Sewing Indie Month: my peasant blouse tutorial

As part of Sewing Indie Month, we have created tutorials that we post on each others blogs. My partner to post for is Sylvie of Soma Patterns, and the tutorial I created (download the PDF here) shows you how to make this peasant blouse, made only out of rectangles of fabric:



Click over to her blog to read it!

Sylvie’s concept behind her patterns is to sew with no waste, i.e. without wasting any of your fabric! You know I love folklore, and an important part of folklore sewing is – also! – not wasting materials. Think about it: if you spent precious time making your own fabric (for example), you’d want to cut off and throw away as little of it as possible, right? Preferably none? So Sylvie designs her patterns so that all of your fabric is used in them. Look at the Dorianne dress or tunic – this is the tunic version:


Isn’t that collar treatment just gorgeous? And all of the pattern pieces for this tunic fit on a rectangle of fabric, all of which is used to make the top. Go check out all of Sylvie’s patterns!

I especially love the Cendrine top:


And the Abby jacket is quite fabulous:




All are made without wasting any fabric.

In the tutorial I show you how to make a peasant blouse out of only rectangles of fabric, which is a good basis for a zero-waste pattern. I walk you through measuring yourself to get the right size pattern pieces, and then show you how to assemble the blouse.

Here’s a line drawing of the blouse for which I wrote the tutorial (PDF):


Less sophisticated, of course, than Sylvie’s patterns but it’s also made with the idea to waste none of your fabric – and using patternmaking methods that have been around for many hundreds of years. Aren’t people clever? I mostly stuck with this idea for my blouse in the tutorial, but you could make it much more modern, for example, by adding enormous underarm gussets to make a batwing blouse:



OK, now hop on over to Sylvie’s blog for the tutorial. And then browse her patterns, and make something beautiful while also reducing waste! Rhonda’s Creative Life has a tutorial to add flutter sleeves to the Cendrine top,  and I’m already imagining fabrics in which to make the Dorianne.


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4 Responses to Sewing Indie Month: my peasant blouse tutorial

  1. I just saw this tutorial of yours at Sylvie’s and I’m just fascinated by it! I’m new to the no-waste movement and am very interested in it. I absolutely agree with what you wrote about people way back when not wanting to waste their precious fabric. It’s such a shame that we’ve gotten so far from that mentality. Thank you very much for the tutorial! I’m going to be sharing it with my newsletter readers tomorrow! 🙂 Lisa

    • Kati says:

      Lisa, thank you! I can’t claim that my other patterns are no-waste but I do love this idea very much and appreciate the historical roots of it.

  2. Katie says:

    So I spent all my free time Friday, Saturday and today trying to make a pattern and sew zero-waste peasant top for my little daughter. I have failed miserably. The shirt was TIGHT, not loose, and she couldnt even get both arms in. There was a HUGE amount of gathering at the neck, too. I don’t understand what I am doing wrong. I think I am goofing it up somehow with the armpit gussets. I can’t quite understand the placement of all the pieces. If I don’t sew the front and back bodice together at the shoulders, arent the sleeves attaching to the gusset way, way too high?

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