Finally, a Rita blouse

Hello my friends! It’s been awhile. No long apologies or anything like that—I don’t blog as much as I used to. Sometimes it comes in fits and spurts and then sometimes I just can’t be bothered to take umpteen photos and cull them and whatnot. Please don’t tell me you’re disappointed I didn’t ever blog about this topic or you wish I posted more or why don’t I do tutorials or or or, etc. Yes, people do that. Do not put that pressure or those demands on someone for their free time and work. At the end of the day I’d rather be making something, and I’ve always made it very clear this isn’t my job and I don’t make a bean from it. I do it when it’s fun and I feel like it. Which isn’t usually often. So now that I’ve suitably lowered your expectations… 😉

I actually got some photos taken so it’s time to start showing off a few projects. Huzzah! While I did sew a lovely thick wool bouclé pencil skirt as my latest Mood Sewing Network project, I’m completely seasonally inappropriate here today, sewing for warmer months while it’s winter. I do have a vacation coming next month but even if none of these things end up accompanying me, it’s a good excuse for out of season sewing, right?!

I finally, finally, FINALLY sewed a version (two—meaning another blog post soon!) of the Charm Patterns Rita blouse. I started on a muslin of it eons ago but somehow got distracted. No idea what changes I wanted to make all those months later (if any), so I finally just dove in. And boy am I tickled. Given a lot of recent discussions in the sewing community about the long overdue need for more inclusive sizing for plus size sewists (who are more the norm, especially in the U.S., than those of us who don’t ever have to think “will I fit in this size range?”—see this post from Cashmerette), I really hope Charm Patterns will consider expanding their sizing. Thankfully, many indie designers are re-assessing their plans and goals to serve more people. I hope Charm Patterns does too.

I live in blouses like this in the summer. I wear and try out different blouse styles, but I always come back to this. It’s the one reliable style that’s comfortable, I love the way it looks, and seems to go with so much of my wardrobe. So I wear a preponderance of peasant blouses in warm months.

My first foray into attempting to find ones I liked RTW several years ago were the ones from Pinup Girl, but those are quite low cut in comparison and I just could never get over how ridiculously puffy the upper back (the gathered part) was. I then found the Rosarito peasant blouse A Classic Paradise sells and bonus, that has a comfy shirred lower back. I like those a lot and wear them frequently. (I think another retro shop sells them but I’m spacing who, so not sure where I actually got them from at this point.)

But you know me, I still wanted to make my own! And I wasn’t ever happy with any peasant blouse I tried to make before. So the Rita blouse pattern was my ticket. I was thrilled when the pattern was released.

I sewed it up according to my measurements on the envelope (thank you for finished measurements), even though the cup size I sewed doesn’t correspond with my actual bra size. I appreciate when patterns have cup sizes, but unless they tell you the finished measurements, it can be useless due to sister sizing of cups/bands. I wear a D but if my torso was wider I’d end up a band size up and a cup size down. So in this pattern, I went with a C cup because the measurements were listed, so I could make a more educated assessment of size.

The fabric is Robert Kaufman Carolina Gingham in the 1/8″ check. It’s just perfect for this and I think I may need to snap it up in all sorts of other gingham colors. If only they had this exact base fabric for solids! Sigh. I’m never really happy with my seemingly endless quest for non-sheer, blouse-appropriate solid cottons. But I’m totally going to wear this like a solid.

I made no alterations to the pattern other than swapping out the invisible side zipper for a lapped side zipper. Yeah, it’s a little more bulky, so sometimes it does that little bunchy zipper thing above your waistband (if you wear things tucked in and especially if you have a short upper torso). But honestly, I only care about that when I’m trying to take a blog photo or something and that’s not real life. In real life I wear it and don’t think about it.

And take a look at the back, no puffiness here!

The only thing I’m still fussing with is the ease through the body. The pattern calls for about 2″ positive ease, which is about what I have, but particularly because I have the aforementioned short upper torso (meaning not a whole lot of room between my boobs and waist), blouses tend to wrinkle up a lot there for me (same deal with the zipper as I mentioned).

Sometimes less ease helps this, sometimes it doesn’t. Here, I have some basting stitches in the princess seams taking it in at least 1.5″ and I think I may go back and make those stitches permanent. It’s also kind of one of those things that never looks perfect and you just have to live with it. I commiserated with several fellow short-torsoed folks on Instagram about this, when I was sharing this in my stories. I’m not a vintage model, I’m not taking a deep breath before every photo nor standing stock still in the perfect pose that lengthens my whole torso and make it look like a perfect fit… again, real life folks. It’s a blouse, it fits well, and I’m super happy with it. Maybe someday I’ll hack the pattern to have a shirred back but… gah, I hate doing shirring.

The skirt I’m wearing it with is actually one I sewed last summer, using a gorgeous vintage barkcloth. I managed to have juuuuuuuuust enough for a full circle skirt and I love it. I made it at the end of summer and I haven’t even had a chance to wear it out yet! At least, not that I recall. Summer was awhile ago! Though I’m looking forward to wearing this exact outfit once it warms up. Eventually. Someday. Months from now.

