Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Vogue 2859 - the Blouse

Vogue 2859 is a 1935 design for an outfit: slip dress, blouse and jacket.  It's rather swish!  Here's what the outfit is supposed to look like - the blouse is what interested me initially:

The back-of-the-envelope figure thingo says this outfit flatters "inverted triangle" or "hourglass" figures; I assume I didn't notice when I bought the pattern, because I distinctly remember thinking the blouse would suit a small shoulders, small bust kind of shape.  I don't think I'd really paid attention either to the fact that the pattern is rated "Advanced/Plus Difficile".

Anyway, here's my finished blouse (with my Anne Klein pants):


Now that I see it on I can understand the figure recommendations, but that's too bad. Actually I think it looks like a 70s blouse, but maybe that's just the print on the fabric, a slinky thin material that I bought last year at Lincraft. This fabric looked like it would drape nicely, and be good practice for me in sewing with slippery fabric.  Also it was kind of cheap and I had twice as much as needed, so not disastrous to mess up.  

Based on my measurements and minimum wearing ease (ie waist: +2.5cm, bust: +7.5cm) I graded up a size at the waist, and otherwise my only change was to extend the blouse about 5cm below the waist line in a sort of straight peplum.

I think this blouse really needs a drapey, slippery fabric, and that's part of the sewing difficulty. There are only really bodice front and back pieces plus the single layer belt, but the instructions are confusing in a few places (the construction of the twisted collar, for one, plus unexpected darts on the shoulders), and the blouse would be vastly improved by loads of hand sewing in lieu of rolled hems.  I do think it's an attractive and unusual garment though, even if it would be better on someone curvier.

And finally, have a look what a google image search on '1930s ideal figure' turned up: a picture of a newspaper insert from the 1930s, showing the then Hollywood ideal! And bear in mind that 1930s fashion was heavily influenced by Hollywood...

If the change in ideals from the 1920s to 1930s interests you, also have a look at this interesting article from a 1937 issue of Physical Culture magazine - lots of nutty raving about the benefits of sun bathing, but everyone was keen to look healthy and curvy after the Depression years.


  1. Yay - I think that I have Gloria Swanson's wrist!

  2. Oh I just checked, and so do I! It's pretty crazy to have all these measurements, isn't it! I wonder if 5'4" was tall back then?


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