Friday, November 4, 2016

Pleasant Plaid Peasant Blouse

Several months ago, I ran across a tutorial on the Internet about turning a men's button-down shirt into a peasant blouse. "That's kind of cute," I thought, and promptly forgot about it. A few months later, a friend gave my boyfriend this blue and red plaid shirt, because it was too big for him. My boyfriend didn't want it either, which surprised me, because I liked it a lot (boys—I'll never understand their tastes)! I'm usually not big on plaid, but on this one, I enjoyed the size of the design and the color scheme, which was jewel-toned reds and blues with ecru for contrast. So I took the twice-rejected shirt for my own, vowing I'd somehow find the tutorial and make a cute peasant top for myself.

I never did locate the same tutorial that had originally captured my interest, but I picked and chose elements from the following two tutorials to arrive at my own version of the DIY peasant blouse: 
Unlike the RKC Southern example, I decided to leave off any additional embellishments, since the plaid pretty much spoke for itself. Unlike the Cut Out and Keep example, I didn't put in any ruffled edges.

Unlike both of the examples, I used a ribbon for the neckline instead of elastic, for a couple of reasons: 1) Elastic is mainly to make an off-the-shoulder top stay up better, and I wanted to keep the neckline of this top narrow enough that it would stay on my shoulders (off-the-shoulder is an especially unflattering look on my top-heavy frame). 2) That would require a lot more elastic than I had!

Another feature distinguishing my version from its predecessors is the longer sleeves. The fabric the shirt was made of was a little stiff and heavy, and the colors were kind of dark, which I thought would suit it better for a fall or winter garment than a summer or spring one. So I kept as much of the original sleeves as possible (I ended up going with the 3/4 length because I thought it looked best on me).

When all DIYing was done, I wore the peasant top for the first time with a pair of taupe slouch boots over skinny jeans (a fabulous flea market find at $2.50, with a fashionable high waist, a sophisticated dark wash, a near-perfect fit, and only a small zipper problem to fix). The clothing produced a country-chic vibe that I tried to play up with a little touch of nature in my silver leaf earrings.
Here are the full details on how I reconstructed this shirt.
Laying the shirt on the floor, I lopped off the top portion right about at the edges of the shoulders. This was significantly less cut off than in either of the tutorials, because, again, I wanted a normal neckline rather than an off-the-shoulder one. 

I cut off the sleeves just above the cuffs.

Folding each sleeve over on the inside, I sewed a casing/hem, into which I would insert elastic. Where the original cuff had overlapped, I just left it that way.
When the elastic was all threaded through, I simply secured the ends with two rows of stitches, then stretched it before I cut it off, so the end would retreat back inside the casing.
I put another casing in the neckline, and threaded that with a length of red ribbon.

That's about all there is to a peasant top. This type of blouse is supposed to be pretty loose, but considering that it had originally been too big even for my enormous (kidding!) male friend, it's not surprising that it was still too baggy on me. 

So I put two princess seams up the front, ending just below the breast pocket, to give it a hint of a feminine shape.

All done!


  1. That turned out really well, very flattering. Great refashion, thanks for sharing :)

  2. Merci pour le tuto, et j'aime beaucoup le rendu de cette transformation !

  3. Love this - my other half tends to wear out his perfectly nice shirts at the collar and cuffs; now I know what to do with them!