Friday 25 April 2014

Meet my Daughter - 1940s Style!

She looks fabulous (but I'm biased) and she's giving me the don't-think-I don't-know-what-you're-doing look I used to get from my mum.  In fact, with the thick dark hair and lashings of red lipstick she looked like her - just for a few seconds at a time.

As for the blouse, I'm thrilled with it.  Had it not been for the Sew for Victory challenge I wouldn't have made it so quickly, it would still be on the nebulous to do list between my ears.  But now, suddenly, after hours and hours of work, it is finished, and the end result doesn't look much like the pictures on the pattern.

The first big change I made was to make it button down the front.  I was dying to try out the sunray darts, but I wasn't keen on doing a placket, and an undivided front with a high neck just doesn't suit me.  On the finished blouse you can't really see the lines of the darts because the material has such a busy pattern - however what you can see is how the darts make the front of the blouse fall in nice soft folds.

The pattern was for a 32 inch bust, so I had to scale it up a bit.  Not only did I have to widen the front and back, but also make the armholes deeper.  The original pattern was definitely cut for girls with arms and necks like broomsticks.  The neck came very high up to the throat, so I cut it lower front and back.  This meant that the original pattern piece for the collar wasn't going to work, so I drafted my own collar pattern.  The short string of vintage beads sat really nicely just above the neckline.

The scariest bit of all the alterations was cutting the blouse in half to widen the back.  I used a strip where the pattern matched, so it repeats itself down the middle.  This way the two extra seams don't look too conspicuous.

The original plan was to make a peplum.  After having to cut into the spare material to make the extra strip down the back, I didn't have enough left to cut circular pieces for a peplum, so I made a pleated frill instead.

I realise that I could have made a toile and planned and fitted in advance, but this cotton was only about £4 a metre, and I started late on the challenge, so I just bashed ahead with the intention of improvising as I went along.

Now I'll show what you never see on the Great British Sewing Bee - the inside story!  Not a raw edge or a stray thread in sight.  French seams across the shoulders and down the sides - as well as the two extra surprise seams down the back - and all other seams bound with bias binding...

...narrow binding inside the collar...

... and the cuffs...

... and the armholes... 

... and wider binding for the seam attaching the frill.

The great 1940s star of this project has been the 1949 Singer 15K hand machine, which I used for all the machine sewing, except for the buttonholes...

... which I did yesterday using the buttonholer attachment on the 1936 Singer 201K treadle.

It has been an intense bit of sewing, and despite the fact my daughter looks wonderful in it, the blouse is mine!

Linking up today with Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday


  1. Very classy and sassy at the same time! Beautiful!

  2. What a lot of work you have put into that most beautiful blouse, I love it.
    Your daughter is very beautiful and looks gorgeous in your blouse.
    Baukje x

  3. You did an excellent job with the entire process! Your daughter is a wonderful model, and I know you will love wearing this beautiful blouse. Love how you finished all the seams with such intricate dressmaking skills.

  4. Gorgeous -- both blouse and daughter!

  5. The blouse turned out beautifully.

  6. Fantastic sewing Muv.
    The blouse looks great and your daughter beautiful. I love the fact that the blouse looks good from the inside as well as the outside. I note your comment about what they never show you on the GBSB. That would be an interesting added dimension to the show given how quickly they put those projects together. lovely to see your vintage buttonholer on the 201K. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks Gavin!

      Talking of the insides of garments, I was rummaging through vintage clothes in a shop in Bath a little while ago. Many of them were home made, and the finish was invariably shocking.

      Love, Muv

  7. The blouse is fantastic, and your daughter looks wonderful!

    1. Thanks Helen Mae! She looks so grown up and sophisticated that you wouldn't think that ten minutes earlier she had been scoffing chocolate and pretending to revise for her A levels.

  8. I wonder if the reason you only saw finished seams was because the ones that weren't finish didn't hold up. You daughter is truly beautiful. My first thought was she needed a strand of pearls. Excellent sewing - yes finished seams is a great challenge idea. I wish we could watch the The British sewing bee in the US, too.

  9. Wow! Lovely blouse and as others have said, your daughter looks lovely in it. The style really suits her. We should be seeing a pic of you in it too though!!

  10. I just love this blouse - and I guess that since it is your blouse but your daugher is modelling it means you are both the same size? - that could be very useful!

    I know what you mean about the GBSB - I love the show, and think there must be loads of people that would do just as well, but not under the time constraints and pressure they have (I certainly couldn't, so I would'nt volunteer, but could certainly could do all they have so far been asked given more time). Being a bit of a perfectionist (meaning I have to do everything as well as I can, not that it's perfect) I would spend most of the time checking and rechecking things and end up not having enough time to finish!

    I have to make the insides as neat as I can whether or not anyone is going to see them or not - I'm getting better with age, though, and able to let things go a bit now - life is just too short!

    1. Yes Anneg, we are near enough in size, not quite body clones - I'm a couple of inches taller - so it is very handy when working on a project like this.

      It is worth being fussy about the insides. Who wants a garment to fall apart in the wash?

  11. This has turned out fabulously. It was a very brave decision to add extra fabric at the back - much better to do that instead of having a blouse you find you don't wear because it pulls. I am in awe of the inside finishing - this is something I need to learn to do!!! :)

  12. Sew cute! I haven't a clue how to sew clothes. I was lost on the terms you used, but, I still appreciated all your hard work.

  13. love the pattern and your creation. Isn't it funny how a time crush can bring out the great creativity we have deep inside! And having the pleasure of a gorgeous and willing model is always soooooo helpful and delightful! (my dress form doesn't move so those secret stress points stay a secret until I try it on, lol!)

  14. Brilliant! Your daughter looks like she stepped right out of the past! Such a beautiful young woman. Wonderful job on the blouse!



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