Introduction: Gunita: a Modern Filipiñana Blouse

Do you harbor a love for Philippine culture? Have you ever wanted a modern everyday twist to the formal Filipiñana attire? Or maybe you would like to gift a friend with a breezy yet stylish blouse for the summer weather?

Look no further! I will teach you how to create your own modern Filipiñana blouse that is suitable for everyday wear with no need for a sewing machine!

Gunita is the Filipino word for memory or recollection. This project aims to allow women to recollect, remember, and wear a classic look in a fresh and fun way!

Step 1: Prepare Your Materials

To create your modern Filipiñana blouse you will need the following materials:

1) 1 pair of scissors

2) 1 ruler

3) 1 tape measure

4) Pins

5) Needle and thread

6) 1 yard of the fabric of your choice

7) 3 buttons

8) 1 roll of garter

9) Pencil and paper (for pattern-making)

After gathering all the materials, find a suitable area to work. Ensure that your workspace is spacious and well-lit.

Step 2: Get Your Measurements

Before you can start making the pattern for your blouse, get your body's measurements of the following areas:

1) Waist

2) Bust

3) Circumference of arm (underneath the armpit area and upper arm)

4) Neckline length (armpit to armpit)

The blouse will be divided into two components:

1) Torso

- In my case, I made the width of the torso 11.5 inches, and the length 16.5 inches to ensure I had excess fabric to work with.

- Make sure to trace two copies of the torso on your fabric.

2) Sleeves

- In my case, for the sleeve length I measured the top of my shoulder to 3 inches above my elbow.

- Make sure to incorporate this measurement into the pattern for your sleeves.

Step 3: Create Your Pattern

Before cutting out the different pieces of your blouse, create a pattern on paper first.

For the torso, I drew the measurements directly onto the fabric itself as the shape is a simple rectangle with 3 inch diagonal cuts on the top of both ends. Once done, put another layer of fabric underneath the guidelines you drew and pin the two layers together. Cut the guidelines you created, but be sure to include both layers to save time and instantly create the back and front of the torso.

For the sleeves, draw the base first. This is in the shape of a rectangle with a height of 4 inches and a length of 10.5 inches. Next, add more height to give the sleeves more volume. From the center of your rectangular base, measure 11 inches from the top of the 4 inch height of your base. Once marked, fold the paper in half and draw a smooth curve from the top of the additional 11 inches to the top corner of the rectangular base. Folding the paper in half ensures that once cut, the curve will be symmetric on either side of the sleeve.

After creating the pattern, cut it out and firmly pin it to the fabric. Once pinned, cut along the pattern carefully by using the paper as a guide, but be sure to add an excess 1 inch to the length of the base of the rectangle of the sleeves as it will be used when closing the sleeve later on. Once finished cutting both the torso and sleeves, set them aside.

Step 4: Create the Sleeves

Pull the ends of the rectangular base of the first sleeve together, and sew them together using a backstitch. Make sure that you sew on the side of the fabric that will not be seen. Once finished, flip the sleeve inside out to see the structure.

Next, sew a basting stitch along the top curve of the sleeve. This is done to give your sleeves the "puffed sleeve" look. I recommend using the basting stitch until about 10 folds are visible when the thread is pulled taut. You should now see the final structure of your sleeve.

Once this is done, prepare your garter and sew it inside the rim of your sleeves. I recommend using a thin garter, about 1cm in width. Make sure to pull the fabric of the rim over the garter as a cover to make sure no part of the garter is visible.

Repeat the process for the other sleeve, and set both sleeves aside once finished.

Step 5: Create the Torso

Align both identical rectangles inside out, and sew them together using the back stitch. Do this for both ends to create a tube. Once this is done, create a half-inch hem on both the top layer and the bottom of the tube by using the blind hem stitch to create a neater finish.

After hemming the torso, flip the fabric to hide the side with stitches to see the finished torso component. Have you or your friend wear it, and pin it accordingly in the back to know where to sew the 3 buttons, and to know how much fabric is excess. Make sure all pins are securely in place, especially in the areas where will attach the buttons and in all the areas that must be folded or trimmed off to best fit the wearer.

By now should have the finished structure of the torso component. Once this is done, measure 2 inches for each leg of a letter "V", and cut this out on both sides where the front and back parts are sown together. This will be a part of the armpit hole that will be attached to the sleeves you made earlier.

Step 6: Attach the Sleeves to the Torso

Flip both the torso component and the sleeves inside out. Align the excess fabric from the sleeves to the "V" cuts on the torso component. Sew together using a backstitch.

Once finished, flip blouse to hide the side with the stitches to see the final structure.

Step 7: Sew on Buttons

Lay the blouse down with the back side face-up. According to how you pinned the back of the torso component before when marking where to sew the buttons, cut the back completely through from top to bottom. This will create a left side and a right side.

Spread the 3 buttons evenly along the left side of the torso. Sew them onto the left side and ensure that they are secure.

Once attached, create buttonholes on the right side by cutting thin slits using scissors, and reinforce these slits by using the overcast stitch. Make sure that these holes align with the buttons on the left side, and that the buttons have a snug fit once pulled through.

Step 8: Wear Your Finished Product!

Strut your stuff in your finished modern Filipiñana blouse!

Feel free to experiment with different necklines and patterns! Enjoy!