#vintagepledge 50’s wraparound blouse.

This is my second make for my Vintage pledge made earlier in the year. I pledged that I would make five garments from vintage patterns mainly from those given to me earlier in the year. You can read my original pledge and how it came about here. However I have to confess I don’t think I will achieve my goal. We are so close to the end of the year now and my sewing attention has turned to Christmas gifts and party outfits. Though my party outfits could consist of vintage makes, I have opted for speedy makes from patterns that are closer to my size than some in my vintage selection.

I have re-sized the other three styles that I was going to make and still plan to make them all. I really enjoy making vintage patterns, its amazing to see how some techniques have changed and also how patterns have been designed in different eras.

This is a pattern I bought from the amazing online shop The vintage pattern shop which I discovered when I was looking for 1940’s patterns last year for an event I was going to. I had lots of fun making and wearing my 1940’s outfit.

The patterns they sell are copies of originals. I know original patterns are a thing of beauty and copies less so, however these patterns definitely have all the pieces and are copied onto heavyweight paper making them very usable. You still get transported to a different era while you make your item of clothing because the images, pattern pieces and instruction are literally copied.

We all know dressmaking patterns are not always the kindest when it comes to sizing, as a rule of thumb I think you often need to cut one to two sizes larger than your average ‘shop’ size. Vintage patterns are generally far worse. This pattern is labelled a size 16, however the bust measurement is 36″ which I would say was more realistic for a modern day size 12 or 14, which isn’t the worst but I have used one that was size 18 with a 34″ bust!! Many vintage patterns especially from earlier eras are single sized.

My first task was to spend some time with the tape measure deciding how much ease I wanted. I like wrap around styles but they can be a bit tricky with a larger bust, there is always a danger of showing a lot of cleavage, which is not for me. This style has a batwing sleeve which makes it fairly easy to adjust in the width.

I like the style on this pattern with the collar, however I decided to opt for the collarless one first to see how it went and whether I liked the style. The toile went really well, I was very pleasantly surprised how well covered the front was, definitely no fear of cleavage at all and no need for a vest top underneath either.

I used a soft peach viscose fabric for this blouse. It has tucks at the neck edge and gathers at the lower front edge so I wanted a fabric which was soft and drapey. The front neck edge has a grown on neck facing which gives a nice streamlined finish. The back neck has a separate facing which neatly finishes the shoulder joining point.

One unusual feature of this pattern is two small darts at the back sleeve. I have seen this on coat and jacket patterns but I don’t think I’ve seen this on a blouse pattern before.

The lower edge of the blouse is faced and finished with a tie belt. I did manage to stitch the facing on upside down which I only discovered after I had understitched!! There was a few swear words muttered.

The tie belt neatly holds the front neck facing and hem facing in place and finishes the garment. I wore it here with some self drafted linen trousers which I will share soon. The one thing I hadn’t thought about was just how cropped it is, though it looks OK while standing up as soon as I bend over I have a bit of exposed midriff which I don’t like. I think the answer is to make some high waisted trousers or wear with a dress or other all in one style. Because I haven’t sorted this solution out yet the blouse remains unworn in the wardrobe!


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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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