“You Can’t Have Too Many Blouses”

My sentiments, exactly!  Whenever I start to question if I really need another blouse for casual wear, I remember this feature in the February/March 1954 Vogue Pattern Book Magazine. 










And while both casual and dressy blouses are shown in this 2-page spread, it just gives me more reason to love making blouses.  One of the aspects of a crisp cotton blouse which really appeals to me is how tidy they look, even when slightly wrinkled.  Knit tops, while comfortable and easy to wear (no ironing!) can, over time, sag and pull and cling.  Not so with fine quality cotton wovens.  They keep their shape, and they wear and wear and wear without looking worn out.  So is it any wonder I have added two more classic blouses to my summer wardrobe?

It always seems the process of making one of these blouses begins with Farmhouse Fabrics.  I see a fabric on their website I can’t live without, or one which is so classic, it begs my attention.  I know the quality will be superb, as that is what Farmhouse does.  So – two fabrics, which produced two very different looks from the same (old) pattern I have been using for quite a while.

The uneven plaid of the green and blue fabric posed some layout questions for me.  I even thought, briefly, of using the cross grain in order to balance that strong blue stripe, but once I saw a photo of it, I went back to the straight of grain.

Taking a photo of something always helps me make decisions. Those bold blue stripes on the horizontal made the fabric look completely different. The photo helped me determine which orientation would be best.

At that point it seemed logical to use that bold blue stripe for the center front and center back.

I used a spread collar for this blouse. I positioned the collar so the green blocks of the fabric would “point” to the green stripes to the right and left of center front.

The only way for the back yoke to look good was to place it on the bias.  I interfaced it so its stability would be intact.  I think this was a good solution for a situation where it would have been impossible to match plaids.

I will confess I had been looking for a narrow candy stripe, cotton shirting fabric (to pair, one day, with another fabric waiting its time!)  Peppermint stripe is another description often used for red stripes on white.  Both names tell you exactly what they are – red and white stripes of some variety.  There are a lot of wide candy stripes, or candy stripes with alternating widths of the red lines, but I had some difficulty finding a narrow-striped cotton.  So I grabbed it when I found it.

This blouse was very straightforward.  The only change I made from most of the previous blouses I have made from this old, altered pattern was to revert back to a pointed collar.

Here is the pattern which I have altered and used so many times.

I used 3/8” vintage pearl buttons for both blouses.  One really can’t go wrong with those.  And I used woven, non-fusible interfacing in the collars, cuffs, front facings and yokes.

I love this small 1950s silk neck scarf paired with this blouse.

Now I am thinking it is time to move on to another style of blouse and retire this pattern for a while.  Although I doubt I will ever have too many of these “men’s style” blouses, there are other ways of looking tidy and neat in a casual way.  Think I can do it?


Filed under Blouses, Buttons - choosing the right ones, Uncategorized

15 responses to ““You Can’t Have Too Many Blouses”

  1. Patricia Ross

    Hi Karen, love the classic blouses, you can’t go wrong with those. Crisp cotton always gives a polished look. I think you will still come back to this pattern. Regards Patricia

  2. Mary B.

    Well . . . I’m thinking I’m working on Fifty Blouses ’cause I love separates. Your new makes are wonderful. I always love seeing your posts.

  3. Pal K

    I love your posts so much. I love the thought and the stories that you put into every garment you post about.
    I aspire to the precision and detail.
    One day…..
    Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  4. Mery

    A blue plaid to match your sky, how perfect! A candy cane for now and to layer under a red sweater in winter.

    I’ve always managed to avoid most ironing, but I bought a Singer steam press on a super sale last winter, so now I’m keeping an eye out for flat things it will iron easily, and I’m planning to wear more linen. So I’m biased, but even if I weren’t I’d still vote for keeping this classic pattern in use because it works so well..

    By all means, make some other styles too, but I don’t think you should retire this pattern. Make at least one or two new ones per year just to have something new in this good style. As you noted, it always looks good. It’s good for an active lifestyle – gardening, Wyoming, etc., and it’ll be nice to have a new one or two each year. If you think you’re collecting too many because you’re not wearing the old ones completely out and they’re still too good for the ragbag, it’s easy to make a rectangular pillow for the daybed out of one shirt: it already has the buttons.

    Ah, it’s good to hear from you and to see you in that fresh Wyoming air in the summer. Have a beautiful rest of the summer.

  5. Heather Myers

    Very nice, and great use of the big plaid! It’s great to have style choices at your finger – I think you can do it!

  6. Heather Myers

    Spellchecker bites again… At your fingertips!

  7. Maria

    You can’t beat a button down shirt for a casual chic look. Pumps, decent jeans,a scarf, handbag & you’re good to go x

  8. deborinadel

    Helen—every time you post a new blouse you’ve made with this pattern, it makes me want to make something for myself. I just found it on eBay in my size. You’ve inspired me. Thanks!

  9. I wouldn’t retire this pattern, nope, never! Just give it a round collar next time, or change the back pleat to gathers, or go short sleeved. 😍

  10. Janet W Ryan

    Love seeing you in these pictures, along with your beautiful creations and that Wyoming sky of blue. Happy Summer, Karen!!

  11. Mery

    I meant to say one minor reason to keep using this classic pattern is it’s relatively easy to iron.

  12. Oh, I love a tailored blouse myself. The tailored look is appropriate for any age, for almost any occasion (even formal with a full-length black skirt, at least according to the celebs!). Not sure why I missed this post. Anyway, you look fantastic in the shirt!

  13. I couldn’t agree more, Karen – another lover of a blouse here also. They take up the majority of my wardrobe space, and also from a fabric point of view, make the fastest transition from purchase to make, and the least amount of time in my stash. As a result, I always feel particularly good when I purchase fabric intended for a shirt 🙂
    That green plaid in particular is my favourite, I haven’t come across such a large scale of the pattern before, and think it makes for an incredibly chic buttonup!
    On a side note, I’ve really missed reading your blog. I’ve kept telling myself that I’m going to go back to the point where I stopped and read it in timeline so I can catch up… but the time is never there, so instead I’m just going to catchup when I can go backwards until I remember what I last read! I hope you’ve been well… especially given the crazy year is been! x

    • Hi Mel, I’m surprised you have time to read anything with your beautiful growing girls to keep you very occupied! About those blouses – this summer has been so casual, with no place really to go, so cotton blouses have been my one way to try to look decent. I really like the way fabric can make the same pattern look so different.

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