The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle

A Frustrating 40's Retro Blouse Pattern

     Every so often I happen to pick a pattern to make, only to find it makes me want to throw it in a corner out of exasperation.  As long as this occurs "every so often" I can see it as a challenge and make the best of things.  This subject brings me to admit how a new (as of this spring/summer) Simplicity "Vintage 40's" blouses pattern was trouble hidden by a very enticing envelope drawing.   

     Don't get me wrong - I really like my blouse and have worn it plenty of times already.  It's just every time I wear it, I am a bit self-conscious that it really looks stupid.  For some strange reason, though, I like it enough to want to wear it and even make the pattern again, in the long sleeve version, with my fore-known adjustments in mind. 

     It's actually the perfect easy wear, easy care top to take me through the summer...easy to accessorize and pink to make it girly!


FABRIC:  a cotton blend crinkled gauze fabric, which has intermingled stripes of light pink, tan, and coral against a white background.  Not only is this fabric lightweight and cool, but it can never wrinkle (it already is!) and needs no ironing.  I'm considering my fabric free as it has been in my stash as long as I can remember

NOTIONS:  I had the thread, buttons, trim for button loops, and hem tape on hand already; I merely bought a pink zipper  (from Wal-Mart) for the side closure

PATTERN:  Simplicity 1692, re-released 2013, view D (it's their 85th Anniversary pattern)

TIME TO COMPLETE:  this blouse took only 3 hours or less, and it was finished on May 18, 2013

THE INSIDES:  there only the two side seams, well 1 1/2 not counting the zipper, and these were done in French seams.  The French seams seemed like the perfect idea because the gauze fabric seemed fragile and frayed a lot.  However, using that kind of seam made it harder for me to get the right curve for the sleeves, which tend to gather together a bit under my armpit.  Tan colored hem tape covers all other seams: the bottom hem, the sleeve bands, and around the zipper.  See picture below.

      When cutting out this pattern, I went down a size for the bust and cut my (apparent) correct size for the waist and hips.  I also simplified the pattern by eliminating those crazy shaped facings and doubling up the blouse instead.  Two of each piece, sewn at the shoulder seams, then stitched right sides together all along the neckline and around the button plackets. I did this exact same thing for my 1940 Bed Sheet Swing Dress.  I had just enough fabric to cut all 4 pieces on the fold, with the selvedges meeting at the center of the width.  Here again, I love the smooth, uncomplicated finishing of doing some patterns this way, especially when it comes to the guarantee of not having to have my project ending up see through;)

     My main complaints about this blouse are threesome and are easily fixed with some adjustments to the pattern.

1.)  The finished blouse turned  Next time I will re-draw the pattern.  I know that 'poufy' look is more authentic, but I can only tolerate so much with out feeling like I'm making myself seem bigger than I really am.  A few inches were taken in inside along the bust area and down to where the darts end.  Doing this helped with the fit but I can't take it in any more, otherwise I pull my blouse out when it's tucked in a skirt.  This problem has do with number...

2.)  I should have lengthened the blouse so I DON'T have to constantly tuck my blouse in when I'm active.

3.)  The waist and the hips turned out quite snug.  Any tighter and I would have had to grudgingly unpick my stitches.  Luckily, I didn't have to do this step, but the hips are tight enough to make my side zipper open up as I'm wearing this blouse.  Next time I will either add some inches to the side seams or sew the darts smaller widthwise.

     I am proud of the button placket of this blouse.  It's one of the saving features along with the cute and unusual U-shaped neckline.  I used some buttons from my inherited stash - but only had 4 of the color I liked so I only put in two on each side instead of the three on each side as the pattern directs.

      It's funny how I think of button shoulder fashions being primarily a 50's thing.  Maybe it's merely because of the button-shouldered "Betty's Style" 1957 Border Print Dress which I made last year.  This Simplicity 1692 has made me rethink my ideas - I guess I have some past decades mixed up in my head. Nevertheless, in my pictures wearing the white linen skirt, I played with a 50's style (headband and French twist hair)and I think it turned out.  Maybe with the right hat or a scarf/Victory roll I can make it look more authentic for the 40's, as it properly should. 

     Oh well! At least I'm enjoying my blouse.  Playing with fashion while learning from it is quite fun.


      Above: blouse un-tucked.

     As you can see, I've worn my button-shouldered blouse with a tan skirt and a white skirt.  It even matches with a coral colored linen skirt and a dark brown skirt.  Even though this might not be my favorite top, it wins me over with its versatility!




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