Make a Pattern-Free Bohemian Blouse
If you’ve got an afternoon and a couple of yards of fabric, you can create a pretty peasant blouse based on your measurements. This blouse has a drawstring neckline with a faced front placket. We show it with full, long sleeves, but you can make the sleeves any length you prefer.
Take your measurements
Begin by measuring your bust and hips; record the larger of these two measurements. Then measure from your neck to the desired finished length. Next, measure from your neck over your shoulder to the desired finished sleeve length. Finally, measure the circumference of the fullest part of your upper arm. These numbers are the basis for the pattern.
Draft the peasant blouse patterns
This blouse calls for two patterns: one for the front and back, and another for the sleeves. Both are rectangles.
Make this the length you measured, plus 2 inches for a hem and a neckline casing. The width is half the larger of your bust or hip measurement, plus a minimum of 5 inches of ease, and one inch for seam allowances. If your fabric is light, drapey, or sheer, you can double the width for a full, floaty blouse. If the fabric is stiff or heavy, keep the ease minimal.
Make this the length you measure, plus 2 inches for a neckline casing and either a hem or casing at the wrist. The width is the arm circumference plus at least 5 inches of ease. You may want to add the same proportion of ease as for the body, but if you prefer a fuller or narrow sleeve, add more or less. Add 1 inch for seam allowances.
Cut and assemble the peasant blouse
Cut two each of the patterns. Follow the instructions in the video to see these basic steps:
- Press the neckline casings.
- Cut and install the front placket.
- Trim the upper corners of each piece to create raglan seams. Join the sleeves to the front and back.
- Sew the neckline casing in place.
- Sew the side and underarm seams.
- Press and stitch the hem.
- Finish the sleeve hems, either with a double-fold hem, or a casing.
- Insert a ribbon, cord, or self-fabric tube into the neckline casing, with a safety pin or bodkin. If desired, insert elastic or drawstrings into the sleeve hems.
Once you’ve completed your blouse, consider pairing it with a custom godet skirt.
Other options include lengthening the blouse into a dress—mini to maxi—or cutting it short and adding elastic under the bust for a cute crop top. Make it sleeveless by leaving the sleeves off entirely, and letting the neckline drawstring serve as straps over your shoulders.
Photos by Jack Deutsch.
Get the latest including tips, techniques and special offers straight to your inbox.