Making my 40s blouse dreams come true!
This is the wonderful Smooth Sailing Blouse by Wearing History. I've made this shirt twice before, both times in a linen with the standard short sleeve.
I've always loved bishop sleeves with drama. As I've said before, they are the sleeves that you wear when the private detective turns up at your door with the news your husband is dead. You start crying, quickly drawing one hand to your forehead and the other to your heart. It can't be! What a surprise! Who would do something like this? The PI comes inside, you go to the drinks cart and make yourself a whisky sour. So on and so forth, with lots of sleeve flipping. The dramatic sleeves are from Simplicity 8736 View B/C which I have also made before. There is a lot of possibility in sleeve-mix-and-matching when the sleeves have a gathered cap. I made sure the top gathers sat in the same place as the original Smooth Sailing sleeves - in line with the front and back yoke sections.
The sleeves could cope with being longer - I think about 2" would suffice - and with a much wider film noir style sweep. Rest assured I will make those changes on the next blouse. And there WILL be a next one!
The fabric is a rayon from Spotlight which was nice enough to work with. You know, it's a rayon. It's slippery and annoying and frays. But that's to be expected! Buttons are from the stash and not a perfect match. Even though the base colour is an off white / cream colour I had to use white thread. This is definitely a self isolation project!
At the end of the day I love this blouse, I love this pattern. Even though I have no where to wear it (I'm unemployed) it's nice to be slowly building the wardrobe of my dreams!
Blouse: Smooth Sailing by Wearing History
Trousers: Vivien of Holloway
Sunnies: Local Supply
Bangles: Splendette & Etsy
Lipstick Notes: Rimmel - Kate - Retro Red
This button back blouse pattern has proved itself a strong staple in my casual and professional wardrobe. If you don't have this pattern and you dig 1940s fashion, you should go and get it!
Rayon isn't the best fabric to work with, but boy do I enjoy wearing it. It's light and floaty, delicate and soft. What a dream! It gathers nicely too, especially at the neckline in this top. The fabric was wriggly to cut out, so I pinned and pinned. I cut it on the fold because LAZY, but it all worked okay in the end.
For the sleeves, I didn't add the gathered binding at the cuff edge. I wanted this to flow and settle over my arm rather than bind it. That means the sleeve hem does droop down a bit, but I actually like the softness and shape that results. Not to mention, I can drive a car without tension over my biceps, and its nice and breezy in the summer.
The blouse was paired with a tonal matching pencil skirt which I wore to a job interview. (Unsuccessful with the job, but successful in style!) Now there are three of these blouses in my wardrobe and I think I might be done with this particular pattern. At least for a few months... Doesn't mean I'm done with button back blouses though!
I have some of this rayon fabric left over. I wouldn't mind making something to match, like 40s shorts or skirt? If you have any ideas, please let me know! I'm open to suggestions here as my mind is blank.
Blouse: Button back hack of Simplicity 1692
Skirt: Simplicity 8652
Brooch: Sarah Coventry, bought at Rock N Roll Markets at Manning House.
Hair: Princess Leia on Endor #leiaforever
This Halloween, my lovely said to me, why don't you whip up something for the Halloween party? You can make a dress in a day or so, yeah? ... Paraphrasing here of course. But that was the general jist of the conversation.
Cue a trip to Spotlight where their Halloween fabric range was on special for $8.00 / m. Sign me up! Bought 4m in total - 2m for the skirt, 2m for the blouse. The fabric was pre-washed and then thrown in the dryer for ultimate shrinkage. I prepped the pattern at about 10.30pm and cut everything out. As the skirt is a collection of rectangles, I didn't cut the fabric but just did the ripping trick. If you have a rip-able fabric this is such a great and quick technique to get on grain rectangles.
While working on the outfit, he kept saying this looks like my shirt from London... You know the one? I couldn't remember the one. He kept describing it in detail and I truly had no recollection. Turns out the fabric was a perfect match! Look at him remembering exactly what his clothes are. This is a Vivien of Holloway shirt that was purchased in London April 2019! We were all matchy-matchy for the party. It was fun.
The skirt is a basic gathered skirt with side seam pockets and back lapped zipper. The blouse is the button back blouse hack of Simplicity 1692. I didn't use the little loopy ties for the neckline and cuffs. Ain't nobody got time for that.
Seriously, I love this button back version of this pattern. I don't like side zippers at the best of times (especially with my shoulders) and invisible zips in side seams for tops is just plain dumb. Why make something so hard to put on with no give through the high bust / armpit to armpit section of the top? Silly. Button backs are great and the spacing of these tops mean I can get fully dressed myself. I'm a regular dressing wizard.
