The moment I clapped eyes on the Charm Patterns Rita Blouse by Gertie, I knew I had to make it, and probably more than one of them!

I had a similar shaped top (from Primark!) which I wore for years until it shrunk in the wash – I swear it did! 😉 It was plain black and it went with everything.

Gertie used crowdfunding to raise the funds to start up her Charm Patterns independent pattern house. I took part and my perk was receiving her first two patterns in PDF format – the Rita blouse and the Lamour dress.

As soon as I got my pattern, I purchased some fabric, printed out the pattern and was all ready to get started. However, at that point in time, we decided we were going to put our plan to move from the UK to New Zealand into action. That meant packing away my sewing machines, fabric, and basically everything in the house! So my plans for a Rita blouse were thwarted for the time being.

Fast forward a few months and we are now in New Zealand, but my sewing machines, fabric and all our worldly possessions are still in a container on a ship, somewhere in the Red Sea! However, there are fabric shops here, my Mum lent me her sewing machine, and I had saved the Rita PDF on my laptop, so there was nothing to stop me this time! 😀

I went to the local Spotlight store, which is a chain of shops in NZ and Australia selling all sorts of craft, hobby, sewing supplies and homewares. When I spotted this Rarotongan inspired fabric, I knew it would make a fabulous Rita. I’d been knocked out by all the lovely fabrics other people had been using to make their Rita blouses, so decided that a plain black top could be made at a later date!

Making the top was pretty straightforward. I had a question about which size to make as the pattern has been drafted for different cup sizes, which is really nice. So I asked on “gertie’s rita blouse sew-along” facebook group for advice and Gertie herself answered! Her advice was spot on, although I probably overdid the grading out at the waist as it’s a little looser than it probably should be, but it’s very comfortable to wear. For my next Rita I might try a fabric with a slight stretch and size it down a bit.

One thing I really liked was the instruction which told you which sides of which pattern pieces to overlock before starting to sew the top together. I’ve tried to work this out before on other patterns but I usually end up overlocking too many sides and find I have some very bulky seams as a result.

It’s a shame we’re now heading into Autumn here in NZ, I won’t have too much chance to wear my Rita before it gets chilly, but I’m very glad I made it now anyway.

I went back to Spotlight the other day and bought some very funky fabric to make a Sew Over It Heather dress which will be a little more weather appropriate. Here’s a little sneak peek at the fabric – you’ll definitely see me coming! 😉

Oh yes, I got a highly commended in the Simplicity Sewing Challenge with my crane fabric skirt and black top! I’m really pleased I took part as I’ve now got a lovely skirt which I’ve worn a few times, that has actually encouraged me to get a bit more dressed up when going out! It’s surprisingly comfortable to wear as well – bonus! 😀