As recounted in my previous post, I attempted to make a wearable muslin of Simplicity 2151. I fell in love with the neckline, so it was supposed to be the first blouse I would perfect the fit of in my Vintage Separates Project. And when it was complete, it did fit beautifully; but unfortunately, with the fabric I chose, I was just NOT willing to wear it. It was an “unwearable muslin,” if you will.
Well, two of my delightful readers came to my rescue with suggestions on how to save it.
They identified the two main problems with the blouse: the sleeves and the lack of contrast. And although I did not fix the blouse with their exact suggestions, I did address the problems they noted. And now my “unwearable” muslin is wearable!
First, a refresher on the sad state of affairs before the fix:
And here is the new version!
Here’s the whole outfit:
Let me share how this transformation came to be.
After my readers weighed in, I went searching for inspiration on my Vintage Style Pinterest board and found it in the form of this picture:
The Pinterest pin is not so very different from my unwearable muslin, so I went about tucking and pinning my sad blouse until I had something I thought would work. Then I began to sew.
The changes I made:
- Sleeves: The sleeves looked too full at the top (more so on me than on the dress form) and more suited to the prairie than the vintage look I had in mind. Part of the problem was that the shoulders were too wide. I took those in by ripping the armhole seam from dot to dot, trimming the bodice from dot to dot, then reattaching the sleeves. I also hacked off the sleeves and hemmed them.
- Contrast: The blouse suffered from a serious lack of contrast, so I changed out the clear buttons from my stash for some vintage blue buttons that were recently acquired. They came from an intact button card with great graphics of a man’s suit. It killed me to use them, but that’s what they’re for.
- Hem: I changed the hem to a V-shape (to echo the neckline) so the blouse would look like it was supposed to be worn with the hem outside.
- Pockets: I added some fun pocket details. Since the button card had two sizes of buttons, I used the larger ones on the pockets.
The change I didn’t make:
I had also planned to shorten the 30-inch skirt to 28 or 26 inches (just below knee length on me) to be more in line with the mid-1940s, but I had done so much work redoing the blouse that I was out of gas when it came to redoing the skirt and lining hems!
The change I still need to make:
I still want to change the two buttons that close the skirt to the same buttons on the blouse (I have four left), but that’s for another evening.
This disappointing project turned out to be a good exercise in transforming a garment. It turned out to be really fun to change a top that I wouldn’t wear into one that I will. It feels pretty powerful to have those kinds of skills.
Since I have perfected the fit of this princess-seamed blouse, it has many future possibilities (a sweetheart neckline comes to mind), but I’m not sure how I’d style the sleeves in a nicer fabric. Meanwhile, I just received Sense & Sensibility Patterns’ Romantic Blouse pattern. The short sleeve version looks like a great 1940s blouse, as shown by Katrina of Edelweiss Patterns. So that will become a (hopefully) wearable muslin some time soon.
Next up: I think it’s time to move on from wearable muslins to my first quality garment for my Vintage Separates Project: a simple navy poly-wool blend version of the A-line skirt. But first I think I need to take in the waistband an inch. It’s always something.