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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Marrs

Sew the Chinoiserie Peacocks Rita Blouse!

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

Two yards of my Chinoiserie Peacocks designer fabric printed on Spoonflower’s silky faille had been lying on my sewing table for months, waiting for just the right project. And then my daughter shared one of her latest sewing projects—a super cute peasant blouse by Gertie—and I knew right away that this was the perfect garment for my designer print.

If you don’t about know Gertie and her line of Charm Patterns, you are in for a treat! “Gertie” (Gretchen Hirsch) is a home seamstress turned professional sewing teacher, who specializes in vintage and retro garments, and she is the author of four sewing books, creator of two sewing blogs, and the owner/designer of Charm Patterns.

Gertie’s peasant blouse pattern is the Rita Blouse, and here is her description, “This perfectly vintage peasant blouse makes me think of Hollywood starlet Rita Moreno, so I named the design for her. Pair it with a circle skirt or pedal pushers for that 1950s starlet look! It has a flattering elasticized neckline that can be worn on or off the shoulder, a choice of elasticized or flutter cap sleeves, a fitted midriff with princess seams, and an invisible side zipper for a smooth finish.”

The Chinoiserie Peacocks print on the silky faille was a great choice for this pattern because it is a nice medium-weight fabric with a good amount of drape and flow, and, conversely, the Rita peasant blouse shows off the printed peacocks beautifully. This design is one of several in my Chinoiserie Peacocks Collection that features my rendering of Chinese paper cut peacocks and flora set in a repeat pattern. The chinoiserie (sheen-wah-zuh-ree) style is the European imitation of Chinese artistic motifs and techniques in Western art and architecture.

Gertie’s Charm Patterns are amazing because you can order any garment size paired with any bust size, from B to DD cup sizes. You also have a choice between ordering the actual printed pattern or the print-at-home pdf file. Since my daughter had already purchased the pdf file, we simply printed out the sewing instructions and pattern pieces in my size. The printed pieces have to be cut and taped together, but this procedure was fairly easy to do and just took a little over an hour. Gertie’s sewing instructions are exceptionally clear—right down to installing the invisible zipper (which zips up from the bottom of the blouse!).

I do recommend cutting and sewing a muslin for this pattern, and trying it on to make any adjustments prior to cutting the actual fabric pieces, because this blouse does fit snugly around the midriff and waist. My muslin helped me to refine certain pattern pieces, as is evidenced by my writing on the back sections in the photograph. Additionally, it really is a good practice to cut and sew a muslin for any garment that you want to fit well.

Because the peacocks in this chinoiserie style print vary in shape and color, I gave thought to how I placed all the pieces—bust, princess midriff sections, and sleeves—so the designs in the finished garment would flow in the same direction with a pleasing continuity.

I chose to go with the flutter sleeves, and I am really happy with the results. This garment has an amazing fit—loose and comfortable on top, and just snug enough below the bust to be comfy yet vintage chic. I love the fit of this blouse so much that I will probably sew another soon, perhaps with a print from my Retro Calla Lilies designer collection in a poly crepe de chine—my other go-to Spoonflower fabric for lots of drape and flow.

If you do decide to make this Rita Blouse with the Chinoserie Peacocks print (or any of my other designer fabrics), please do email me and send a photo so I can post it! In the meantime . . .

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