Petite Plus Patterns by Kathleen Cheetham have been around for a while; however, we hadn’t seen a new release from this line for several years until she released the “Shapely Blouse” pattern this past spring. As a petite (5’2″) plus sized woman myself, I’d long been curious about these patterns, and finally decided to give the a try with the release of the new blouse pattern. I’d held off on these because some of the artwork/sample photos can be a bit dated, and I’m like a cat with a laser pointer when it comes to trying patterns (New! Shiny!). However, I’m really glad that I finally gave one a try, as my new red Shapely Blouse is one of my favorite things hanging in my closet right now.
“Petite Plus Patterns are designed especially for the smaller-framed, full-figured woman with narrower shoulders, a full cup bust, rounded tummy, and delicious full curves.”
Description from the Petite Plus patterns web site:
“This simple little blouse is softly fitted with a V-neck, five-button front closure, side-seam bust darts, curved hemline and optional front & back torso darts.
For warm weather or under a suit jacket, make a cap sleeve version. Sew much more by adding long sleeves, easy fast cuffs and your choice of either faced neckline or collar in rounded or pointed style.”
Size range (with measurements)
This pattern is available in Petite Plus sizes 12-24, which ranges from a 38″ (97 cm) full bust to a 50″ (127 cm) full bust and a 40″ (102 cm) hip to a 52″ (132 cm) hip. View the entire size chart in the image below:
What size did you make?
Going off of my high bust measurement, I started with a size 20 and altered from there.
What are your measurements, height, and body type? (If reviewing a top or dress, bra size is very helpful for our readers.)
My current measurements are as follows:
- High bust: 42″ (106.7 cm)
- Full bust: 49″ (124.5 cm)
- Waist: 42.5″ (108 cm)
- Hip: 46″ (118 cm)
- Height: 5’2″ (157.5 cm)
- Bra Size: 40H
My body type is somewhere between a busty hourglass and busty rectangle from the front, but more of a busty apple from the side.
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
I made the following adjustments:
- 2.5″ traditional slash-and-spread Full Bust Adjustment (FBA)
- Squared off the corners of the button openings to give the blouse a more current look
- After my first non-muslin version, I wound up adding 1″ length all around to put the blouse length more in my comfort zone for wearing and moving around.
Overall, I probably spent less than one hour on pattern adjustments.
What fabric did you use?
After making a muslin to check my fit, I used Cotton + Steele Rifle Paper Co fabric for both “good” versions of my blouse:
- For the black, long-sleeved blouse, I used a cotton-rayon lawn.
- For the red, short-sleeved blouse, I used a rayon challis. If you’ve never worked with it, note that Cotton + Steele rayon is a little beefier/easier to work with than most rayon challis.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
The instructions are good. Kathleen includes an instruction sheet for basic fit adjustments along with the instructions on how to construct the blouse. The construction instructions are reasonably detailed and include clear diagrams.
I’d rate this pattern as an “Advanced Beginner” level of difficulty.
The construction process is…lengthy for a fairly simple blouse because of the 8(!) darts included in the pattern (2 shoulder darts + 2 back waist darts + 2 front waist darts + 2 bust darts). It don’t know about you, but sewing a bunch of darts always feels like a slog to me. The good news is that once all of those darts are sewn, the rest of the construction goes pretty quickly. And we can’t side-eye all of those darts too badly, since they help lead to a good fit.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
Considering that I’m a busty petite woman (5’2″) with a bit of a dummy, yeah, this pattern was pretty much drafted for my body type. It would be great if this pattern came with the option for larger cup sizes (above a D-cup), but I did do a much more reasonably sized FBA on this pattern than on non-cup-sized patterns. I think the final fit (particularly with my red blouse) is really, really good.
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
I really love the neckline of the collarless view, so I’ll probably stick with that. (The bias-cut collar is a bit of a fabric hog, too, whereas I was able to squeeze the short-sleeved collarless view out of 2 yards of 45″ wide fabric.) This is such a great basic pattern that it would be silly for me not to make more.
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up?
This pattern fits true-to-size for the size chart, so use that as your starting point to select a size. Make note of the high bust measurement–I love that Kathleen included that in the size chart.
Overall pattern rating
Size Range (1-5): 4 — The size range is very good; there are a few indie pattern companies out there with larger size ranges, so that’s why I gave this a 4 instead of a 5.
Instructions (1-5): 5 — The instructions and illustrations are quite good.
Construction Process (1-5): 5 — The construction process was uneventful. Everything is drafted well and goes together nicely. I did think that the two-piece sleeve had a little more ease than I’d like in the sleeve cap, but that’s an easy fix if I make the long-sleeved version again. I did not run into that issue with the short sleeves.
Final Fit (1-5): 5 — The pattern is true-to-size. I am very happy with the final fit of my blouses.
Overall Rating (1-5) + Explanation: 4.75 — Average score of other scores. This is a really fabulous pattern for curvy petites.
Disclaimer: I was given a promotional copy of this pattern by Petite Plus patterns; however all opinions expressed in this review are my own.