Wearing History – Smooth Sailing Blouse

Inspired by Bobo_Bun and a few other Vintage costume lovers on Instagram I checked out the patterns on the Wearing History Patterns site. I came across a delightful blouse and trousers set.

Inspired by looks from the mid 1930s to the early 1940s this pattern is a perfect capsule wardrobe for vintage basics. These basics can easily time travel to the 1950s or modern wear. The blouse is dressy enough to pair with skirts and casual enough for jeans. It has short puffed sleeves and the cuffs are cut on the bias.

The trousers can be cuffed or uncuffed and can be dresses up or down. Cutting lines are included to make the trousers into shorts and matching playsuits with blouse and shorts in the same fabric look picture perfect for Summer vintage looks. Trousers hit at a high natural waist and have release tucks at the front and fitted to the back with darts.

For this trial run I wanted to make the blouse and used the remnants from a Superking-sized duvet cover that was originally used for two dresses. I had to play around with the direction of the stripes, cut the yoke with a centre back seam and also cut the pockets and collar in the contrast floral print. All the yoke, collar, pockets and sleeve cuffs were cut in the fashion fabric and interlined with plain White poly/cotton lawn to avoid ‘show thru’ of stripes to the top fabric.

The first changes that I made to the pattern were to round off the corners of the collar. I thought that the sharp acute angles did not suit the floral nature of the print used for the collar. To reflect this change I rounded the corners of the pockets as they were also cut in the floral print.

I had cut a size 49 for the bust grading out to 54 for the hips but quickly discovered that I did not need the extra at the hips if I removed the tucks front and back.

I stitched all the seams (including setting in the sleeves) with French seams as I wanted the blouse to reflect the sewing methods of the period. This added bulk at the lapel where the facing of the yoke joined the facing on the body of the blouse. I will be making the garment again but next time will draft a separate all-in-one front facing.

I did not use a bias strip to neaten the inside collar edge. Instead I opted for my usual method and turned in the seam allowance and top stitched in place.

I was a little disappointed in the volume of the sleeves. Mine have come up very large and do not look like those pictured on the internet.

Next time I will be adjusting the fullness to provide a closer fit at the cuff.

Conclusion: I enjoyed making the blouse and think it looks effective in the stripes/floral combination. I will be making another in a 40’s style ditsy floral cotton print and also plan to make the trousers to complete the vintage look.

Project #64 completed 28th September 2021