As a side note, I also put the grey ribbon on his hat along with a little mottled brown feather for Guys and Dolls in September 2019 - he played Sky Masterson. Grey suit, black hat with matching grey ribbon. Perfect.
The plan was that if I made separates then I might be able to split them up and get a bit more wear out of them. And so far, I have! All in all, a very successful hurried Halloween outfit.
Please see the success of separates below.
Blouse: Salme Patterns Kimono top in silk from Marrickville
Skirt: Self drafted pencil skirt
Blouse: Simplicity 1962
What an overdue post! My draft of this post is from January 2019! These blouses have been completed for a while and in standard work rotation in the wardrobe. I think it's time for a blog post!
These blouses were a long time in the making. I looked at them, I left them, I came back to them... . Rinse repeat! I am thankful that I finally just did it. I did the buttonholes, I did the finishing, I just got them done. And sometimes that is what life is about - just getting whatever done.
Over the new year break between 2018 /2019 I decided it was time to tackle this blouse once and for all. To help along the way, I had two gorgeous 1930s replica print cottons in my stash from Spotlight. They felt really stiff and full of starch so I washed them to force improvement. Best idea I had all day! They turned into the softest cotton which feels like a dream against the skin. To say they have been a delight to work with just doesn't cover it!
The pattern was cut out with only scraps left over. I think I would be able to squeeze in the pocket if I wanted. The collar points are just so... pointy. They take up space. Here is the blouse as a general shell so I could see the shape and the print. It's trés pretty. I always get excited at this point. It so early but you get the idea of what you're making.
The sleeves are shaped with three darts at the sleeve cap to create that dramatic 40s look. The pattern says to use shoulder pads, but I tend to rely on my own naturally large shoulders.
The blue blouse I made as directed with the pleats in the sleeve cap, and the simple narrow sleeve hem. It does make the sleeves sit just in the crook of my elbow which feels a moment too long for me. Workable, but not idea. Is it enough for me to take the hem up again?... no.
After my success with the blue one, I barrelled straight along into a red one - same fabric but different colourway. This collar is just... POW! It pops right into your face and demands attention.
Mods to the red blouse include:
10/10 would make again.
Blouses - Simplicity 8243
Pants with blue blouse - Retrospec'd
Pants with red blouse - Simplicity 3688 in brown mechanical drill
Hello hello you beautiful 1940s reproduction pattern. What a delight you are!
Welcome to my wardrobe, Simplicity 8736. It is a 1940s blouse with bishop sleeves into a cuff, button back, gathered front shoulders and gathered sleeve heads. I made self-covered buttons for the back and sleeves. They are small and flat so I cannot feel them when I am leaning against something.
This pattern went together really easily, however there are quite a lot of fiddly steps. Gathering here, facings there, folding back facings and interfacing back there, cuffs, button holes, buttons, tucks, darts. You should have some skills up your (bishop) sleeve if you want to sew this one.
Originally, the plan was to finish this on the June 2019 long weekend. I had cut it out, done the darts/tucks to start... and then my partner injured his knee on the Saturday (high grade ACL tear).... I became a full time care giver as he couldn't walk, bend, turn, step over high things, bend knees, reach up, reach low, carry things, pour things, balance. He could walk on crutches but that was about it. No more sewing for me! I also had to call my mum for her birthday while we were waiting in the medical centre! Not the best way to delay a birthday phone call! Most of my day was taken up by helping him hobble off the soccer field, up stairs, into the car, out of the car, into the medical centre, onto a chair, out of a chair. The whole lot. It was a busy weekend but not in the way I anticipated.
Finally, a few weeks ago I stuck in and got it done. Then it sat on my dress form for a while to be admired. Next it moved to my wardrobe waiting for the perfect moment to come out and play. That day is today! It's a lot of fun to wear, it's pretty glamorous and enhances general swanning about. Which is what you do in bishop sleeves. Everyone knows that.
If this pattern is languishing in your stash waiting for time to sew... then just do it! The time you invest is worth it.
Made the straight size 16 - no alterations
Fabric is a rust coloured rayon from Spotlight bought specifically for this project
Self covered buttons from a Spotlight kit, 12mm
Hand stitched down the back facings and neck facing to keep it flat
No shoulder pads installed. I use my own shoulders.
1940s blouse: made by me - Simplicity 8736
Knitter. Home seamstress. Dance Teacher.