Tag Archives: 1940s

Mood board: A blouse from Butterick’s 5846 dress pattern

I fell in love with a pretty blue and green print from DS Quilts in the quilt fabric section of Jo-Ann’s a few months ago. I was disappointed to discover that there wasn’t enough yardage left for a dress.

Several weeks later, it occurred to me to make a blouse instead. Fortunately, the fabric was still available. And since I’d successfully made a beautiful teal and navy shirtdress from Butterick 5846, I decided it would be the perfect pattern.

The bodice lines are very reminiscent of blouses from the 1930s and 1940s, so I think it will be a good match for the vintage-looking print. Here’s the mood board:

I think this will make a great blouse.

How adorable is this fabric? The navy blue buttons are vintage. The olive green thread is for top-stitching.

The fabric is a little heavy but nice and soft. It’s not ideal for a blouse, but I hope it will be OK. And since I’ve already fit the pattern, it should be a quick project.

Vintage 1940s hair pins

After seeing a sweet little vintage card of hair pins in a roundup post of fun Etsy finds on the Swing Fashionista blog, I fell in love.

I tried not to buy it. Really I did.

Oh well.

Here it is:

I think you can see why I couldn't resist them. The image on the card is gorgeous!

I think you can see why I couldn’t resist it. The image on the card is gorgeous 1940s goodness.

Now it lives on the dressing table-like area of my bathroom, with a couple of other vintage goodies.

Apparently, I now have a collection of vintage dressing table items. The talc on the left is empty. The one on the right is full be sealed shut by rust.

Apparently, I now have a collection of vintage dressing table items. The talc container on the left is empty. The one on the right is full but sealed shut by rust. The hair pins have some rust, so I consider everything you see here purely decorative.

I got the card from the Covetable Curiosities shop on Etsy. Mine was listed as “1 available,” but the store has another one up for sale, also listed as “1 available.” With a quick Google search, a few more show up on eBay as ended or current. It doesn’t seem to be terribly rare, but it is awfully pretty.

 

Sneak preview

My current project has reached the point that I think it’s going to come out well. So, it’s time to share a sneak preview of the crazy technique I am trying for the first time.

I am making an adjustment to Simplicity 3688.

I am making an adjustment to Simplicity 3688.

Can you tell what’s happening here? Hint: It’s an unusual zipper closure. The technique is in Sandra Betzina’s book Power Sewing Step by Step.

The full reveal is maybe a week away.

~ Jmt

The “unwearable” muslin is saved!

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:

Here’s the finished blouse. Dowdy! The sleeves are all wrong, and there’s no contrast.

The dowdiness is only exacerbated when the blouse is paired with the matching skirt. So sad!

And here is the new version!

This has much more of the 1940s vibe I was going for. I still LOVE the neckline.

Here’s the whole outfit:

So much better, isn’t it? It would be really snappy in rayon.

Let me share how this transformation came to be.

After my readers weighed in, I went searching for inspiration on my Vintage Style Pinterest boardThen 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.

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