Upcycle Old Business Shirts and Make a New Blouse – The Crescent Blouse: A Pattern Review
I don’t often get a chance to sew for myself, most of the time spent in my sewing room is dedicated to blog projects, repairing garments or making soft furnishings, so when Megan Nielsen asked me if I’d like to review a couple of her patterns I jumped at the chance to make something I could wear. Something for me…doesn’t sound like much of a big deal, but you other mothers out there know that we often put ourselves last on the to do list for everything, so some ‘just for me’ sewing time was quite the special treat.
The pattern that immediately caught my eye was the Crescent Blouse, designed for intermediate sewers, it had just enough fun design features to make the garment construction interesting, without having to worry about tricky things like inserting zips and darts. The cutout shoulders really add a wow factor to this top, and really aren’t that hard to do if you are comfortable with using bias tape (good practice if you aren’t).
Another thing that I really liked about this pattern is the variations included: choice of a curved hem (featured) or a simpler longer tunic style, as well as the option of making it with or without the super cute collar.
I grew up sewing from German Burda magazines which have brilliantly drafted patterns but the instructions (if you were lucky enough to have the english supplement) were very meager and assumed you had good sewing knowledge or a lot of imagination. I suppose that’s helped me sew without many instructions (altough usually with mixed results). But there is no guessing when it comes to Megan’s patterns, every step is illustrated with diagrams, which means that there is no ‘creative license’ required which makes them ideal for less confident garment sewers.
The patterns are multi sized and printed on sturdy paper (no flimsy tissue paper here), so I like to trace a copy to use rather than cut the master pattern. It’s a good idea to transfer all markings and pattern piece numbers too to avoid confusion down the track.
Choosing a fabric to match a pattern can be tricky, often fabric choice can make or break a design. I wanted this blouse for everyday wear so shirting was a good option, but I had none in my stash! Brainwave: Use a few old business shirts instead!
The Mr has a real habit of ripping holes in perfectly good shirts making them unrepairable, but I keep them for sewing projects because the fabric is excellent quality.
This blouse used four shirts in total to get a fun mix n match effect.
The backs of the shirts were big enough for the front, back and curved front pattern pieces, the back wrap around pattern piece was a little larger and the shirt’s side seams needed to be included.
The pattern instructions also describe how to make bias tape for all the facings, but because I’m lazy I just trimmed down some bias binding I had on hand to suit the required width. Megan has an excellent tutorial for making bias tape on her blog.
Another little trick which saved me a ton of time was using a wavy rotary cutter blade in lieu of pinking shears (because I don’t have any) to trim the excess fabric from the curves. I didn’t know wavy cutting blades existed but found this one on clearance for a few dollars and it was perfect for this job.
The only place I diverted from the pattern instructions was the stitching around the collar. The instructions show top stitching would be visible over the neck line on the collar but suggest hand stitching for a cleaner look. Rather than hand stitching I just flipped the collar up as I top stitched to get a nice clean finish.
What do you think? I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, it was fun to make and the fit is great too. I’ve had so many compliments when wearing it and it’s perfect for this super hot weather we’ve been having here in Melbourne.
Must thank Estelle from Fable Folk for taking these photos, I’ve had this blouse made since August and just didn’t have anyone to take photos of me wearing it! She also makes these fun bangles that I’m wearing too.
Check out Megan Nielsen’s Pattern range and I’d highly recommend her blog for garment construction tips and pattern variation tutorials too.
Will you be sewing for yourself this year?
This is an unpaid review – as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.