Saturday, 3 September 2011

Simplicity 1403 (OOP): 1940s jersey blouse

Finally, finally I tried my hand at sewing one of my properly vintage patterns, a pattern which dates back to about the 1940s... back when zips were "non-separable slide fasteners".

The pattern envelope shows a couple of little cap-sleeved numbers that I really felt like sacrificing a little something special for.

Restraint! It also includes a 3/4 sleeved jersey variant in the top LH corner (did you know they had jersey in the 1940s? maybe it was different to today's jersey though).

Since the pattern looked to be a few sizes too small (this is a picture of the size I should have bought - now that I have it I see this pattern everywhere!) I made the jersey version as a tester - testing whether my usual slapdash bodice adjustment method* would work in vintage world. 

Et voila:

* Basically I added a triangular wedge of extra width down the centre front and centre back - just about nothing in extra width at the neckline but about 2cm extra at the hips. I know that's not the right way to do it but I'm lazy! 

Rear view, vintage hooks & eyes on the collar
I do realise that I must come across as optimistic in my assessment of patterns, but for now this one counts as a win. It takes me quite a while (and several wears) to work out which garments are fails, to be honest!  Looking at these photos my only disappointment is that my tummy is too evident - the fault of lots of home made brownies and choc chip biccies.

You say life without chocolate?
Look I promise I'll try!

Can you see any darts? I think I sewed 16 darts and tucks on this little thing, and it felt like even more. You should be able to see 6 of them below: 2 darts going down from the shoulders towards the bust, 4 tucks providing shaping from hips to waist... There are also 2 more bust darts working alongside the gussets, 2 darts from the shoulders going down along the sleeves, 2 darts from the shoulders down towards shoulder blades at the back, and 4 more tucks for waist definition at the back.

The biggest challenge for me was the gussets. Gussets! I don't believe I've ever sewn them before. My gussets are not perfect, but they work. I tried the sleeves basted to the bodice without the gussets and there was some very unflattering pulling going on, both front and back - having gussets makes the fit much more comfortable.

OK, it's true, gussets are great

sunbeam highlighting The Mighty Gusset

So... I'm glad I waited before sewing a vintage pattern. The instructions on this pattern (well, I really mean the gussets) would have been quite beyond me a year ago. Hopefully this means I am now capable of sewing up some of my other nice vintage patterns too!


  1. For a vintage pattern it looks very modern. Maybe because you chose black fabric? I've never attempted a vintage pattern myself...just lazy I guess!

  2. Wow! Love your blouse, watching it on you is hard to know what it is vintage, I guess if you wear it with a pencil skirt, the result will be another, demonstrating that this is a very versatile blouse!


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