Overall, I’m really very pleased with the pattern and the blouse, and I can’t wait to make more. This was one of my biggest sewing pattern wardrobe gaps, and it’s great to have that filled!

A flutter sleeve variation in rayon challis was my second version, which you’ll hopefully be seeing soon as I already took those photos. 😉

outfit details

Rita blouse – made by me
vintage barkcloth skirt – made by me
Bakelite earrings and bangles – misc.
vintage plastc necklace – a gift
shoes – Rothys

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

Tagged: , , , , ,

Golly, 36 Comments!

  • I love this! I agree that the RTW peasant blouses currently on the market aren’t perfect, and I totally agree with you about short-torso-related woes. This looks great on you; I love the cheery yellow gingham!


    • Thanks so much! Yeah, I’ve been pretty happy with those shirred-back ones but still not quite perfect, you know? I love that this gingham is small enough it reads kind of like a solid especially from a distance… or at least, that’s how I’ll be treating it. And the couple of others I’ve already ordered for more versions. 😉


  • I love it. I haven’t tried the Robert Kaufman gingham. Last gingham I sewed was Riley Blake and I loved that. Also, count me in the short torso club.


  • Wow, I’m so glad you shared this blouse with us. It does look like a perfect fit to me.


  • You are SO DARLING! I’m happy that you blog when you want, how often or how infrequently you want, and just know there are lots of us that get a little thrill when we see a new post from you:) Sending you love and happy New Year wishes from New Mexico:)


  • Love the top and am always happy to see when you’ve posted.


  • The top looks great and you can count me in as a member of the “gingham is a neutral” club. It goes with everything?

    Question on the Rothys? Do you like them? Comfortable? May have to try a pair this summer.



    • Love them! I wear them tons. They’re the only flats brand (and I mean ONLY) that doesn’t give me blisters. So they’re worth their weight in gold to me for that.


  • Beautiful! I’ve made a couple of Rita’s but haven’t had the same success

    Also wanted to ask – did you change blog setting or something around August of last year? I use Feedly and just discovered that’s when it stopped feeding me your posts. I tried to add your blog back in and it’s telling me there’s no feed found. I’m trying to break my Instagram habit and was consoled by the fact that while I would miss your very inspiring insta posts, I could still see your blog posts. I know I can always go directly to it, but that means I have to remember to do that periodically! 😂


    • You know I didn’t change anything, but someone alerted me awhile back that it was the case. I hadn’t noticed since I don’t post very much. Unfortunately I tried to get help from Feedly via Twitter and they replied to look into it but then ghosted the conversation and never replied back once I gave them my URL, even when I gently reminded them the next day. You can’t get support from them unless you have a paid account… (so I guess screw you if you don’t even use Feedly but it’s not picking up your feed?) I don’t really know what to do about it. I do know it’s being picked up fine with Bloglovin. Hopefully I can get it resolved but don’t even know how. Unless I pay $65+ to upgrade my account and then request support. :/


      • Thanks for the response!


        • I’m currently in a looong technical convo between Feedly and my we host trying to resolve this, where I’m the intermediary who only understands part of the convo. LOL I’m not sure if it’s getting resolved but in the meantime, you can enter your email addy in the top right of the site and check “send posts to my inbox” and that’ll email you when I post. I don’t actually do a newsletter anymore really either, and I don’t post too often typically, so you definitely won’t get spammed by loads of emails. 😉


  • Okay, I may have to get my hands on this pattern and make my own peasant tops, because Pinup Girl Clothing showed their true b*tchy colors recently and I do not want to support them anymore.

    I have to ask though, do you think there is a way to make this without elastic? Perhaps a traditional gathering? I loathe putting in elastic, and hate it even more when it wears out!



    • Ooh yeah, I don’t buy from them either anymore!! Thankfully I didn’t very much to begin with.

      I definitely DO think you could get away with not doing an elastic casing! It would be fussy, but elastic is too, so I guess just a different fussy. 😉 I’d probably approach it by making a bias strip (like 1″) that are cut to the length she says for the elastics. Then gather the neckline and sleeves with gathering stitches, and bind the neckline and armholes with it, using the seam allowance for the ends of the bias strip as she says to overlap the elastic. As in: 1/2″ overlap, so do that so you end up about exactly the same size she says… though you could always try it on before sewing it in place to make sure you like the fit.

      One caveat, I definitely think you’d want to check the fit on the sleeve first especially! Because if you bind it at the elastic length, it’s stretchy over the bicep so it wouldn’t fit if it was bound. You’d want more ease for sure, at least a couple of inches I bet. And possibly the same for the neckline.

      And now I’m totally tempted to try this with a version! Email me or message me on Instagram if you decide to try it and need any tips. 🙂


  • I can’t decide what I love most about your sunny blouse, it’s basically perfect! I’m admittedly envious to see another gorgeous version of Rita – if I remember correctly Gertie had confirmed on Instagram (around the time the pattern line was first released) that she had no plans to include A cup sizing on her patterns. I have failed too many times trying to figure out how to do an SBA, so I won’t be purchasing from her unless that changes.


