Detail Inspiration: Fetching Keyholes


Keyhole—shaped openings that are characteristically tied or buttoned at the top—typically show up on high necklines, back openings and sleeves. They add a charming “peek-a-boo” element to any garment, and can also add a bit of flair with geometric cutout shapes. The Sencha blouse features a shaped keyhole neckline, and I wanted to share a few other shapes and placement options. Perfect for summertime dresses or demure blouses alike! (I’m envisioning a keyhole neckline easily added to the Peony dress…)

This mod-era vintage dress features not one but two keyhole elements. The short puffed sleeves feature a gathered keyhole opening which adds a bit of interest to an otherwise classic sleeve shape. The cutout at the back baring a larger swath of skin is a fun reverse of the typical front keyhole. Self fabric piping is used on both keyholes for the bow ties.

A beautiful example of the modern use of the keyhole element is this blouse from the Rachel Comey spring/summer 2012 collection. Featuring a trio of cutouts that aren’t quite the traditional style, as they don’t terminate at the neckline edge, but rather just below it. It’s a great look that gives a more contemporary edge to the look.

A keyhole neckline can be as simple as a slit, bound with fabric and tied or buttoned at the neck. This one from the 1950s features a darling Peter Pan collar as well to showcase the keyhole. (I love the rhinestone accents as well!)

Images: Mod Dress, Rachel Comey blouse, 1950s dress.

Casey Cartwright   —  

Comments 8


I have always loved this detail, especially not at the traditional front!

Sewing Princess

Love those drops in the second top!


I love the keyhole neckline…so much part of the 1940s design. That along with should pads made for some stunning dresses and blouses. Bring back the peek-a-b00 keyhole and let’s lose the full exposure decolletage!


I can tip about Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi that actually feature a sleeve with a keyhole in it – and then some.


Thanks for the tip1 I’d love to make a sleeve siwth a keyhole but have no idea how to adjust a sleeve pattern to do so. Is it the first Pattern Magic book?


I really love the first top.


Interesting post! I really like the second picture. I find the trio more visually interesting, it could really add something to an otherwise simple piece of clothing.

Judi Strycker

I have been sewing for 61 years, I’m now 68, and your fashions are wonderful, the sewing is very creative, there are actually very few good seamstresses left anymore, and i am glad u have this sight even the pressing on the garments is top notch, beautiful, keep up the good work………………….

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