Shirt Blouse Pattern

When I first started this pet project / blog, my mini-ambition was also to develop a set of patterns suitable for upcycling clothes, and it seemed to keep falling by the wayside.  I did up one last year….and its still on rough paper (but I hope to get that drafted and tested in the next month)

Two months ago, I changed jobs – I went back temping –  and wanted to make up some new ‘work’ tops.  When I used temp years ago, I would wear skirts more, whereas this year I have pretty much been wearing cigarette pants all summer, and wanted to make up a few ‘prepier’ looking shirts/tops to go with them.  One was this butterick shirt, which I made from a pale blue linen.  The one think I hadn’t thought of, was to cut the front up-side-down on the men’s shirt as the buttons go the wrong way!

butterick shirt upcycle

Anyway – while it has been a useful addition, I wanted a top with no collar, but still ‘crisp’ looking.  I had a white dress shirt from the sewing room in the cupboard and ran this one up.  I was very pleased with it, as I managed to get the whole top out of the shirt (and still have some usable scraps left – cuffs and collar).  I took off the pique panels and used them for the yokes and incorporated the button holes as a ‘feature’, and did a slash opening at the back.

I was very happy with the construction – its a lined yoke, and slash opening back, and sleeves are sewn in flat, and there are a small amount of gathers at the cuff of the sleeve.

white shirt upcycle

I then wondered how adaptable the pattern would be, and as I had a few stripe shirts in the workroom, so I started to experiment with some mix and match there (I had planned to use these with the teens in the sew summer camp) so started taking them apart and sampled up a few – tweaking as I went along, the main tweak really was adding shoulder darts.  I am rather pleased with the patchwork-ed ones and am now foisting some of the makes on friends, as I got carried away with the making…..

shirt blouse - upcycle shirt


So-with the making of the new Irish Dancing Dress looming I spent last weekend drafting and had it scanned yesterday.  I put it on craftsy and its free, and hope to have an A4 version up by the weekend.  I am hoping the explanations of each step is sufficiently informative without being too simplistic.  I have found in the sewing room – that I tend to assume that ‘everyone’ knows this – but then remember or am reminded that not everyone learned to sew in school etc.  So if you have any comments tips on the instructions and pattern if you wish to download/read/use, I would be delighted to hear them.

Originally I was to grade it also, but I was running out of time, and if my niece (irish dance dress) finds out I am doing extra-curricular activities – I thought it best to finish what I had, and get onto that!


15 thoughts on “Shirt Blouse Pattern

    • upsew says:

      Thank you Cate, its such a cute pattern and I really like raglan sleeves, they are so forgiving, and can move easily between sizes. I would like to try the pattern again in a softer fabric (maybe some silk) – did you ever make your one up? I am really pleased with the little tops, the patchwork ones feel summery – even thought its raining a lot this month…..


  1. wrong doll says:

    These are brilliant Eimear and how kind of you to offer it as a free pattern. I love how you have kept the shirt buttons as a feature and the patchwork effect. Your style of sewing is so inspiring to me – you are a craftswoman through and through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      Thanks Aimee, I was so happy with the first one as I had been making a few different tops for the past while, and like goldilocks, this one felt just right, and then was worth tweaking and sampling which was make easier again as it was relatively quick patter (really!) I did get an overlocker recently so I was really feeling like a one-woman-factory (I decided on getting an overlocker as it sews up jersey so handy and that won me over) – so looking forward to hearing about that jacket of yours. I just love love love the look of it……

      Liked by 1 person

      • wrong doll says:

        Your hard work has paid off – you can tell you’ve put in the, effort to get here – just fab. You won’t regret the over locker purchase – it’s great for jersey and you can get such a lovely finish on things. I went on a day course for mine recently and feel a tad more confident now at adjusting the dials:) Gonna get some photos of the epic quilting project soon and share the Heidi love 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. upsew says:

    oooo will definitely be asking you some tips. I did have to adjust the dials for the shirt and was relieved that fixed the waviness – as I wasnt sure what else to do. I managed to break a needle already (dont tell anyone) but tell myself (as I tell any newbies in the sewing room) it means you’ve arrived! thankfully no needles since but did get one that the front fully opens so its a doddle to thread!


  3. Let's Get Sewing says:

    Each sample you’ve made are all amazingly different! It’s a very nice pattern, and very kind of you to give it for free. I love how you’ve added different details such as pockets and contrast yokes. Good luck finishing th Irish dancing dress!

    Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      thank you very much – I am really happy with them – and had a bit of fun making them – as I am normally a hesitant patchworker – dance dress not going so well at the moment, embroidery taking forever….. (again making it my head was much faster!)


  4. fabrickated says:

    I too am from the school of making where you keep going with one really good idea until you have an excellent version. I did this with a pencil skirt and made several version. Your shirt top is really nice – I especially like the white textured one. My friend Marijana of Sew2Pro makes some really snazzy tops from men’s shirts – each one with a more and more creative short sleeve. They are lovely especially in plaids and wide stripes. Shirt fabrics are often really beautiful and these blouses give them a new lease of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      Thank you very much – the cottons in the shirts have a lot of life left in them, especially if the collars are no longer ‘the best’ ( I dont think anyone turns collars anymore) – or that the colours are not currently the fashion. I have a few other patterns here for testing… hope to have them up soon! (I have also started playing around with a knitting machine so who knows what will happen first!)

      Liked by 1 person

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