As much as I love living Australia, being so far from some of the largest viable sources of secondhand fabric and patterns does mean learning to sew can get very expensive. For a lot of people I often hear that it’s prohibitively expensive, especially as very few stores allow payment plans for purchasing machines and tools. So it seemed natural to me that at some point I would need to learn how to do some pattern drafting in order to make the things that I couldn’t find a pattern for. And what better place to start than with my Holy Grail vintage item, the classic peasant blouse.
Peasant blouses are fairly iconic in vintage fashion. And it fascinates me to see an item of clothing that has such a long history still being commonly worn in the modern day. However, the particular style of peasant blouses I like best are a mix of the style of the 1940’s right through to the very early 60’s, and I could not for the life of me secure a pattern in my size without spending a fortune on postage. After months of fruitless searching and hoping, I decided that it was time to try my hand at pattern drafting and make myself one. I nabbed several reference pictures of women wearing said blouses as well as patterns from the 50’s and 60’s, and got right to searching for a tutorial.
As it turned out there were lots of tutorials for making peasant blouses online, but Things of Cloth’s Adult-size Peasant Blouse Tutorial was so wonderfully detailed that I felt sure it was the one for me. It has very straightforward instructions with illustrations, which covers the process from measuring yourself to drafting the pattern itself. I also had quite a proud moment when working on the arm-scythe where I was able to compare and contrast it against bodice patterns that had worked for me, when instinct told me it was sitting too low! And since the whole process of pattern drafting and first muslin and adjustments were so quick, I was able to move on to attempting a more wearable version very soon after.
I had bought this lovely, soft fabric from my favourite Op Shop for the future purpose of turning it into a peasant blouse. It had such a fantastic drape to it, and the particular print made it quite friendly for playing fabric Tetris to squeeze the pieces out. I did cut it out with my pinking shear blade in my rotary cutter, as it’s a fabric with a tendency to fray, and following the always excellent of the advice of Evelyn Wood I made sure to press every seam as I went.
The only difficulty I had was getting the elastic through the channels of the neck and sleeves, but that aside the process for construction was simple as could be and I am thrilled to pieces with the final result. I have worn it several times since and it continues to be extremely comfortable, and very close to the image I had in my head. The only thing I would do differently next time is to shorten the sleeves a little more to achieve that high-bicep look I saw in photos, and perhaps to use a fabric with more structure to keep the sleeves as puffy as possible.