Seamwork Arden blouse

I’ve wanted to make the Seamwork Arden for a while but never got around to it. Then I stopped wearing dresses as much and decided to shorten it to a blouse length. 

Seamwork Arden is a loose fitting babydoll dress with a shawl collar and long darts to give shape. I used the bonus which has a gathering at the yoke instead. The bonus has gathering only at the centre bust and the centre back, but I chose to do some light gathering across the whole yoke. 

Seamwork’s size range is okay. It tops out at a 54 inch bust, though, which is actually a bit small imho. I think the standard should be a 60 inch bust at the very least. We need to do better there. 

I made a straight size 24 with no changes except to the length. The fabric I used is a rayon twill that is heavenly. It’s deep stash for me since I have had it since about 2013 since it appears in this post on my fabric stash. I bought a bunch at the same time and most of it has been sewn now but this was one that was so lovely and high quality that I couldn’t bring myself to make anything with it. 


I just love it and wish I had more tbh because I could definitely see the Glebe pants in this fabric, too.

Okay, let’s discuss the clown in the room. Yes, this top is giving me serious circus vibes between the collar, the print, and the oversized look.



I just love it. I originally had the top a bit longer, but then cropped it shorter so that it would work great with high-waisted pants and also offset the volume.

It looks great with my Willandra pants! 

I think given the volume in this size and the wide shoulders, I could have sized down to a 22 instead. I also need to correct the wavy front hem due to my bust size pulling it up. I’ll have to add a bit of a curve to the front at the top for that.

Dear me, I love the sleeves. Yes, they are slightly too long on my t-rex arms but they are fabulous. The volume, the cuff, the lovely fabric.

And that freaking collar. It’s a massive bow and so pretty. 

That said, Seamwork has some weird instructions for the collar that don’t sit well with me. I also wish the collar turned into the bow, which is what I had expected but the bow is actually sewn into the centre where the collar meets. Having made bow collars like this before, it seems like they went that way to avoid complicated instructions and make it easier for beginners. It’s not my preference though. I was thinking as I cut out the pattern pieces of redrafting that but that type of finish does also require a few changes including how the yoke is attached. So I left it. I won’t make the change for the future either since it’s too much work. I definitely get why they didn’t do it. Ha! 

It is this sewist’s opinion, though, that Seamwork instructions are often hit or miss. I would say their more recent patterns are much better but since Arden is from a while back in their catalog, it isn’t great, which is odd because the instructions are super long! 

I loved making this blouse though and will be definitely making more next time. Although, I think I will size down to a 22 for the shoulder fit and a bit less volume.

As you can see, I had fun taking pictures for this one. There is something about large voluminous sleeves that makes me feel like a romantic protagonist even if it’s set in a circus. Hahah.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Arden bonus
  • Pros: Lovely and filled with volume and drama.
  • Cons: Odd instructions for the collar. Not a great size range. 
  • Make again?: For sure but likely in size 22 versus size 24.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

7 thoughts on “Seamwork Arden blouse

  1. Hi Andie

    I don’t for one minute think you look like a clown, I think the piece works as a top and I think you look very happy and comfortable in it. Your write up did make me laugh though. Thanks for the heads up about hit and miss instructions. As I begin to move away from beginner patterns it will be good to know and be on my guard.

    I’m still slow sewing the face masks. Told myself I can’t start getting the new Featherweight working till I’ve done them. I call that motivation but the garden is so warm and tempting… It’s hard to choose sometimes!

    A bit of garden & a bit of sewing with a sleep in between ☑️

    Big hugs. Stay safe everyone

    T x

  2. This blouse looks great on you! It looks like a person could make a dress out of it as well. I really admire how you are able to sew so many clothes! I’m still waiting for my back to get better and help to be available. Thanks!

  3. You look fantastic! I love that fabric and I like the overall fit you achieved.

    One of my biggest complaints about Indie patterns is this desire to try to make things “easy” ends up making for ridiculousness. I would definitely go with what makes the most sense/produces the cleanest finish.

  4. Maybe it’s my current book obsession (cozy mysteries that you can imagine being turned into a Hallmark Mystery movie) but I didn’t think “circus” at all, I thought small town (maybe even British village) accidental sleuth.
    Love the whole outfit…I need to look at that pattern again….

  5. Not getting a circus vibe.More like a graphic 1920s feel in my opinion.
    It looks amazing on you, the length is great, and how the collar is neither too low / loose or to high and strict.
    Whatever method of construction you got great results.

I love comments, but sometimes I may be slow to respond/approve. I will respond though. :)

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