Tag Archives: market blouse


This isn’t the outfit I was planning to wear today; I bought a couple of new tops yesterday (in Debenhams, which has lots of nice tops, so clearly I was just looking in the wrong shops – I do have a tendency to stick to the same two or three and forget that others are available, which is silly, especially as two of my current regulars are Fat Face and Monsoon and neither tends to have clothes that fit me) and was planning to wear one of those, but then I spotted the Lisette Market Blouse I made a couple of years ago and thought I’d wear that instead.


Long-term readers (or anyone who’s clicked on the link above) will remember that I made the blouse using the standard pattern size that matched my measurements, was horrendously disappointed by the fit, then managed to rescue it with the addition of the patterned bottom band and waist tie. Well, I say rescue, but given that I made it almost two years ago and I think I’ve worn it once before today, I clearly wasn’t actually that happy with it. Though really, it’s not that bad. It’s not a great fit, but it’s no worse than most of the other tops in my wardrobe. If I made another one I’d drop a size on the shoulders and add a full bust adjustment, but it’s wearable as it is. So maybe I’m not actually that far away from making wearable tops.

Now, if only the weather would cool down a bit so I could bear to sit in the same room as the iron and do some sewing! At the moment even knitting with non-wool yarn is a bit of a struggle…

Making Monday: a silk purse out of a sow’s ear

Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions about the Market Blouse last week, and particular thanks to Sam who asked whether I could add a band of contrasting fabric to the bottom to make it long enough to belt. I don’t really much like how loose belted tops look on me, and wasn’t sure that a band on the bottom wouldn’t look rather strange, but the idea lodged itself in my imagination and I woke up on Thursday morning with a brilliant idea: what if I added a band of printed fabric to fix the problem of the top being too short, and made ties out of the same fabric to pull it in at the back, and got some buttons which matched the printed fabric to decorate the front? Would that work?

Market Blouse - revamped

I was only going to cut a band a few inches wide, but when I got the pattern out I realised that actually the length of the tunic version would be about right. So I cut front and back pieces for the difference in length between the tunic and the top from the fabric left over from my first skirt, and two strips of fabric 24″ by 2.5″ for the ties.

Market Blouse

I ripped out the hem and the side seams to a couple of inches below the darts, then sewed the new front and back pieces to the original front and back. I folded the long strips in half, right sides together, and sewed the long sides and one short side using a very small seam allowance before turning them back right-side-out (finding a use for a straight knitting needle in the process!). I pinned the side seams back together with the ties inserted into the seams at the point where I wanted the top to be pulled in (about my natural waistline, in fact) then resewed them and hemmed the bottom of the new tunic.

Market Blouse

I bought some ceramic flower buttons from Injabulo, which I thought would echo the floral pattern in the printed cotton.


I have to say, I’m extremely pleased with how it’s turned out. Instead of an unwearably unflattering blouse, I now have a fun Boden-esque tunic which I can and will wear with jeans. And the sleeves still rock.

(If you want to read more Making Monday posts, check out the list over at The Yarn Yard!)

Making Monday: Mistakes and Sleeves

This weekend, I made a sleeve:


In fact, I made two sleeves, and finished off my Market Blouse.

Back view

I’m very pleased with how well the sleeves turned out. It’s just a shame about the rest of the top.

Front view

Side view

Yeah. I’m not going to be wearing this one to work any time soon. If it was a bit longer I might consider wearing it belted, but it’s too short for that to work, and tucked in it just blouses out in a rather unflattering way (although, admittedly, not quite as unflatting as the way it looks untucked).

I have learnt several lessons from this.

1. If I know that most patterns are designed for a B cup, and I also know that I’m a FF, expecting a top to be wearable without serious pattern adjustment is probably wildy overoptimistic. To put it mildly.

2. If boxy tops don’t fit me in shops, they probably aren’t going to fit any better just because I’ve made them.

3. I should pay attention to the drape of a fabric before deciding to make a garment from it; I don’t think this top would ever have been flattering but a soft, drapy cotton would have looked a heck of a lot better than this stiff fabric.

I think the top could work for me, if I made a size smaller (to eliminate the surplus fabric at the back) with a full bust adjustment (for obvious reasons) and a lot more waist shaping (which would probably also require adding a side zip so I could get it on and off) and used a softer fabric. Unfortunately, that’s a long way beyond my current sewing skills, so I think I’m going to have to wave goodbye to my dream of a rainbow of lovely simple-but-slightly-smarter-than-a-t-shirt cotton tops and concentrate on making skirts until I get a lot more confident.

Still, look at those sleeves. Those sleeves ROCK. Who would have thought someone who’s never sewn a sleeve in her life could make such fantastic sleeves?

Today I wore my Clothkits skirt, just to remind myself that I can make wearable garments.


