Thursday, September 14, 2017

Vintage Post: 1950s blouse

I think it's hardly fair to call this a sewing project; there were two short seams to be sewn on the machine that totaled maybe a yard! But I haven't seen any reviews online of this pattern yet, so this is me being helpful.
I used the new release Simplicity 8452 pattern - what I have dubbed the "envelope blouse." Why? Well, the back seams reminded me of an envelope!

Yes? Maybe? Ok, either way, I am amused.
I don't usually have much interest in sewing myself shirts - dresses and skirts, yes, but I can find reasonably "vintage-type" tops for a lot less money and time investment than I could sew them for myself, so why bother? Also, sewing with knits is not my jam. But this pattern intrigued me, so, sure, why not? (Plus FFC was having a $3.95/yd sale on knits at the time, so...)
I used a lightweight pumpkin-colored rayon jersey, that's probably borderline too lightweight...but it's very soft and comfy! (It wants to be a loose-fitting modern t-shirt, really, but I won't allow it.) It did tend to catch on my rough fingertips, so that was a bit annoying. (Hi, clearly I'm a constant hand-sewer, how about you?)
I don't have much to say in detail about the pattern or's a fabric envelope with two seams, and comes sized in S-M-L, what can I say? I did thoroughly enjoy that the pattern included the original sewing instructions; the envelope says that you can get modern directions from the website if you want them. I did not want them...although I assume they probably involve a serger or zig-zagging all the edges to finish. That sounds ugly! I'd much rather catch-stitch all the edges by hand like the directions say!
Yes, it did take a bit of time.
Although I did have the sense as I was doing it that the fabric itself probably won't last long enough to make this hand-finishing worth it! Oh well, learning experience?
Simplicity, take note: more original directions in your retro pattern reprints! (Although I may be weird that way...)
A few miscellaneous observations: even after sewing it all up, I had to look at the directions really hard to make sure I wasn't putting it on upside down! It's a weird blouse.
 I also find the sleeves don't especially like to stay at a perfectly even length. This probably wouldn't be a problem for someone who actually had a bust to fill it out and keep the drape-iness in one place. Occupational hazard...
Last, and most importantly: if you're long-waisted like I am, you'll need to make the back seam longer! I somewhat suspected it was going to end up too short in the back waist, but as this isn't really the type of thing you can make a mockup of, I figured I'd just forge ahead and see how it came out.
Yeah, that's a good look. Uh, not quite where my waist is!
Dirty little secret: I safety-pinned it this morning because I wanted to wear it today! I could tug it down and tuck in in (as this is a blouse you have to tuck in anyway, unless you're cinching it with a belt), but it 100% would not stay, and even with the safety pin holding it together a couple inches down, it crept out again. I'm not into accidentally lower-back-bearing shirts, so this will not stay as-is!
Which is fine...I'll just hand-sew another 3-4" down that back seam, which will mean I have to move up the lowest hook/bar on the front, as the "points" will want to move further back on my hips. Which, overall, is not too terrible an alteration...and I will mark that on the pattern piece for future reference!
And yes, I think I'll make it again! I did buy another yard of jersey, in walnut-brown, as it was cheap, so...


  1. Ah, thank you for posting this review! I have the pattern and my fabric is on the way, but I always like to see how others have faired with patterns so i know what to expect �� Also, you look absolutely fabulous, I love how you styled the top ��

    1. Thank you! :) I'm always pleased when I post something useful...I always like to look up vintage pattern reprints before I make them, too, to see how they look on someone that's not a pattern envelope model!

  2. This is a great outfit. Looks up to date in many ways. Very, very smart!!

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  4. "I'd much rather catch-stitch all the edges by hand like the directions say!"

    That's exactly how the modern directions instruct you to do it. You'd know that if you had bothered to look.

  5. Entirely correct! But why would I bother to look, when the vintage directions are included and I have the brainpower to parse them? Thanks for your help.