The Secretary Blouse Pattern – An Effortless And Elegant Project

cThis is the secretary blouse pattern, an effortless and elegant weekend project.  It's a simple design with a long history, but I won't go over it on this occasion.  I am having one of the worst cases of flu I have ever had, so I need to make this tutorial a little shorter than usual.

This secretary blouse has a bow at the neckline that doubles as a scarf to keep you warm while adding a wonderful detail of elegance.

secretary blouse pattern

There's a vent at the neck so you do not have to deal with buttons or zippers.

secretary blouse pattern

Elastic at the wrists to keep the sleeves from getting in the way.

secretary blouse pattern

Gathers at the shoulders to keep with the current trend.

secretary blouse pattern


  • 1 1/2 -2 yards of 60″ lightweight woven fabric (satin, rayon, charmeuse, printed batiste, silk back crepe)
  • Thread to match
  • 18″ to 21″ of 3/8″ or 1/2″ wide elastic
  • 12 to 14″ of 1 3/8″ wide bias tape (depends on size)


  • Sewing machine
  • Overlocker
  • Scissors
  • Pins

Fabric Suggestions Available on Amazon

How To Download Your Secretary Blouse Pattern?

We're going to continue to use the new Payhip web store to distribute our patterns.  As most readers know, Craftsy has changed a lot and they have stopped designers like us from publishing new patterns on their site, so we've had to move to another service.

Our patterns are still free, but now you now have the option of making a small contribution if you like our work! We'd really appreciate it and it will help is keep going with new and fun designs like this. Even a dollar or two really goes a long way.

Thanks so much in advance for helping us out.  You can use any credit card and you don't need a Paypal account, although you can use one if you have one.

Download Pattern HERE

Pattern Layoutsecretary blouse pattern

Sewing Skill: Intermediate

Intermediate means you can follow the instructions with no guidance, you have an undertanding of garment constructions but do not know the advance tailoring techniques.

Overall, this blouse is very easy to make. If you have done any of our previous blouse projects, you'll find this one pretty simple. But even if this is your first time sewing a blouse this is a great pattern to start with.

Fitting Your Secretary Blouse Pattern

I'm going to copy the same instructions that I gave in the office hours blouse pattern since the same things apply here:

The first thing you should understand about pattern making is that there are seven different sizing tables in use at the moment around the world.  So the chances of you not having to make adjustments to your patterns are very small.

This blog is read in 144 different countries so S M L XL 2XL differs from country to country.  I have done my best to share with you patterns that you can use, however, you may need to make adjustments to the pattern as you see fit.

The secretary blouse pattern is a semi-fitted blouse, meaning there should be 3 to 4 inches of room to move around, and it is best for the hourglass figure, rectangle and triangle figure.  You will find that the bust and the hip measurements are the same.

Measure the length of the pattern to see if you will be happy with the length.

Measure your bust, and compare it with the finished garment measurements leaving room for ease.

For Size XL and 2XL measure your bicep and compare it to the sleeve to make sure you have enough room for your arm.

The most important detail in this blouse is that the shoulder seam is actually at your shoulder.  So before you cut the fabric measure your shoulder and compare it with the pattern and make sure you choose the right size for your body.

Finished Measurements

  S M L XL 2XL
Bust 38″ 43″ 46 1/2″ 50″ 54″
Length 25 1/2″ 26 1/4″ 27″ 27 3/4″ 28 1/2″
Hips 38″ 43″ 46 1/2″ 50″ 54″

How To Make Your Secretary Blouse

Step One:  Making The Slit And Gathering The Front

Slash the front of the top ” to 7″, depending on your taste.

secretary blouse pattern secretary blouse patternsecretary blouse patternApply a bias tape on the opening, I am using an off white color for the purpose of this tutorial.  My preference would be to make a bias tape of the same fabric as the blouse.

Working on the right side of the fabric, open the bias tape and sew on the first crease of the tape fold and sew again using a stay on the ditch technique.

secretary blouse patternGather the front using the proper way to gather fabric technique.

secretary blouse pattern

Concentrating the gathers close to the slit, spread the gather 2 1/2″ from the edge.

secretary blouse pattern

Step Two:  Sewing The Front And Back

Right side together, sew the blouse at the shoulders then serge.

secretary blouse pattern

Step Three:  Attaching The Sleeves

The sleeves are very similar to the office blouse including the elastic at the wrists. All the gathers will be concentrated two inches from the shoulder seam.  Attach the sleeve to the blouse and sew at 5/8″.

secretary blouse pattern

Sew the sleeves from the wrist to the armhole to the side all the way to the hem.

secretary blouse patternStep Four:  Adding The Bow Tie

Lay the fabric in a single layer, the selvage will be on the and bottom.

secretary blouse pattern

Fold the fabric bringing the right corner to the top selvage.

secretary blouse pattern

Cut a bias tape 40″ long and 10 ” wide on the double.

secretary blouse pattern

Sew the bias strip at 5/8″.  Iron the seam allowance.secretary blouse pattern

Fold the band lengthwise and mark the center.  Pin the center C to the center back of the blouse (print sides together) and sew from the center to point A.  Then sew from the center to point B.

secretary blouse pattern

This part is a bit tricky.  Sew the band from the tip to the neckline all the way to the shoulder seam. Turn the band right side out. Repeat on the other side.

