Vintage Pussy Bow Blouse

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While I should probably be focussing on finishing the two or three winter garments I have been working on lately, I really felt like taking on a vintage pattern and chose to make this short-sleeved pussy bow blouse instead.

Record03

My first pussy bow blouse.

The pattern, Record 539, is undated, but enclosed in the envelope I found a tutorial with the year 1949 printed on it, so it’s safe to assume that the pattern dates back to this year or shortly thereafter. The blouse has cut-on sleeves and a yoke extending into a bow. Not visible in the drawing are the eight waist darts.

Recordmönster539

Record 539 from c. 1949.

A similar pattern is featured in the 1948 spring catalogue of the Stil pattern company, even the fabrics chosen for the white version look the same. According to the text this “adorable little blouse” is an excellent choice to be worn with the new spring suit. It also suggests to choose a different fabric for the yoke and “coquettish bow”. Here it looks like the blouse is worn with with shoulder pads.

Stilcatalogue

A page with blouse patterns from Stil’s 1948 spring catalogue.

My pattern was a size 42, which should have been too small for me according to the measurements on the envelope. Nevertheless, by measuring the pieces I discovered that the pattern either has a lot of ease built in or is meant to be very blousy, so I just added a little to the vertical seams. I am taller than the average woman of the 1940’s, so I lengthened the top with 5cm total: 3cm above the darts and 2cm at the hemline. Next time I will probably do a full bust adjustment; while the blouse is not necessarily too tight around the bust, it did end up a bit shorter in the front than in the back.

Record05
This project counts as a refashion, as the fabric – a somewhat sheer, lightweight viscose – was salvaged from a wrap skirt that I picked up at the thrift store for 10kr. I really liked the moody colour palette of the skirt, which probably dated back to the 80’s or 90’s. Fortunately, it had a couple of deep box pleats and an overlay, but as it turned out, I still had to shorten the bow a little in order to fit all the pieces.

Recordback

Back view with off-center faux closure. My poor attempt at a special feature.

An advantage was that I could reuse the rolled hem for the bottom of the blouse. The back was cut from the front panels of the skirt with the edges already stitched down. I thought it would be fun to create a faux closure and possibly adding some buttons to the back. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but because I centered the back on the stitch line instead of the middle of the closure it ended up looking skewed. I might fix that later. Or I’ll just wear the blouse with my spring suit, so the back won’t be visible.

Record02

The second half of the instructions.

Overall, this blouse was a joy to sew, although attaching the yoke gave me a bit of a head ache. First of all, I had initially gathered the bodice too tightly and was too impatient to unpick everything. The result is an unevenly gathered bodice. Also, the instructions have you cut out the yoke/bow as a single layer, finish the neckline with bias strips and top-stitch the edge of the yoke. In order to get a cleaner finish, I doubled the yoke. This meant piecing together the front yoke and bow of whatever scraps I had left and using an alltogether different piece of fabric for the inside back yoke.

Recordmönster

Not enough fabric: a seam is visible on the bow to the right and the inside back yoke is made of a black fabric scrap.

Top-stitching the bow went like a dream, but the edge of the yoke, where it is attached to the bodice, was a whole different story. After several tries I figured that my fabric could not take any more unpicking, so I finished the inside yoke/facing with bias tape of self fabric and fastened it with some loose stitches. Next time I will probably stabilize the seam between the yoke and bodice in some way. I am not entirely happy with the finish of the sleeves either, but seeing it was my first time doing a rolled hem, I should probably not be too critical.

Record06

With the bow untied.

Now that I know how to improve the fit and execution I am pretty sure I will make this blouse again. Perhaps I will follow the catalogue’s suggestion to use different fabrics for the yoke/bow and the bodice. That way it will also be a great stash-busting project.

Oh, and this is my first completed project for the Vintage Pattern Pledge!

Materials
Lightweight viscose: salvaged from a thrifted skirt
Diagonal glass buttons: thrift store

4 thoughts on “Vintage Pussy Bow Blouse

    1. iris Post author

      Thank you! It’s a pity in a way that the yoke isn’t very visible because of the patterned fabric, but as I wasn’t very precise with attaching it, it’s probably for the best. But yes, a next version will probably be in two different fabrics.

      Reply
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