Wednesday, 29 April 2015

1949 Lutterloh Blouse for Spring For Cotton 2015

Finished today, just within the deadline for the Spring for Cotton 2015 Sew-Along, first announced on Rochelle's blog Lucky Lucille, and now showing lots of fabulous finishes on Flickr.

The rules were straightforward - use only cotton fabric to make a garment using a vintage pattern.

It was the perfect opportunity to try out a pattern from a 1949 book of Lutterloh patterns. This is the blouse that caught my eye...

... and this is the one and a half inch high pattern that I had to enlarge.  There were a few minor problems with the pattern, but today I was able to try on the finished blouse and pass the camera to my daughter for a photo session.

Not totally identical to the illustration, but most definitely 1940s!  I didn't put so many buttons on the front...

... but I added one to the centre back of the collar.

I stuck to the rules and used only cotton fabric and thread.  For the interfacing in the collar and down the centre front I used calico. 

The bias binding on the armhole seams is also cotton - a sure sign that I have had it stashed for ages, because I can only find cotton and polyester mixes these days.

The machines behaved themselves impeccably.  Most of the work was done on my 1937 Frister and Rossmann transverse shuttle, except for the buttonholes, which were done on the 1936 Singer 201K treadle.

The buttonholer probably gave the me the greatest fun of the whole project.  Excuse the grubby fingernails.  I've been planting spuds.

The greatest setback was working out how to give the fullness for the bust.  Just one look at the immense dart on the pattern once I enlarged it and I knew that if I made the blouse as drafted I would end up looking like a failed Nurse Diesel.

I bashed ahead with what I thought was the easy option and did tucks on the shoulders, and they looked pretty shocking.

So yesterday, when the blouse was all but finished, I put in darts.  Not the best time to do it, when the armhole seams are bound and the collar is on.  I had to unpick about a two and a half inch section of the shoulder seams  - French seams, so I had two lines of stitching to contend with.

Anyway, I managed it.  Don't ask how long it took.  Here is one of the shoulder seams showing the head of the dart.

Here is the same seam again once I had folded in the raw edges and hand stitched the top edge together again. 

And this is how the dart looks on the front.  It is only now, looking at the photos together with the line drawing and the pattern that I realise that my darts run at a slightly different angle. Not that it matters.  It fits. 

On the inside of the collar seam I used a bias strip cut from the fabric to enclose the raw edges.

This means that I ended up with a line of machine stitching visible on the right side.  To make sure that the edge of the collar conceals this stitching I added a button and buttonhole at the centre back. 

It was a good excuse to use another of those gorgeous buttons.

The line drawing shows three buttons on the collar.  They must be tiny, because I only had room for one.  The buttons are five eighths of an inch, and spaced three inches apart down the front.

On the opposite side I have an uncut buttonhole.  The thread is a variegated cotton, which I also used for the edge stitching.

If it hadn't been for the Spring for Cotton challenge I am not sure when I would have got round to trying out a Lutterloh pattern.  Thank you Rochelle!  I am ridiculously chuffed with the result.  The fit is incredibly comfortable, it has a lovely tailored look so it can do for smart or casual outfits, and I am already thinking of making another.

Now I'm off to Flickr to see what everybody else has been up to - the finishes are coming in fast...

Linking up with Connie's blog Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday
and Kelly's blog My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and AmandaJean's blog CrazyMom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday


  1. Lovely. Just in time for spring, too!

  2. This is fabulous. I particularly like how the floral design is perfectly aligned with the buttons at the front and the idea of the false buttonhole. You can see the amount of work in this. Lovely

    1. Thanks Hoffi. Loads of work, but I have really enjoyed it.

  3. Your blouse is wonderful, and the second time around it will be so much easier - lessons learned and all that! I've always found darts a problem, mostly because they ended too high or too low, so the darts issue doesn't surprise me. It occurred to me while reading your post that ladies underwear has changed considerably in the last 70 years which might explain the fullness in the blouse pattern.

    1. I think you are right Marly about the underwear, but that's not the whole story in my case.

      I remember a corset shop that I often used to pass when I was little. I was terrified at the thought of growing up and having to be encased in steel reinforced industrial strength beige elastic. That was probably round about the time I suspected that women had different skeletons, with pointed ribs that stuck out at the front. The stuff of childish nightmares.

  4. I LOVE the photo of you and your machines! The blouse is truly lovely, and I especially like the button on the back of the collar. It is perfect. Have a great day! HUGGGGs (If this comment posts multiple time, I apologize.)

    1. Thank you Laura Jean!

      It has turned out to be quite a memorable project, and I'm really pleased with the blouse. I have a particular soft spot for the Frister and Rossmann so I had to have it in the picture.

      Love, Muv

  5. Wow- what an amazing shirt! I can't imagine having to work from such a small image, but it came out so beautifully. Your choice in buttons is great- and super cool that you were able to stitch to the cotton challenge all the way down to the bias tape!

    Lovely make!

    1. Thank you Bianca.

      Starting from such a tiny pattern is slightly surreal, and there was a fair amount of tweaking with the pattern to get the fit right. Totally worth the effort, though!

  6. The Lutterloh system looks very interesting, but I've never tried it. I love the blouse, it looks so feminin and really suits you :) Clever button details, too!

    1. Thank you Siri! I have had that cotton poplin stashed away for about four years or so waiting for the right project. Somehow it looked very 1940s once it was made up.

  7. You look beautiful in it Muv and you definitely captured the look of the forties! I love the photo of you with your sewing machines.
    Cloris Leachman is a riot!

    1. Thank you Lara!

      Who could possibly forget Nurse Diesel?

  8. You blouse made from that vintage pattern turned out lovely!

  9. Very nice indeed, but what a lot of work you have done. Well worth it in the end - congratulations!!!!

  10. What a beautiful blouse and it looks wonderful on you!! Great job!



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