Not Just an Everyday Blouse

Some blouses are worn A LOT.  Those are everyday blouses, and I have quite a few of those (with more to come, I am sure!)  And some blouses are worn infrequently, but equally loved for their unique properties.  These would include exceptional fabric, refined or formal appearance, limited wearing opportunity, or their ability to make a statement.  The blouse I most recently completed has all those properties. 

This deep pink silk charmeuse Jacquard has been in my fabric closet for over ten years, having been purchased at Britex Fabrics when I started sewing for myself again, way back when.  Its color, and the polka dot woven motif, both personal favorites, drew me to it.  A couple of years ago, after purchasing another piece of silk – a printed silk twill – I paired the two fabrics together and added them both to my sewing queue.  The skirt may have to wait until next year, but the blouse earned a spot in 2022’s sewing agenda.

Two fabrics meant for each other!

I used a blouse pattern which I have made once before.  From 1957, this pattern is timeless with its elegant collar (which looks good lying flat or propped up around the neck), petite French cuffs and feminine three-quarter length sleeves.  I suppose in 1957, this style blouse may have been considered a casual piece, which the illustrations on the pattern envelope suggest.  I saw this blouse as dressy, however, and that is how I have interpreted it. 

The collar on this blouse is beautifully engineered.
Here is the first blouse, in silk dupioni, I made from this pattern.

One of the details which make this blouse so flattering to wear is the waistline open-ended darts, easily visible above.  They minimize the bulk when the blouse is tucked inside its skirt and add a lovely billow effect above the waist. I made these darts a bit shallower than the pattern indicated.  When making these darts, I secured their upper edges by pulling the thread tail on one side to the other side so that I had the ability to knot those threads with three tight loops.  For those of you who have made a classic French jacket, this is the same method used to secure the quilting stitches at the end of the columns. The photo below helps to show this.

The darts are secured by knots done by hand both top and bottom.
Those open-ended darts are featured on the back of the bodice, too.

Buttons are such fun to select for a blouse like this.  I have had these vintage white pearl buttons for some time, and no doubt they were waiting for this project.  When the skirt is made at some point, the three-lobed profile will play off the designs in the silk twill.  But, more than that, I needed something to act as a foil for the polka-dotted field.  More “round” would have been fine, but not exciting.  Additionally, these buttons are a bit bigger which helps them hold their own on that deep, rich, pink silk.  

The French cuffs are secured by buttons both front and back.
Love those buttons!

Being the ‘statement” blouse that it is, I doubt I will be wearing this blouse casually. But I’m betting/hoping I will find good reason to wear it not infrequently to one or another tony event.  


Filed under Blouse patterns from the 1950's, Blouses, Buttons - choosing the right ones, Mid-Century style, Polka dots, sewing in silk, Uncategorized, vintage buttons, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1950s

24 responses to “Not Just an Everyday Blouse

  1. Linda D.

    Beautiful. Love it. Thanks for writing the post! Really enjoy reading everything.

  2. Sharron

    I do love the skirt fabric and agree these have been made for each other.

    Darts are a girls best friend and sadly lacking in clothing design these days. I have been known to add them to purchased clothing, though have never used an open ended dart – may have to try!

    Let’s hope you do get plenty of opportunities to wear this beautiful shirt as it deserves.

  3. Susan

    The word gracious comes to mind. Exquisite work. Thank you for sharing with us.

  4. Pink continues! looks like a potential Holiday blouse! Very nice, thanks for the post.

  5. Gayle

    Beautiful work! Love the color

  6. Mery

    It is gorgeous and oh so wearable. I would wear it immediately to local restaurant on date nite with slacks. It’s special shimmer won’t be diminished or stop me from enjoying its special dress-up occasion.

  7. Cheryl

    What a beautiful blouse!! The time and attention you give to your sewing is inspiring. Would you consider writing about your sewing “journey”? I’d love to read about it!!

  8. Lovely. can’t wait to see the skirt that you are making to match it.

  9. I love the fabric and buttons, but that pattern is sublime! I’ll be hunting for that one myself!

  10. Another beautiful garment! I wonder, do you have tips for sewing silk? I made a hash of the one silk top I attempted. What needle size, stitch length, and thread do you use? Anything else? I’m so impressed with your skills.

    • Hi Stacey, After sewing with silk many times, I have gathered a few tips. First, and I don’t why this is so, but it seems the better the quality (and higher the price!) of the silk, the easier it is to tame while sewing. Lots and lots of pinning is usually necessary, too. I use the skinniest needle I can, usually a micro tex and i always start new silk projects using a new needle. I generally set my stitch length for about 12 to the inch. I used silk thread for this blouse, but that was because it was the best match. I usually sew with all cotton thread. (I’m not a fan of synthetic thread for anything.) Silk is definitely NOT the easiest fabric to sew, so lots of patience helps, too.

  11. Marguerite

    Lovely! That collar is interesting. I have seen something like that on jackets of the same era. The color is so rich! You’ll be a standout for sure at any event.

  12. I’m so envious! But in a good way. This is an exceptional blouse and is anything but simple. The collar is fabulous as are the buttons. How did you finish the seams? Please let us know and some photos of the inside would be a thrill.

    • Thank you, Peggy! When I did most of the of the sewing on this blouse, I was at our summer home and had forgotten to bring along my pinking shears. If i had had them, I would have sewn a running stitch the length of the seams and then pinked the edges. So I went to plan B, and I turned under the raw edge on each seam, very narrowly, and stitched it down. For a blouse like this, I did not want to do flat-felled seams or even French seams because of the bulk those add. I guess one could serge the edges, but since i do not have a serger, that was not an option. And besides, that method just doesn’t seem quite right for a blouse like this!

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