If you are focusing on thrifty sewing, you can certainly not overlook the many free patterns available out there!
I love Peppermint Magazine, and one of the delights of their website is the high quality free patterns that they offer.
The Ruffle Sleeve Top developed by In the Folds for the magazine has been a very popular make in the Instagram sewing world. I decided to give it a try, and found a lovely, lightweight rich red linen at my local Goodwill -- a narrow piece but just enough to fit this pattern. So off I went!
I traced it off a couple of weeks ago and can't remember which size I chose -- there are ten sizes, marked A-J, so just check your measurements and pick the size you want. I do recall that I graded out from one size in the shoulder/bust to a larger one at the hem, which is pretty usual for me.
I also had to cut the sleeve ruffles on grain rather than across it, just to fit them onto the piece of fabric I had.
The construction of this pretty blouse takes a little longer than average, simply because it's so well done. There's a full facing, and everything is sewn with french seams. It takes a bit more effort but is worth the nice finish, especially when you are using a linen like this that frays like mad. The only place I didn't use french seams was when I inset the sleeve. And that was only because I sewed the first one on regularly instead of wrong sides together -- it was kind of easy to get mixed up with this fabric that doesn't have an obvious right/wrong side and I missed the clue that the seam was on the wrong side when pinning it on. It was way too hard to pick stitches out of this fabric; it just shredded it. So I left them sewn on in the regular manner and stitched and pinked the seam allowances to minimize fraying.
Everything else went together very smoothly. I like the easy finger pressed suggestion for the hems; I used a narrow hem on the body even though the instructions said to make a bigger one, as I was afraid that the top would be too short for my liking. As it happens, it worked well, but I might slightly narrow and lengthen the hem by an inch next time around.
I love the bright colour and the distinctive sleeve. I took some pictures in the memorial rose garden on the grounds of a local church today, even though I disturbed a swarm of mosquitoes when stepping into the grass. Yikes. So. Many. Mosquitoes. Even in the middle of the day.
This is a really fun design, and if you are thinking about thrifty sewing, this is a good example of how thrift doesn't have to look cheap. This stylish pattern is a free offer; the linen was a great find at my local Goodwill -- 2 m. for $2. They serendipitously came together to make a wonderfully fitting summer top.