customizing with oliver + s: croquet dress as sailor blouse

Did you see this photo in the Flickr group the other day? Sarah did such a lovely job converting the Croquet Dress into a nautical blouse that I invited her to tell you all about it. She used ribbons to make horizontal stripes on the collar.



Here is what Sarah had to say about her sailor blouse. Maybe she’ll inspire you to get creative with the pattern and with making ribbon stripes. Thanks so much, Sarah!

When I was planning my younger daughter’s summer wardrobe I knew I wanted to make a nautical inspired blouse to go with some of the shorts I was making her.  I wasn’t sure what pattern to use and at first thought of using the Ice Cream Dress pattern.  But then it struck me; the Croquet Dress pattern would work perfectly since the collar of the dress (view A) looks nautical.  All I would have to do is remove the skirt and add little creative embellishment.  I ended up making my daughter the size 5, though normally I would have made her the size 4.  I only had the larger size of this pattern as I had originally imagined this dress being made for just my older daughter.  So, when I cut the shirt out, I used all of the pieces to the dress except the skirt, drawstring casing, and bow.  I did not take any length off of the front or back pieces.

I made the shirt out of a white fabric I had in my stash.  This fabric had been given to me so I am not exactly sure of the weight or content.  It’s very lightweight, drapes nicely,  and probably has some polyester in it as it does not wrinkle easily.  I sewed the pattern up, making no other modifications besides applying some ribbons to the collar pieces to give the blouse a nautical feel. (I embellished the collar with two stripes of blue ribbon on each side.)  The ribbon is navy blue and is 1/4 inch wide.  I spaced the ribbon about 1/4 inch apart and about 1/4 inch from the seam line of the bottom edge of the collar. I applied the ribbon parallel to the bottom of the collar piece.  While making the shirt, I played with the idea of adding more stripes of ribbon to both the shoulder pieces and the bottom of shirt but in the end I chose to just embellish the collar with ribbons.  I like the simplicity of that.

After sewing the entire shirt, I just wasn’t sure how to finish it.  Just hem it and be done?  Remove some length?  Add ribbon to the bottom?  I posted a picture of my daughter modeling the unfinished blouse on flickr and asked for advice. I got some wonderful suggestions including making side vents or slits.  After much thought, I chose to just hem as it is.  I did not remove any length.  My girls tend to have longer torsos so the length of the size 5 ended up being just right.  I turned the bottom edge up 1/2 inch twice.

I love the shirt so much that I am tempted to make a nautical inspired dress to match the blouse.

When we first introduced the Croquet Dress, I made a nautical version for S also using ribbons as stripes, and here is another great example of the ribbon stripe nautical touch on the dress. I love the idea of making the dress into a blouse, which gives you more mileage from the pattern. Maybe you’ll be inspired to try something similar is your sewing!




  1. Mel

    Wow, not even 5AM and you’re posting!
    Great job Sarah! I still love this and her little pose is great! I can’t get enough of white and khaki.

  2. sarvi

    Love this version! So fresh in white.

  3. It is lovely Sarah so classic but very very sweet!

  4. This pattern is perfect for nautical interpretations! Actually I’m having a hard time finding a fabric combo for this pattern, because I always go back to the nautical theme 🙂
    Sarah’s version is so beautiful and timeless! (and she has the perfect little model as well :))

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