Ava Peplum Blouse by Victory Patterns

Have you heard of Victory Patterns? They have a ton of super cute patterns that can be purchased by PDF or paper copy. I really want to try them all, but I decided to start with the Ava dress/peplum top. I began this project with the mindset that there was no way I could make something that resembled what the model was wearing even slightly. I used some super cheap cotton swiss dot fabric I found at Hancock to make what I predetermined would be my “wearable” muslin. It wrinkles like crazy, but I really like the mint color. I actually purchased this fabric to make the Colette Jasmin.I even had the pattern cut out and ready to go. Now I need to find something else for it!

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Not too shabby! It has some issues, but I keep telling myself it was just for practice and it makes me feel a whole lot better!

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I think my favorite detail are these cute little pleated cap sleeves. The seam is finished with bias tape made with the same fabric after the cap sleeve is attached. This makes for a clean finish, but I don’t love the visible stitching on the outside. I tried my hardest to go slow and be careful, but the seam was a little bulky making it more difficult to keep it looking pretty.

Also, see the space between my neckline pleats and the sleeves? That’s not supposed to be there. I thought I did a good job marking my pleat lines, but I guess I wasn’t careful enough. The pattern does state to make sure each pleat is a ½ inch. I should have stopped and measured. I didn’t really realize the pleats were supposed to meet the sleeve until it was finished. I would be a whole lot happier with this top if I wouldn’t have messed this up. It just kinda makes the pleated sweetheart neckline look even more funny. Oh well….next time!

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I love the pleats on the back. It’s not as obvious that my pleats aren’t right on the back.

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Adding the pleats to the sweetheart neckline was tricky. It was hard to see the exact center to pivot once you had it under the needle. I re-did the neckline a few times and it looks a little bit better than the first, but it’s definitely far from perfect. If I were to make this pattern with this same fabric again, I would just leave out the sweetheart neckline altogether. This would be easy to do. You would just tape the upper bodice and lower bodice together making sure you overlap by 5/8ths to take out the seam allowance. I think the whole pleated sweetheart neckline just looks funny since the whole top is made out of the same fabric instead of contrasting fabric like the examples with the pattern show.

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I tried it on before attempting the zipper and I was able to get it on easily over my head. It’s more fitted on the model than it is on me, but I knew I wanted to wear a belt with it so I decided to skip the zipper. It still doesn’t look too terribly big on me without the belt unless you compare it to the model.

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All things considered, I’m pretty happy with my wearable muslin. The only thing tricky about this pattern is the sweetheart neckline, but I think I can perfect this with some practice. I LOVE the peplum styling and I just can’t get over how cute the sleeves are. I can envision a million things I would love to do with this pattern. A contrasting yoke with or without pleats, attaching the upper and lower bodices together to make one pattern piece, a dress…sooooo many options. I love Shona Stitch’s black and white Ava peplum  and Jo’s silk peplum. Sew I thought made a gorgeous floral Ava dress. I do have something special in mind, but it’s super summery so I guess it will just have wait until next year.

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I wore my Ava top to the Farmer’s Market last Saturday. We stopped at this cute little place called Macaroon Boutique and got the most amazing croissants. They were hot out of the oven and so delicious! I love going to this place. It makes me feel like I’m in Paris. The owners speak broken English with a very heavy French accent, so you know they are the REAL deal. When I walked in he had a dog begging at his feet. He said, “Please wait one second, my dog is waiting for his croissant” (you totally just read that in a French accent, didn’t you….hahaha) He then spoke to his dog in French while he fed him. While I wouldn’t give Piper such a fattening treat, the whole scene just made me love this place even more.

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I then enjoyed my croissant with a coffee from CUP, the best coffee in Charleston. I promise I did not pose Piper in front of this sign. This cuteness is all her own doing. She really doesn’t have to try very hard.

Check out Victory Patterns when you get a chance! I think my next one to try will be the Nicola dress or Chloe dress.


  1. Your post came at the perfect time! I’m almost done with the Ava top, but I’m having so much trouble with the sweetheart neckline. Any suggestions? I guess I will keep at it so I will have a top as cute as yours! Thank you!!

    • I wish I had some magical trick for you, but I don’t have one! Try drawing or basting your stitching line and clearing mark your center so that you can see where you are under the needle. Pivoting at the center is key! I did what the directions tell you to do and clipped down to the stitching line at the center. You can’t really get the sweetheart shape unless you do this. If you figure something else out as you work on it please let me know!!! Good luck!

  2. I think this is adorable! Not sure how I missed this one, its a great little work top. The mint Swiss dot looks really good, I honestly don’t think the pleats are too bad. I think we tend to critique our own work a little more harshly since we know each little mistake we made as we construct things. Keep it, it looks really pretty on you!

  3. Great top! I love the shoulder pleats, they look super cool! Hadn’t even noticed them while looking at this pattern but now I really want to make one too! 🙂

  4. I’m impressed that you did the pleats! I must admit that when I saw that option on the pattern I thought I’d be too impatient to ever try it. Yours does make me think twice though…

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