Necklace – Oxfam
Cardigan – clothes swap
T-shirt – M&S
Skirt – made by me
Shoes – Jones Bootmaker

(If you want to read more Making Monday posts, check out the links at The Yarn Yard!)

Top banana

I spent most of this afternoon wrestling with the neckband of my Market Blouse. I found it quite tricky going; curved seams are not my favourite things and I find it quite hard to sew them evenly, and the band is sewn to the neckline then turned to the outside and the bottom is stitched down with the seam visible on the finished top. It took me several tries to get the seam even enough to pass muster and the band stitched down smoothly, and I’m still not completely happy with it. It’ll do as a first attempt, though.

Market top - neckline

I did manage to get the understitching round the neckline right first time, though, and that’s something I had trouble with on the waistband facing of the skirt I made in class, so I know that I’m making progress.

After that, I sewed up the side seams, so now I only have the sleeves and the hem to do.

Market Top

Obviously, as soon as the seams were sewn up I had to try it on.

Market Top - front Market Top - back

It’s quite roomy, but then the pull-on style meant it was never going to be a very fitted shape. I think I might have been better off going down a size and learning to do a full bust adjustment, and if I make another version I might try that, but I think this is OK. My main concern is that even unhemmed it seems quite short (though that is with trousers which do need a longer top than my skirts do) so I would definitely add some length next time (and I am also making a mental note to measure the length of the back pattern piece for any tops I make in future so I know before I start cutting whether they will be the right length or not!).

Still, not bad for a first attempt at a top.

Shaping up

I’ve been working from home today, so no outfit photos. I was thinking about getting the sewing machine out after I finished working and using what would normally be my commuting time to get on with my Market Top, but somehow after a day’s work that didn’t seem quite so appealling, so I think it can wait until the weekend. I haven’t been completely idle, though; instead, I did this:

Measuring up

I’m determined to learn to make cardigans that actually fit me, and while I love the look of the Soay pattern I know that without some bust shaping it probably won’t look very good on me. So I printed off the pattern (which has the great bonus of a really detailed set of measurements) and the measuring guide from Little Red in the City, grabbed my tape measure, tied bits of yarn round me at strategic points and started measuring.

The results were really quite interesting. I have always thought of myself as having a fairly straight-up-and-down body, with narrowish hips and not much in the way of a waist, and a large bust, so that overall I’m fairly top-heavy and look a bit like a stick figure with boobs. It turns out that this is not actually the case. Yes, I have a large bust (it would have been difficult to be wrong about that!) and the narrowest part of my torso is my underbust (which I also knew), but it turns out that I do have a waist (about two inches higher than I thought it was) which may not be particularly slim but is still 11 inches smaller than the fullest point of my hips, and just under 10 inches smaller than my high hip measurement. Oh, and my hip measurement is actually five inches larger than my full bust measurement. So, not all that top-heavy after all, then!

Anyway, after allowing for a bit of negative ease at the bust and a bit of positive ease at the waist it turns out that the 40.5″ bust size of Soay will be a reasonable fit, though I might need to move the waist up a little and I’ll definitely want to add bust darts to stop the front pulling up, which really wouldn’t be good with a cropped, fitted shape like this. I’m going to use some bright pink organic cotton DK I got on sale in John Lewis last time I was in Norwich, and I really hope it works out as I think if it does it will be a gorgeous little cardi.

I’ll be interested to see how the Market Top turns out; again, my measurements more or less corresponded to a single size on the pattern and when I pinned the front and back together after sewing the bust darts it didn’t look too bad on (though I’ll baste the side seams and try it properly at the weekend), but I suspect I really need to learn to do a full bust adjustment on patterns in future. At least I think I can understand how that works now!

Weekend crafting

This weekend I have:

  • Baked banana bread to take to Darn It and Stitch‘s first birthday celebrations. (I failed to take any photos, but Thomasina Knits’s post has some lovely ones, and you can even see the banana bread half-hidden behind a card in one of them.)
  • Picked up the right number of stitches round the edges of my Featherweight Cardigan and knitted about half of the collar:

    Featherweight progress
  • Finished my Clothkits skirt:

    Clothkits skirt

    I machine overstitched the hem of the lining, and decided that actually that would be fine for the skirt as well; it really doesn’t show and feels much more secure than a hand-sewn hem (I do worry a little about the hem of the skirt I made in class coming undone!).

    Clothkits hem

  • Cut out the pieces for my Market Blouse:

    Market top pieces

    I’m using a plain cotton from Darn It and Stitch, which means that (a) it should go nicely with my patterned skirts and (b) at only around £6.80 a metre, I can almost think of this as a wearable muslin and if it all goes horribly wrong I won’t be too upset – though I’m sure it will be fine!