your armhole. Then fold the bias tape in half and press to crease.

Step 2: With the blouse right side out, pin the folded bias tape around the armhole, raw edges facing outward, matching the raw edges of the armhole. Begin your pinning at the bottom, leaving an inch or two of excess at the side seam.

Step 3: To join the ends of the bias tape, Unfold the overhanging ends, and trim the excess so it’s just 1/2″ longer than the armhole circumference on each side. Sew the two ends of the bias tape together using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Butterfly press your seam and refold the bias tape, pinning it in place at the side seam.

Step 4: Sew the bias tape in place, according to the sewing lines specified by your pattern. Then, trim the seam allowance down to 1/8″ of an inch and fold the bias tape to the inside of the garment, hiding the raw edges underneath.

Step 5: Pin the bias tape in place, making sure a little bit of the outer fabric is folded under as well, so that the bias binding won’t show.

Step 6: Stitch the bias binding in place. Sew inside the tube, keeping your needle as close as possible to the edge of the bias tape. This stitching will show on the outside of the blouse, so be sure to use matching thread.

And you’re done! You have a beautiful new short sleeved blouse!


Mucho love, hope you enjoyed it! All your feedback is appreciated!

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