Hi, I am back! One of the reasons why I tend to put off posting is that I find it hard to get satisfactory pictures of me wearing the garments. The light and/or weather conditions are not always optimal to take pictures indoors and the outdoor pictures are often a bit rushed, because we’re on our way somewhere/feeling hungry/thirsty/uncooperative etc. At the same time I realize that if I ever want to get through that backlog of unblogged items, I should not be too critical and just get on with it! Today’s blouse was photographed outside on two separate occasions and that will have to do.
The pattern is Simplicity 1166, which is a reissue of a pattern from the 50s and also includes a wide, long skirt and a bra top. The blouse has some cool features: square armholes, an oversized collar, cuffs with a little split and a curved hem. Still, it easily fits in a modern-day wardrobe, depending on the choice of fabric of course.
In my case I went for a bright-coloured cotton with a paisley print, which is not really period-appropriate and hides some of the details, but does create a very happy and summery blouse. It was a gift from my mother’s friend, together with a couple of other fabrics. She found these amongst her mother’s possessions after she passed away and did not know anybody else who sews. I, of course, always appreciate it when people gift me fabrics and yarn and I hope that they do not think I am ungrateful for occasionally letting these gifts linger in my stash for several years. Sometimes it just takes a while before I manage to pair them with a pattern.
The fabric was still wrapped in a paper bag from Vroom & Dreesman, a Dutch chain of department stores that was founded in 1887 and went backrupt in 2015, which is rather sad as I have so many memories of eating lunch at V&D in Eindhoven with my mum and/or sister when shopping. I do not remember seeing any fabric for sale at V&D, but that might also be because I may have had other interests at the time. Anyway, my guess is that it dates to the 70s or perhaps the late 60s, also because of the other fabric included in the same bag.
The construction of this blouse is pretty straightforward, although inserting the sleeves in the squared armscyes requires some attention. As per the instructions, I basted the corners together before sewing, which worked perfectly. This was not my first time sewing squared armholes, but by far the easiest, mostly because of the crisp cotton. Even after pre-washing there was quite a lot of sizing left, which made the fabric easy to handle. Fortunately, the blouse is still becoming softer and more drapey with each wash, because it did feel stiff when I wore it for the first time.
Now it’s time to confess that I did make a mistake setting in the sleeves. As I was so focussed on getting the corners right, I missed some markings and put the sleeves in backwards. I only discovered this after top stitching the armholes and sewing the sleeve and side seams. When I tried it on, the sleeves did not seem to hang well. In my defense, the sleeves are nearly symmetrical and judging by some other blouses I have seen on the internet, they seem to be a source of confusion.
It is probably mostly a question of the grainline being off and the angle of the corners being slightly different on the front and the back. Anyways, I could not bring myself to unpick everything and once the cuffs were attached the overall look improved so much that the twisted sleeves did not bother me anymore.
This blouse has a loose fit, with only a bust dart for shaping. I sewed a size 16 and apart from lowering this dart with a couple of centimeters, I did not make any adjustments. A size 14 could work as well, although it might need a Full Bust Adjustment then. The length is fine when the blouse is worn over pants, but it is too short to tuck in, let alone to be worn with the fronts tied together as shown in the pictures on the pattern envelope. I am curious to see how the blouse will look with the high-waisted jeans I am about to complete.
Despite the sleeve issue, I think that this blouse will get worn often. The fabric feels nice to the skin and the psychedelic colours and print are definitely happiness-inducing. While the wide armholes make it a bit difficult to wear underneath fitted jackets, they do allow for a lot of movement and are nice and breezy in warm weather.
Materials and cost
Vintage cotton with paisley print, 225 x 90cm: free (gift).
Interfacing and (thrifted) mother of pearl buttons from stash.
Apart from the pattern, which cost about EUR 6.50-7.00 including postage, this project was practically free.