Sewaholic Patterns Pendrell Blouse

For someone who spends part of their day teaching about fashion, I am really not very fashionable. I don’t own any designer clothes and have very little interest in labels.

My students would say this is because I am old (they are kind like that) but it really has always been the case. As soon as I was interested in clothes I was either making them (badly) or buying vintage pieces from charity shops and jumble sales. I used to go to a jumble sale in Lancaster, where I grew up, and you could fill up a bin bag of clothes for £1. (OK, maybe I am starting to sound old now.) But the fact is that for as long as I have been old enough to dress myself, I have worn what I like rather than what is in fashion.

That said, I do like to keep an eye on the latest trends. A cursory glance at what is happening in the world of couture, for work purposes, and an active look at fashion magazines and high street shops because, frankly, I love clothes and can’t help myself.

It was while browsing the internet, looking at the latest RTW clothes and this season’s trends, that I came across the trend for ruffles and frills. I don’t know about you but I love a good ruffle!

Take this as an example. This, now sold out, top from French Connection is oh so lovely.

frill top

It got me thinking about a top I made two years ago (you see, I was into this style long before ruffles were fashionable)  – the Pendrell Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns.

The Pendrell Blouse is a top for woven fabrics, which has princess seams and three variations of sleeve.

I made view B, the frill sleeve version, when I made this top the first time round. I made such a mess of it though. The top has gathered cap sleeves and then another gathered frill which is set into the princess seam. So far so straight forward. The problem I had was that I didn’t line my frills up properly at the back and it just ended up looking awful. Also, for some reason, I still really struggle to get nice gathers. They looked so lumpy and uneven on this top.

I wore the top a couple of times before sadly chucking it in the recycling bin. I have this one grainy photo, taken on my phone, where you can just about see it.

Inspired by all the frills on the high street, I decided to have another go. Again, I went with view B and this time used some soft red cotton I have been hoarding for a while.

My measurements for this pattern have me at a size 12 bust and size 8 waist/hips. There is quite a lot of ease in this pattern though so I just went off the finished measurements and cut a straight size 8.

Knowing that I messed up the gathers and the positioning of the frill last time I made it, I was really careful this time to make sure everything was measured and pinned correctly. I also made the effort to stitch in those gathers on the slowest speed setting that my sewing machine could muster, checking each gather as I went along. It was laborious and possibly a bit unnecessary but it meant that, finally, I have sewn up some gathers that I am proud of!

Overall I am really happy with the fit of this top. It is probably meant to be a bit looser on the bust than mine is but I think I prefer it this way. I have more of an hourglass figure than the pear-shaped figure Sewaholic Patterns are designed for, so I generally prefer things to be a bit more fitted. Loose tops can hang unflatteringly off my bust and make me look a lot bigger than I am. The only adjustment I would probably make if I were to make it again it is to shorten the length. I will wear it tucked in, so it’s not a huge problem, but it is a little too long on me to wear untucked.

I’m pretty happy with my second attempt at this cute little top though and, hey, Iam wearing something fashionable for a change!



  1. Such a great top, love the colour! I’m just getting into the ruffle trend (fashionably late as always:) I’ve always stayed away from Sewaholic patterns due to having bigger boobs, pear shape patterns tend to look very maternity but yours looks great!!


    • Thanks Lynsey! All I would say with Sewaholic and big boobs is that you don’t bother with the envelope sizes and go straight to the finished garment sizes instead. And remember the FBA is our friend 😉


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