As part of my quest to build a "Miss Fisher" wardrobe, I've sewed up three little blouses inspired by separates her character wears in different episodes. This post will show you 3 blouses I have made, starting with one pattern. The pattern I started with is the Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1920s Ladies Frock with Pleated Skirt Inset - Reproduction Sewing Pattern #Z2773.
For Blouse #1 (Shown above) I made the following revisions:
1. I started with the original dress pattern and cut it off at the natural hip line, where the skirt would begin. I made sure the back was cut off in the same place.
2. I added 1" to the side seam at the hip, blending to about 3/8" at the waist and 0" at the underarm for both the front and the back.
3. The armhole was quite high, so I dropped it 3/4". Because the sleeve would need to be increased to accommodate the bigger armhole, I added 3/4" to each side along the underarm through to the sleeve opening. I omitted the cuff and added a sleeve vent at the underarm.
4. Instead of sewing darts or tucks on the back bodice neckline, I gathered the fabric instead. This was an easier technique on the wiggly fabric.
5. I created a waistband pattern that was a front and a back, by making two rectangles. The back waistband was same width as the back bottom opening plus 2" for underlap (I added buttons at the bottom band) and plus seam allowance x 4". The front waistband is a rectangle the same width as the front bottom opening plus seam allowance by 4".
6. After attaching waistband (1" underlap on both sides) I made two horizontal buttonholes on each side of the front waistband and sewed two small covered buttons to each side on the waistband underlap.
notes: the fabric was made from a printed stretch silk charmeuse and coordinating white silk habotai collar and tie ends. I kept the tie exactly as on the pattern, making the ends contrast and the tie the same fabric as the blouse.
For Blouse #2, I made very few revisions, but they are noted here:
1. Using the adapted pattern above, I lengthened the tie and omitted the the contrast tie end.
2. I added a loop under the collar at the back neck to keep the tie secure. It kind of goes all over the place when I'm wearing blouse #1.
3. Instead of a band at the bottom, I lengthened the pattern 2" and added a 4" side vent at each side.
notes: the fabric is a printed silk gabardine with an off white silk Habotai collar and neck tie.
Blouse #3 has to be my favorite so far. It's a departure from the other two, but easy to make using the same pattern. Here is my step-by-step below:
1. First, I traced off the front and back pattern. I used the back exactly as is, however, I widened the neck by not using the darts to remove fullness (effectively eliminating them without changing the pattern). (note: I did not really take into consideration that this adjustment would increase the overall shoulder width. For my next blouse I would decrease my overall shoulder width by about 1" for a better fit on my body)
2. I then, adjusted the front pattern by increasing the neck width about 1/2:-5/8" and dropping it about 2 1/2". I made sure the front and back shoulders were the same width, which meant decreasing the shoulder width at the armhole (see above).
3. Next, I created a facing, which would actually sit on the outside of the garment instead of the inside. It is created by tracing off the neckline and shoulder of both front and back necks, then drawing a line 1 5/8"-2" away from the neck edge and then adding seam allowance. Front and back should be the same width and should match up at the shoulder seam. I added a flat piping on the edge of the facing to add a little contrast. For a visual tutorial on making a neck facing, you can visit this tutorial on the Colette Patterns website.
4. To create the front flappy/flange/thingy, I just drew half of it on a folded piece of paper, added seam allowance and cut out (so it was a mirror image on the other side). The flappy/flange/thingy was made with an outside fabric, lining as well as flat piping sandwiched between the two . Once finished, the flappy/flange/thingy was inserted between the facing and body at the center front and then stitched down when the facing was stitched in place.
5. The sleeve was created easily by drawing on the pattern and then tracing off and adding seam allowance to each piece (front sleeve and back sleeve). I wanted an elbow length, so I measured from my shoulder to my elbow (pit) to determine the length at the center of the sleeve, then estimated how far down the armhole I wanted the sleeve to travel. In the end, it's more of a sleeve flounce or capelet as opposed to an actual sleeve, as it does not extend under the arm, but stops about halfway down and hangs loosely from there. The armhole was finished with a bias binding on the inside.
6. The bottom band was created similarly to the bottom band I made forBlouse 1, however there are no buttons so no need for an underlap. Each bottom band piece was created 1" smaller than the bottom opening (front and back) and 5" wide. the band was interfaced and also finished with a flat piping like the neckline. And, the bottom opening was eased slightly with basting stitches to get it into the smaller bottom band.
This version was made in a cotton lawn that came from Girl Charlee and the flat piping was made from white seersucker scraps that I had floating around as well as white covered buttons that were also floating around in my stash.
You can find more delicious vintage reproduction patterns (from lots of different eras!) in the Vintage Pattern Lending Library's Etsy Shop!