All that's left now is to sew the neckline.  I prefer to close it using a needle and thread using a whip stitch.

Step Five:  Adding The Elastic And Making The Hem

Add the elastic to the sleeves as we did in the office blouse. Hemming this blouse will depend on what type of fabric you are using. I serged the bottom and folded the hem once. There are other ways to do this please check this tutorial for your own knowledge.

How to Hem Sheer or Lightweight Fabrics

Thank you for taking the time to check out this Secretary blouse pattern.  Many people seem to like making the blouses so I think I will make one in cotton voile with polka dots pattern for the upcoming video.  If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below and I will address them in the video.

See you next time, and Happy Sewing!

Our Other Amazing Blouses

If you're still in the mood for making blouses, check out our other two!

The Office Hours Blouse Pattern

The Office Hours Blouse Pattern – Elegance Made Easy

The Easy Pleated Blouse

The Easy Pleated Blouse Called Eve: Any Day, Everywhere

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58 Responses to The Secretary Blouse Pattern – An Effortless And Elegant Project

  1. SHEILA MINOR says:

    Here in the U.S. there is one day a year usually in April called National Secretary Day. Over 25 years ago was changed to National Administrative Assistant Day to remove the stigma of the word secretary. Not sure why but that’s what happened.

    During my 31 years of work I began as a secretary and spent the last 20 as an executive. I would call this blouse pattern the career blouse. Modern day admin assistants don’t usually dress in a blouse like this unless there is a special occasion. I wore a suit every day with a blouse such as this one. Just my opinion.

  2. Jamilia Jospeh-Francis says:

    This is so sweet, thank you. I have always loved this top. Please do all in your power to get well soon.

  3. Dorothy A Steward says:

    I really like a lot of your patterns, but don’t like putting my card on line,is there a phone number can use.? Thank you

  4. Kathy says:

    Let yourself rest A LOT!!!! Get well soon!!!!

  5. Wendy Anne Johnson says:

    Hi Moira, I hope you’re feeling much better, real flu is very debilitating. I’m a bit confused how the tie is fitted and how it looks on the inside….could you please add more detail….many thanks, Wendy

  6. Melanie Clark says:

    Thank you for the beautiful pattern. It looks like something I could do. Please take some time off and rest.

  7. Debra says:

    Nice blouse! Reminds me of the ones I used to wear in the office in the 70’s, but is timeless and classy. Thx for the reminder of just how elegant this style is!
    Hope you’re feeling well soon and thx for sharing even when you’re under the weather.

  8. Sherry Halladay says:

    Thank you, and hope you are feeling much better very soon!

  9. Dara says:

    Thank you Myra. This is Beautiful! Please take Time to get well!

  10. LoW206 says:

    Praying a health and quick recovery for you (having the flu is NOT fun!)

  11. Barbara Bodó says:

    Very, very good 😀 thank you very much!

  12. Patricia Smith says:

    Hi Mayra
    Is it possible for you to answer my question about the width of the scarf on the secretary blouse? I have been on hold with my pattern for 2 days.

  13. Patricia Smith says:

    Hi Mayra
    Thank you for answering my question about the length of the neck scarf but how wide should I make this?

  14. Patricia Smith says:

    Hi Mayra, how long and wide do I make the neck scarf. It does not say in the pattern and I want to cut it correctly. Thanks again for a great pattern!!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Patricia, I have cut two strips of 36″ in length and joined them at the back leaving the stitching line at the back. Thank you for reaching out. Kind Regards,

  15. Patricia Smith says:

    Hi Mayra,
    I just found this pattern, however it will not load for me so I can print it out. Is this pattern still available? Please let me know
    Thanks Patricia

  16. Linda Wheeler says:

    Hi. Thank you so much for the pattern. It is lovely! I am struggling with the tie. I doesn’t seem to be as long as what is shown in the picture and I don’t understand how to fold the tie in half and sew it to the neckline. The tie should be pointed but folded in half, the edges to not meet? Am I missing something?

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Linda, if the tie is not long enough it is because you need to cut the fabric twice. when you fold the fabric to make a bias strip there will be two layers. 40″ per side. On Step Four are the instructions.

  17. Lise says:

    Hi Mayra, this is such a beautiful blouse but I’m stuck on making the bow tie and it’s application to the blouse. Could you suggest a video where it’s explained in a bit more detail? Thanks for all your hard work.

  18. Cici Arsenault says:

    such a cute blouse!

