Are you looking for an easy-to-sew peasant blouse pattern? One that you can make into a top that’s appropriate for both warmer and cooler temperatures?
If so, you need to take a look at Olivia by Rebecca Page.
After making Olivia for myself, I answered a bunch of questions based on my experience to help you decide if this pattern is right for you.
What is Olivia?
Olivia is a peasant blouse with a gathered neckline and no fastenings. The back is slightly longer than the front.
It’s described as “a simply beautiful boho-styled top” in the pattern description. And I have to agree.
Is it a PDF or paper pattern?
Oliva is a PDF pattern that needs to be assembled after it’s printed.
What sizes are included?
The sizes in the ladies’ Olivia pattern range from XXS to 5XL.
Are there multiple options or different versions included in the pattern?
The ladies’ Olivia pattern includes 2 sleeve lengths with the option to gather the sleeves.
Suggestions are also given to add bow or ribbon detailing and/or use embroidery or applique for a unique look.
In addition to the ladies’ Olivia, there are also:
- A children’s Olivia – size newborn to 12 years
- An Olivia bundle – it includes both the children and ladies’ Olivia
What version of Olivia did you make?
I made an unadorned ladies’ Olivia with 3/4 length gathered sleeves.
How many pattern pieces are there?
There are 3 main pattern pieces – a front, a back, and the sleeve.
A 4th pattern piece is included to help you determine the length of elastic needed for the neckline and gathered sleeves.
What fabric is recommended?
The fabrics recommended for the ladies’ Olivia are light to medium-weight woven fabric (such as 100% cotton, cotton blend, linen, taffeta, chiffon, georgette, and rayon).
Knit/stretch fabrics (such as jersey) were also mentioned.
How much fabric did it take?
The amount of fabric is determined by the size you make and the length of sleeve you want.
For sizes XXS – 5XL with either the short or 3/4 length sleeve, the amount of fabric ranges from 2 – 2.5 yards.
It is noted, however, that if the fabric is narrower, has a print with direction to it, or has a nap, you may need additional fabric.
What fabric did you use and where did you get it?
I used a woven gingham fabric that I had in my stash.
I remember getting it at Hobby Lobby because I had gone in to look at the patterns they had on sale and made a pass through the fabric.
Falling in love with the color, I just had to have the gingham when I saw it.
Since I wasn’t sure what I was going to use it for, I bought 2.5 yards. Whew!
What other supplies or notions are needed?
- 1/2-inch elastic for the neckline
- Thread to match the fabric
- 1/4-inch elastic for the sleeves (optional)
- Trim or other embellishments (optional)
What is the difficulty level?
What sewing tools are needed?
- sewing machine
- pins/pattern weights
- tape measure/ruler
I also used a tracing wheel and paper to transfer lines from the pattern to the fabric since I needed to grade between sizes.
Is special equipment required?
You’ll need something to thread the elastic through the casing. I used a safety pin.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, the instructions were easy to follow.
For beginner and less experienced sewists the directions are given in a step-by-step tutorial with pictures.
For more experienced sewists there is a Quick Glance Cheat Sheet. It’s a one page set of directions without any pictures.
What sewing skills do I need?
To make Olivia you need to…
- know how to layout pattern pieces so they follow the grainline of the fabric.
- be able to use your sewing machine.
- know how to adjust the stitch width on zig-zag stitches to connect the ends of the elastic.
Bonus skill: You’ll learn how to make French seams! You don’t need to know how to do this finishing technique prior to making the peasant top because it is clearly explained in the directions.
Was it difficult to make?
Oliva isn’t difficult to make as long as you’re able to tell the right from the wrong side of the fabric and tell the cut fabric pieces apart. (The front and back of the top look almost identical after they’re cut.)
I did have a little trouble figuring out how to attach the sleeves when I made the muslin. This was because both sides of my muslin fabric were identical and I didn’t think to mark either the right/wrong side.
What did you to do make sure the top fit correctly?
The loose floaty fit of Olivia is an advantage when getting the right fit. I only had to focus on making sure the armholes weren’t too tight or too loose.
To make sure Olivia fit, there were several things I did:
- Before printing the pattern, I took my measurements and labeled them on the size chart that is provided with the pattern.
- I only printed the sizes I needed.
- My chest, waist, and hip measurements were S, M, and L respectively.
- On the pattern, at the point where the seam starts under the arm, I used a ruler and pencil to grade from small to large.
- Using a tracing wheel and paper, I transferred the pattern lines to an inexpensive muslin fabric.
- I made a muslin (test garment) to find out if I would need to make adjustments around the arm.
- The muslin was a little tight around under the arm. So on the final garment, I went from small around the arm to medium directly under the arm and then graded from medium to large along the side seams.
What tips or suggestions do you have for making Olivia?
Tip 1: Make a muslin to make sure the fit around the arm is comfortable for you.
Tip 2: Label the front and back fabric pieces after you cut them out. This will allow you to easily tell them apart during the construction process.
Tip 3: If the right and wrong sides are identical, label that as well.
Would you recommend this pattern?
There aren’t very many pattern pieces and the directions were easy to follow.
Olivia doesn’t take long to make and the loose blousy design means there isn’t a lot of fitting issues to deal with.
Also, if you’ve never done French seams before, this is a good pattern to learn.
Would you make it again?
The pattern directions were easy to follow and having made one, other tops from this pattern will go quicker.
Plus, with the variations on the sleeves as well as the different fabric recommendations, you could use the Olivia pattern and make tops for all four seasons. The great thing is that every blouse would look different!
Do you have other questions?
I tried to anticipate any questions you might have about Olivia by answering what I would want to know before selecting a pattern.
If there’s something you’re wondering about that I didn’t answer, make sure to put it in the comments below or email me directly at email@example.com.
The loose-fit design of this flirty top allowed me to focus on learning a new skill (French seams) and not focus too much on fit. With only 3 pattern pieces and easy-to-follow directions, this was a great pattern for my first handmade top.Review by Nicki Hibbits, Rebecca Page Brand Ambassador
Just so you know: The above review was written by me in May 2020 for Rebecca Page.
As a RP Brand Ambassador, it’s my responsibility to:
- choose and sew one pattern every month for ten out of twelve months
- write a review
- send in pictures of my final garment
- share my make in the Rebecca Page FB Sewing Group.
In return, I receive the pattern at no charge and a credit to be used for future patterns when I complete my monthly responsibilities.
Rebecca Page Brand Ambassadors consist of sewists at all different levels.
While I have been sewing for a long time, I am fairly new to sewing clothes.
Becoming a Brand Ambassador for Rebecca Page, a company who offers beginner-friendly, and easy-to-use patterns, provided the opportunity I needed to push past my fears and excuses and dive into the world of making my own clothes.
If fear of the unknown is holding you back from sewing your own clothes I want to help you.
- I encourage you to take a look at the posts I’ve written related to Sewing Clothes.
- If you’ve been thinking about learning to sew on a machine but haven’t made the leap yet, check out my FREE online Starting to Sew class. It’s self-paced so you can go through it at a speed that feels good to you.
Whether you’re new to sewing or have been sewing for a while, I hope my experience with making Olivia will help you decide if this is a pattern for you.
My main goals are to support, empower, and inspire you to discover the joy of sewing.
Need help or have questions on this project, pattern, or tutorial? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work together to get it figured out!
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