  • Love your whole outfit! But, THAT skirt is to die for!!! Love the pattern. Just gorgeous!


  • Julianne Fisher February 1, 2019 at 7:30am

    “Preponderance of peasant blouses” – that made me happy. 😄 I’ve been eying that gingham. Nice to know about its opacity. Thanks for the post.


  • I’m always selfishly excited to see you blog, but anyone that is willing to try to guilt you over your schedule or content can stuff it. That being said, your blouse looks super cute & I am so excited you shared it with us!


  • cynthia baker February 7, 2019 at 6:20pm

    There was a lady called Gay Housden who made a perfectly valid comment about RZ who accuses supporters of bygumbygolly of trying to guilt Tasha about content or schedule. I support Gay who is only being realistic and helpfull. Tasha’s site is so helpfull and full of skills that people appreciate, delightful knitting and sewing and instructive and sociable.


    • RZ didn’t accuse anyone of anything; his or her comment was perfectly valid.

      Frankly I recall Gay once left a comment being disappointed I hadn’t followed up on a post about a particular topic, and recently she admonished me on Instagram for using Instagram (and not my blog more). Instagram is a platform I use a lot to connect with many people and I can choose to spend my social media time where I want. So those are, in fact, the type of comments I was talking about in the intro of this post, which I’ve gotten from other people, not just Gay, to be fair. I do this on my free time and when the inspiration strikes and/or I have time and inclination to carve out several hours to post, since a LOT goes into it. It does feel like it’s meant to make me feel guilty when people aren’t happy that I’m not doing more, following up with things more, posting tutorials more, complimenting me yet at the same time telling me they wish I would I share more, etc… I’m sure Gay didn’t mean for something like that to make me feel bad (nor anyone else), but that’s the outcome of those kinds of comments. You end up feeling like you’re not doing enough for other people and there’s more demands on your time than you can give. Hopefully you can understand. 🙂


      • I don’t often follow up after I make comments, but thanks for the defense. I feel very strongly that people who put so much time and energy into making something nice for free shouldn’t be chastised for posting less. Women are already told to please others at their own expense way too often. If I offended someone calling it guilting or by calling people out too often it’s only because I’ve read one too many blog posts by creators who have been really hurt by their followers. We’re supposed to be a creators biggest fan!
        Even nice-ish comments about lack of updates can start to weigh folks down and make them feel guilty and unappreciated. We are not owed an update. That being said, no one owes a creator their time as an audience either. If the update schedule or lack thereof, is frustrating, you can just stop reading. This is supposed to be fun! Both for the creator & the audience.


  • cynthia baker February 9, 2019 at 4:57am

    The dictionary describes the word “accuse”as – to charge with a shortcoming or error. Rz ‘s words “willing to guilt you” is a charge or inference.
    Dear Tasha, you chose to interpret the comments made, as “pressure”. You also chose to host your blog and invite people into your world. You could instead choose to be positive and appreciate that when people want more it means they like what you have done.


    • I can also choose to ignore sock puppets and people trolling me, which I gave you the benefit of the doubt on once, and will not be doing again. End of discussion.


  • Preponderance of peasant blouses is a great phrase. I may have to intermingle preponderance with my customary use of plethora.

    The blouse looks great! I don’t recall seeing a peasant blouse with a fitted bodice before. I definitely like the silhouette of this style.

    was the change in zipper style to simplify the sewing or was it related to fit and function? I’ve not put in a magic invisible zipper so don’t know how complicated they are.

    Thank you for sharing! A bright, sunny post was just what’s needed in the current stretch of dreary gray days.


    • Preponderance of peasant blouses, like a murder of crows. LOL

      I always prefer to do a lapped zipper and don’t do invisible zippers. In part because lapped zippers look more vintage, and also because invisible zippers often seem more break-prone (and I think, though I’m not certain, but judging from people’s reactions when they’ve broken invisible zippers that due to how they’re inserted it can be more of a pain to get them out and re-insert if they have broken). So for those reasons *I* like lapped zippers instead, but it’s entirely a personal preference!


  • Lynne A Johnson February 23, 2019 at 2:54pm

    I appreciate reading your posts whenever they happen. The blouse is adorable and so love that skirt!! You always look fabulous! I just might have to try to make the blouse too!


  • Hey Tasha! The blouse is adorable and so love that skirt!! You always look fabulous! Cheers


  • This is so beautiful! It oozes retro Hollywood glamour! Love it. Thanks for sharing!


  • Wow, I love your look, I love your clothes, i adore your glasses and you are gorgeous 🙂 i simply had to sign up 🙂 xxx


  • […] adore Lauren’s version in the most beautiful fabric, and Tasha really has all those vintage vibes going! Lynne has sewn so many beautiful Ritas but how about this for an amazing dress […]


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