Pattern Review – Simplicity 8593 Vintage Poncho Blouse

Upcycle a skirt into a vintage top with Simplicity 8592

In the ’90s, I was hardcore into the vintage look, but I stopped wearing it 10 years ago when it started to feel too costumey.  Now that it’s spring, it felt like the right time to revisit this theme with Simplicity 8593.

The Pattern

Simplicity 8593 is a simple to make poncho blouse that fastens at the front and back waistline with ties. I chose styles D because I was digging the peplum ruffle. This is an authentic Simplicity pattern circa 1940.  I traced size 10 for the upper half and a size 12 for the lower half.

The Fabric

Upcycle a skirt into a vintage top with Simplicity 8592

My favorite thrift store recently jacked up all their prices, so I paid a painful $8 for this floral skirt, which is expensive for used clothes.  This skirt is a beautiful blend of cotton and rayon with a slight crinkle that made pressing a joy (she said sarcastically).  There was just enough fabric to refashion this skirt into a new top with a few scraps to spare.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 

Most of the sewing was easy, but there were a few things that stumped me.  The back panel ties in the front, and somehow, I was supposed to make teeny tiny tube ties from a 1″ strip of fabric.  That was NEVER going to happen.  I tried their instructions, and I tried a tube turner, but I couldn’t get the dang thing to turn inside out.  Out of frustration, I gave up and used elastic as the ties.  Since these ties are hidden by the front, who cares what they are made of.

Upcycle a skirt into a vintage top with Simplicity 8592

All edges are finished with a narrow hem, which worked for everything except the tapered corner of the back sash.  No matter what I tried, there was always a hunk of seam allowance sticking out at that tapered corner.  After 15 minutes of head scratching, I figured out I had to miter that corner.  I’d like to thank the instructional designer for wasting my time.

The armholes are wide and floppy, which is expected given the two-way wrap construction, but at a particular side angle, you can see my bra.  Version E has side buttons to narrow the armhole, so why not version D???  It’s easy to add, but little oversights like this annoy me.

Upcycle a skirt into a vintage top with Simplicity 8592

Random aside – I’ve been toying with the idea of making bras.  Would it be weird to make a matching bra for this shirt so it would blend in?

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

I accidentally snipped the front of the blouse!    It happened when I was trimming a seam.  I wasn’t paying attention, and I felt the scissors cut through an unexpectedly thick chunk of fabric.  I’m soooooooo freaking mad at myself.  And it’s in a weird position off to the side where I can’t obscure it with a brooch.  People, I need your help.  Please add suggestions on how to fix this snip in the comments section.

Upcycle a skirt into a vintage top with Simplicity 8592

As much as I adore the look of the sash, it’s quite impractical in real life.  First, it’s difficult to tie a pretty bow blind with your hands in the back, so I simply knot it and let it dangle.  And every time I sit back in a chair, I can feel that knot hit me in the center of my back.

Upcycle a skirt into a vintage top with Simplicity 8592

But I LOVE the look of the blouse, even as the back rides up and makes me tug it back down uncomfortably.  And I still need to figure out how to fix that stupid snip in the front.  So this blouse will sit in my closet for a bit while I figure out if it’s worth wearing.

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There are 12 comments for this article
  1. kathy at 6:20 pm

    here are a couple suggestions. Try on a scrap first.

    Press some fusible interfacing on the back of the snip to hold the fabric exactly lined up. you could press some wonder under on the top of the shirt. It may give you a slight sheen to the fabric.

    Applique one of the motifs over the hole. Handstitch along the turned edge.

    And I think a bow would look better than the dangling sash, even if it’s not your best bow. Keep practicing and it will eventually look very nice.

  2. Shelia Rittgers at 7:28 pm

    Melissa – try Bo-Nash Fuse It Powder. I recently used it on a tear I made when I was taking out a hem. I wasn’t sure it would work, but it did.

  3. maria at 5:26 pm

    I love it & have amassed several floral skirts I could see doing the same thing with. You are way too hard on yourself, imo. The result is quite fab, foibles & all.

  4. Susan at 2:47 am

    Agree with above suggestion of applique except maybe I would try a group of 3 cut out flowers and being lazy, I would just zigzag around the perimeters. I like this top. Is there anyway to make it to tie in the front? One last suggestion re the skinny ties, there is a tool that can easily turn ties inside out when they are too narrow for the safety pin trick. I forget the name ( bodkin?) or you could just use coordinating ribbon

    • melissa1lin at 9:19 am

      Love the idea of moving the sash to the front! Why didn’t I think of that? I don’t have a bodkin, but I have a bodkin-like tube turner that works on wider tubes, but not on super skinny ones.

      • melissa at 8:18 pm

        i hd another simplicity pattern with impossibly tiny tubes that i was unable to turn rightside out. i ended up re-cutting and using a lesser seam allowance than the instructions suggested. that was still painful, but at least doable. sometimes i think these patterns give instructions that were never actually made — i dont think there is a seamstress or device that would have been able to turn that tube. it seemed against the laws of physics.

        • melissa1lin at 10:11 am

          You’d think the big 4 pattern companies would test these patterns with regular home sewers before release. I know it’s best practice with some of the best indie pattern makers out there . . .

          I finally learned how to make skinny tubes/straps when I made the Crystal Cove Cami. The trick is to cut on the BIAS, stretch and steam the life out of it, sew the tube, and then turn the tube. When cut and sewn on the bias, the fabric stretches around your turner. I was super skeptical when I first made these straps because the fabric was only 1″ wide and shrunk down to .5″ after aggressively stretched, but the bias made all the difference.

  5. Leslie Anne Hill at 10:55 am

    What did you finally do about the snip? Would you make this again? Do you think making the back longer would prevent the blouse from riding up? Thank you for sharing.

    • melissa1lin at 11:14 am

      Hi Leslie. I ironed some interfacing on the back and did some darning stitches across the cut. Not great, but not terrible. I found a sarong at the thrift store and am thinking about making it over. This pattern has really grown on me.

  6. M3 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you for doing this review. I bought this pattern today and am evaluating the pattern instructions for view D. I am going to add a snap or button under the arms, make the thin ties to the front slightly wider, and modify all of the “narrow hems” for 1″ hems more in keeping with vintage construction.
    I feel your frustration with the garment slash, I did the same thing with a cotton blouse. I used a matching fabric patch applied with Stitch Witchery. The slash blended out perfectly.

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