Simple Sew Juliette Tie-Back Blouse

 Simple Sew Juliette Tie-Back Blouse pattern review

I haven't done much garment sewing in a while, so have eased myself back in with what should be a quick and easy make. By and large it was, so I'm feeling pretty good about it! I managed to repurpose a previous make that has had zero wear into something that is much more versatile and is already getting more wear. As a bonus I also got to try out a pattern that has been languishing in my stash for years!


The fabric I wanted to use is left over from my Named Solina dress from the book 'Breaking the Pattern'. I bought 3m at the Knitting and Stitching show from the Textile Centre for £5 a metre. It's deals like these that are why I go to these shows! I have no idea what it is officially, but would guess along the lines of a lightweight crepe. It doesn't crease easily whilst wearing or fray whilst making, is opaque and has good drape. I have a similar Lady MacElroy fabric which they call their 'Lena' crepe and find these to be really handy for dressmaking. It's also soft and nice to wear. I didn't have enough left over to be fussy about pattern placement, but as a dark floral, there's not too much to worry about. I really like the way it softly drapes which is helpful for this top which is pulled together at the back with ties.

Simple Sew Juliette Tie-Back Blouse pattern review

After making the Solina dress, I had enough left over to make a maxi length skirt with some side ties for closures, which I made just sewing together the long rectangles I was left with. I had intended to wear it in summer, but found that I never have. Not even once. I had at least 75cm square in each rectangle to use.

Pattern and Instructions

I spent months thinking about what pattern I could use with this fabric. I would have loved to have got a summer dress out of it, in a tshirt style. I might have got a Sew Over It Lottie dress if I used a different fabric for the binding, but it didn't feel right for this make. In the end I considered there must be enough for a light top and cast about for patterns. I eventually landed in my stash on the Juliette tie back top by Simple Sew. I'm a fan of patterns with waist ties as you can adjust the fit really easily (a particular bonus if you're wearing something out to dinner!) and on this pattern the sleeves are not a separate pattern piece, which is helpful when working with limited amounts of fabric. My copy came free with Love Sewing magazine, but you can buy it separately direct from Simple Sew for £9.99.

It's a very simple pattern, with identical front and back bodice pieces, including the grown on sleeves, waist ties and a facing. I didn't have enough fabric for the facings so had to leave these out. (I could have used a different fabric for them, but didn't have anything to hand in a similar weight). Instead, I simply turned over what would have been the seam allowance and stitched this down like a hem. I had to clip the curves so it would lay flat, but overall I'm pleased with it and think I prefer this to having the facing anyway. The neckline is fairly wide as there are no closures so it needs to fit over your head, but not too wide (no straps will be peeking through, just).

Simple Sew Juliette Tie-Back Blouse pattern review

I also had to shorten the sleeves by about 5 inches, simply because there wasn't enough fabric for them! This also meant that I had to alter the curve from the side into the armhole a little bit too. With the shorter sleeve, you could see under the arm  and this wouldn't be a problem if making as designed, but not my preference. I just raised where the side seam curved into the sleeve and there's still plenty of movement, as well as a bit more modesty.

Instructions come on a paper booklet, and include diagrams as well as clear language. This is such a simple top I have to admit I didn't pay a lot of attention to them. However, there is one big issue with the set that I had. (It may have been resolved by now as my pattern pack came free with a magazine many, many years ago.) The sizing charts on the instructions do not match with the sizing options available on the pattern. On the instruction pages, there are 9 numbered sizes on their chart, but the pattern itself and the envelope have 5 lettered sizes. The envelope has finished measurements, but to be honest this isn't helpful either as the bust measurement includes the kimono sleeves. 

Simple Sew Juliette Tie-Back Blouse pattern review

It was more a case of holding up the tissue and taking a punt based on previous dressmaking patterns. Clearly it turned out ok, but I can't see how any of the information would help a beginner, and this is a beginner level pattern. It's a shame as a beginner would end up with a successful garment at the end of this requiring only basic straight stitching and hems. There are no darts, gathering or closures even as the shape is achieved with the waist ties, so it really is set up to be easy, but the sizing info lets it down.

Anyway...time for what it actually looks like on!!!

Simple Sew Juliette Tie-Back Blouse pattern review


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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