  19. GreenDoor says:

    I just downloaded the pattern and am excited to try it. BUT I tried to pay for the pattern and the box that came up to enter my email wouldn’t let me click in it. So I delted the purcase and tried again without paying anything and was able to download it fine. Just wanted to let you know in case you have other people willing to send some money your way who might be having trouble completing the purchase.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      HI, the price need to change from zero to the amount you would like to donate before you press download. Next time 🙂 do share the final product in social media and with your friends that is another way to spread the love for the site. Thank you for reading so-sew-easy you could be anywhere else, so thank you!

  20. Lesa says:

    How much bias tape is needed? The instructions above the state 18 to 21 inches and the printed pattern states 24 to 28 inches and a hook and eye closure. Which one is correct?

  21. barbara says:

    thanks for the nice pattern ,and regards from netherlands. barbara.

  22. Susan says:

    I’m sorta confused on the application of the tie to the neckline. Are you going to make a tutorial on it?

  23. Lesa says:

    Has anyone tried to put the pattern pieces together? I printed it out and I don’t see a red line on pattern pieces seven, eleven or twelve for the side seam on the back piece. Also, my pattern pieces are not matching up exactly even though my 2-inch square test was correct.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Lesa, this is printing issue I can assure you. Check your printer settings and make sure the paper is stacked correctly.

  24. Ivlia says:

    Looks great, and goes up to my size. Internet problems mean I can’t download any images at present but they will keep. Even better, I suspect that cut shorter and with a skirt added this will make a fabulous alternative to the ubiquitous shirt waisted dresses I am currently sewing. I look forward to trying the pattern.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      yes I do like it with a skirt right below the knee would be my preference since I am only 5’1″. Hope to see your take on this pattern.

  25. Lesa says:

    This is such a pretty blouse. I’m definitely going to get it! It will be my first pattern from your website. I’m a little concerned because I don’t see any darts. Do we have to add darts?

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      HiLesa, no darts. This is why you need to use a very fluid fabric that when it hangs take the curve of your body. If the difference between your chest and waist is larger than 8″ you could add a couple of darts. But you need to finish the blouse before deciding to do that.

  26. Angela Sciurca says:

    Just seeing the picture brought back 50 years of memories. I can’t tell you how many of the Secretary blouses I had and wore with pride. When I walked into my office you’d think I was walking the Red Carpet. I imagined everyone was saying ” How Beautiful” and” How I Knew How To Dress brilliantly” .When I retired I gave away 200 blouses to an Old Age Home. The ladies were thrilled to see such lovely garments I must have made at least 150 of them myself. Thanks for the MEMORIES..

  27. SashieGirl says:

    You know, I saw this pattern and I thought I have a ton of secretarial type blouse patterns from the big 3 pattern makers, why get this one? But as I looked at the instructions and pictures I realize that this one is so much more stylish and I like the one piece front design. Gotta have it. 🙂 Thank you so much for your lovely patterns.

  28. Laura S says:

    At the beginning of the instructions for “make the slit” you say “Slash the front of the top ” to 7″, depending on your taste.” Can you please tell me the minimum you can cut it? That number got left out. I’m excited to try making this because it looks nice and doesn’t seem too hard. I hope you feel better!

  29. margie cook says:

    thank you so much! your design is an answer to my prayers. I have benn looking for a blouse pattern that had long sleeves,bow at neck, and no buttons or zippers. I have looked every where. couldn’t find it. I know that I made several along time ago, but I can’t find the pattern. two of my granddaugthers are learning to sew and this is the blouse they described to me. its not too hard and they wanted something more complacted but not too. just to let you know that you are a wonderful influence for sewing and how much apprecated you are. thanks again.get well soon!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Thank you Margie, I think your granddaughters have great taste. This is a blouse to feel like a million dollars, tasteful classy and sexy. I am very happy you find inspiration here, more importantly, that you are passing it on to the next generation.

  30. j. gold says:

    Was wondering how I might size this down to a 32″ bust … any suggestions?

  31. GLeah says:

    Omg!! I’ve been looking for a secretary blouse pattern like this for SO long. You are seriously the best Mayra! Thank you for providing us with these trendy, current patterns. I hope you feel better soon -get lots of rest!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      My pleasure! Leah, I am laying on my bed answering the comments which are my favorite part of writing the blog! I am hoping to see your take on these patterns.

  32. Marianne says:

    Hi, the secretary blouse is my first pattern from So-Sew-easy. I have one question. Is the seam allowance included in the pattern? And if so – how much is it? I could not find that information.
    Thanks in advance for an answer.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi Marianne, the seam allowance is not included, I used a 5/8″ because my fabric is silk back crepe and this fabric ravels so easy, had I used a smaller seam allowance I would have a hard time sewing the pieces together. Please make sure you have read the other posts to support the constructions of this blouse.

  33. Joi says:

    BEAUTIFUL!!! Nice for any time you really want to get away from casual attire. I get tired of t-shirt styles.

  34. Pam says:

    Ahhh….OK 😉 Now i see that what i first thought was some sort of white ‘loop’ at the CF neckline… is actually a bias-bound CF slit…done in contrast for instructive value! 🙂 You’d think that after 40+ years of professional sewing/design experience I’d have a better sense of these things! (and…thanks for another nice pattern)

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