Pinup 101 · Sewing

The Most Flattering Blouse – Charm Patterns Review

Oh Gertie you’ve done it again. When I first made Gretchen (Gertie) Hirsch’s spaghetti strap swing dress (B6453) I fell in love with the pattern and made a several iterations of it which you can view here, here, and here. That pattern was and still is the quintessential day dress for me. But the Rita Blouse from Gertie’s new indie line is now my go to top and suffice to say I am OBSESSED!

RB Brown 8
Skirt (Similar)

Gertie released her indie line Charm Patterns a couple months ago and I had been waiting not-so patiently to get my hands on a copy of the Rita Blouse since I saw her Kickstarter campaign for it. I love peasant blouses. They are one of the most flattering tops and they truly work for all shapes and sizes.

RB Brown 5
Quite a few vintage reproduction companies have a version of a peasant blouse and the price tag varies from $25 – $70. They all have the same basic shape of a scoop neck and cap sleeve with a gathered bust and fitted lower bodice. Some have a zipper, others have a ruched back, some are made in stretch fabric. I have tried a couple brands and I have always loved wearing them paired with a swing or a circle skirt.

RB HP 10
Skirt (Pinup Girl Clothing / Similar), Belt (Amazon), Hair Flower (supplies from Michaels)

My main issue with buying this style top from one of the reproduction brands is that the size that fits my waist tends to either squash down the girls or I spill out the top. I have about a 12.5” difference between my bust (44″) and waist (31.5″). Most peasant tops have a 10” difference. So, I am forced to either buy a size bigger to fit my bust and deal with the waist gaping or needing to be altered. Or I buy the size that fits my waist and only wear the top outside of work when it’s appropriate to show that much cleavage. Being a sewer means altering my tops is pretty easy, but I hate spending good money on something that I have to put extra effort into making fit my body. Plus, some of the colors these come in aren’t the easiest to thread match.

Ever since I started sewing clothes I have been searching for a peasant top pattern. One that would look like the blouses I covet from the major reproduction brands. But none of the ones I found fit the mold. Then Gertie did her magic and the Rita Blouse pattern appeared. Halleluiah!

RB Gray 5
Capris (Pinup Girl Clothing), Belt (Similar), Hair Flower (Michaels)

I am more obsessed with this pattern than I was with B6453. I made my first Rita the day after the pattern arrived in the mail using symphony broadcloth from Joann’s because it was on sale for $2 a yard. This pattern only needs 1 ½ yards so even with the zipper and elastic I was looking at a blouse for less than $10 to make. Which is a win in my book!
I have since made this in quilting cotton and cotton sateen. I am looking forward to making some in rayon with the flutter sleeve as I like the drape rayon has. But it will be a while before I get there as I am currently sewing my way through the 8 other cotton solids I have at home waiting to be turned into Rita’s.

RB Gray 8
On top of being cheap, I wanted to use the Symphony broadcloth for my first blouse as a wearable muslin. I wasn’t entirely sure how great the fit would be off the bat since I have had fit issues with the ready to wear versions. I shouldn’t have worried though. Gertie’s pattern is pretty genius since you get to pick the bodice size AND you get to pick the cup size so you can customize the pattern to your body size.  I didn’t have to alter the pattern at all. I cut a size 8 with a DD cup and am extremely pleased with the fit. I like my tops to be really fitted so I used the pattern guide for the finished measurements and chose the size closest to my measurements. This pattern has quite a bit of ease to it though so if you like a looser fit going up one size will make a difference. However, my typical aesthetic is to make my waist appear as small as possible so I get an hourglass look.

RB Black 1
Skirt (Me Made), Belt (Similar)

So far I have made a black, charcoal gray, and Halloween plaid version in addition to my initial brown broadcloth. And I am surprised to say that the brown blouse gets more use than I expected. With the transition into my Autumn wardrobe I find myself straying to darker earth tones.

RB Black 12
I love the detail in this fabric. It adds some interest but is subtle enough to work as a solid.

One of my favorite things about this pattern are Gertie’s instructions. I love that she tells you when to finish the seams (most patterns don’t touch on this which I find frustrating). The directions are very clear and concise. I didn’t struggle to understand any of the instructions and that was a first. I am still a fairly new sewer so I find myself googling what something means every new pattern I dig into. The artwork is phenomenal. Not only are the pattern envelope illustrations gorgeous, but the example artwork for the instructions were very well done. Half the time I read a pattern instruction and then look at the photo to try and understand what it means only to become more confused at what the drawing is trying to show. I did not have this problem with the Rita pattern.

You can purchase the pattern here.  Could this pattern envelope be cuter?

This was a super quick sew. My first top took about 2 hours. I made the other 3 all at the same time and got them done in about 4 ½ hours. The longest part of this sew is making the channels for the elastic neck and sleeves and then feeding the elastic through.
Do you have a preferred blouse style? Have you tried a peasant top? Tell me your thoughts in the comments down below.

~Sewcial Dee


4 thoughts on “The Most Flattering Blouse – Charm Patterns Review

    1. Aww thanks toots! Don’t hesitate on trying this pattern. It is such a simple and quick sew. Plus the results look fantastic. You should join the Facebook SewAlong Group for it if you haven’t already. Talk about oodles of inspiration. 😉

      Sewcial Dee


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