Pattern Review Sewing Bee Round 1 | 80s Inspired Floral Peplum Blouse

7 Sep


Howdy, friends! I hope you had a nice Labor Day. While I had to go in to the office for a while today, I did get lots of sewing in this weekend. Have you heard about the Sewing Bee going on over at Pattern Review? I didn’t think I would enter but then at the last minute, I decided I would move one of my to-sew objects up the queue and enter it in the contest.


Let’s talk pattern first. I purchased Simplicity 1425 a while back. So long ago that I bought the wrong size pattern. Since I didn’t feel like going to Hancock for this project I decided to see if I could find another pattern to help me hack the over all look. Enter Simplicity 1913. The bodice of this dress has similar princess seams and neckline as well as offers a choice of sleeve options (a requirement of the Sewing Bee).


So first up, I made a few standard adjustments to the bodice pieces — 1″ FBA and added 3/4″ to the shoulder width. Then I graded out the peplum pieces from S1425 to a size 14 to match my bodice pieces. Next, I made a muslin and checked the fit. I needed to lower the bust point 1″ and add 1/8″ of width under the arm at the side seam tapering to nothing at the waist. I also needed to readjust the pleat placement a little bit. Other than that, the fit was good.


Next, I used my muslin to determine how I was going to get in and out of this top. The original pattern called for just three little buttons spaced down the back of the blouse. I don’t know about you, but I am not keen on the idea of exposing my entire back and bra to the world. So I contemplated using a full button placket, side zip, center back zip, etc. I finally decided that an upside down center back zipper would be best.Β I started the zipper at the waist seam and extended it up 7″ (it ends a little above my bra strap). This makes it easy to get on and off over my head but still keeps the zipper pull within easy reach when trying to operate the zipper.


Finally, I made a few style changes from the original pattern. I cut a V neckline instead of the high round neckline because I felt like I needed to break up my floral fabric. I also added some pleats to the sleeves to echo the peplum pleats and to add a little more ease to the sleeve.

For my fabric I chose a rayon satin from Sawyer Brook (P. S. it’s now on sale!). It has the most luscious feel but is a little on the flimsy side so I decided to underline it with white cotton batiste which gave it the perfect hand. I lined the entire top in white rayon Bemberg. I love the colors in this top and I have a coordinating fabric picked out for the pencil skirt that I finally got the pattern worked out on.


While sewing this top, I was methodical about grading, clipping, and pressing my seams and that was therapeutic for me. But I think the most rewarding part of sewing this blouse was the fact that I got it fully lined (even the peplum and sleeves), completely by machine. There was no hand sewing involved. I have always machined my lining to sleeveless blouses and dresses but my Google search was coming up empty on how to machine the armscye lining seam in a sleeved garment.


But after sleeping on it and brainstorming about it while working on the other construction of the top, I figured out a way to do it very neatly and cleanly. I can’t wait to test my method out on something with a longer sleeve to see if it will still work. If it does, I will post a tutorial.


I am tickled pink with my top. I wore it to work today styled like the photos but I can also see myself wearing it with a black pencil skirt and heels or with jeans and booties.

Keep your fingers crossed that I will make it to the next round of the sewing bee. If I do, we’ll have a giveaway here to celebrate! πŸ™‚

9 Responses to “Pattern Review Sewing Bee Round 1 | 80s Inspired Floral Peplum Blouse”

  1. Bettina Kelson September 8, 2015 at 5:45 am #

    Beautiful! I can sew, but I can’t alter pattern to fit myself. I am very impressed!!!!
    I keep my fingers crossed that you make it to the next level.

    • Susie Homemaker, MD September 8, 2015 at 7:20 am #

      Thank you, Bettina! Fitting is a skill that can be learned just like sewing. I have found the Palmer Plescht book Fit For Real People very helpful in my fitting process. Glad you stopped by — hopefully I will see you soon!

  2. Dr. Fun September 8, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

    Wow – that zipper is so clever! I’m always so jealous of your underlinings and linings, too. Beautiful blouse!!!

    • Susie Homemaker, MD September 8, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

      Thanks, Lynn! I was proud of myself for coming up with that zipper and the fact that the execution matched my vision of it :)-
      Being meticulous in my sewing is therapeutic for me but sometimes I do enjoy a quick and dirty make like a knit shirt or dress.

  3. Glenda September 8, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    As usual I love your work! Wish I had your talent!

  4. Sew Exhausted September 10, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    The fabric is lovely as is your top! I love peplum tops and this one is no exception. Beautiful work! Good luck!

    • Susie Homemaker, MD September 10, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

      Thank you so much! Peplums are definitely a favorite of mine too! πŸ™‚


  1. Maria Denmark Rachel Wrap Dress | Susie Homemaker, MD - September 22, 2015

    […] sewing project to share with you today but first I want to give you an update to let you know that my entry in the Pattern Review Sewing Bee was selected to move on to the next round! You can see my entry for Round 2 here and I will get a […]

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