The Marnie Blouse - it's a statement!

When I first saw the Marnie blouse/dress pattern by TIlly and the Buttons I knew I would be making it. It has lots of nods to vintage (Seventies) sewing patterns and the prairie-style blouses that have been on trend for a little while now. I liked how customiseable it was with all those little details you could add (or leave off); undulating tucks, a frill collar and shoulder ruffles. You could make it fairly plain or go to town with all the trimmings. I couldn't decide which options to have so I went with ALL of them. This did mean it was a fairly lengthy and detailled make but I don't mind that if it means I get what I want at the end and pick up a new skill along the way.


The pattern has princess seams but the seam lines are situated close to the edge of your torso, rather than towards the centre of your boobs. The placement of the seam means that the optional ruffle sits nearer to your shoulders and extends down the side of your breasts - which is more flattering than ruffles across the front of the breast - but it does make for a voluminous fit.

Ease-wise, it's reasonably fitted across the neck and shoulders which leads into a gathered section mid-bust (above the fullest part of the bust). This gives a lot of volume to the rest of the garment over the bust and tummy. And I mean A LOT of volume. My measurements put me firmly as a Size 4 but I find it very roomy.  If you're making this from a stiff fabric, like cotton poplin or linen, this volume will be very obvious and I know that's something I've seen mentioned online by other makers, feeling uncomfortable with the amount of fabric around the tummy area. Solutions could be to tuck the blouse into your bottoms, cinch the dress in with a belt, or just grade to a smaller size from the bust down. I'm going for tucking in. A drapier fabric like viscose wouldn't hold so much volume and fall closer to the body.


And speaking of cotton poplin, I decided that I'd lean into the Seventies vibes and go all out with our Jackie cotton poplin. I realise that many of the details, like the tucks, would be lost with the busy print, but quite honestly I didn't care. I knew they are there and that makes me happy.

Sewing-wise, I cut a straight size 4 as I'm squarely in those measurements but did a sloped shoulder adjustment for about 1.5cm. It isn't much of a difference but I think it was worth it. As always the instructions on Tilly's patterns are well written and there wasn't any moment I was head scratching. The undulating tucks are easy enough AS LONG AS you take your time and have patience. They look VERY obvious if one of the tucks is a bit off - on one of my arm pieces, the bottom tuck doesn't look quite as even as the rest but I'm willing to forgive myself. And besides, when was the last time you looked at someone's sleeve and thought 'hmmm something's a bit off here'. In my case, never!


Overall, I'm really delighted with how this has turned out. I love how fun it is and I'm all about having items that make me smile in my wardrobe. I think next time I'd like to make the dress version in a viscose or even a chambray and dare-I-say-it maybe a PLAIN colour... although that goes against my ethos of 'more is more'!

Disclaimer: I haven't worn this beauty out yet. I normally like to wear an item out before reviewing it because there are often little niggles that come up. I finished sewing the Marnie blouse in December and was due to take some photographs but a few days later I fell on the ice and snow during a cold snap and broke my wrist. Disaster... I couldn't fit my plaster cast through the sleeve! So my Marnie been in the cupboard for 8 weeks whilst I recover. I still can't wear it properly as the elastic 'cuff' sits right on the location of my surgery scars. But once I've healed, it'll be on rotation in my wardrobe!

Happy sewing, Tanya xx


February 02, 2023 — Tanya Brooman