Tuesday, June 22, 2010

FO: 1940's Back-Buttoned Sandpiper Blouse

A Back-Buttoned Blouse sounds like such a flapper-ish garment somehow. It makes me think I should be dancing around in a long string of beads and cuban heels. Doing the "Black Bottom". Alliteration gets me every time.

So here I am in my wellies and jeans. What a vintage diva!

However, this blouse comes from the late 1940's / early 1950's, not the twenties. The pattern is undated, but there are little clues, like the advert for a "Lightning Zipp Slide Fastener", and the slightly wider seam allowance than the 1948 pattern I made the other week.

And those ladies in the illustration probably had "modern" hairstyles.
I bought the pattern in a last-minute eebaay swoop for £3.00. I wanted the look of the trendy Sencha pattern but with longer sleeves. As I tailor-tacked the pattern markings (so many of them!), I realised there is a lot more detail in this vintage pattern than in the Sencha.

It has pleats at the waist / hip area back and front, and on the front shoulder. It is designed to be worn with shoulder pads. The central "strap" forms the front neck facing and provided the opportunity to show off my fabric-matching skills - look at that cheeky sandpiper! And the sleeves have neat little turned-back cuffs which are slightly flared towards the top edge for added perkiness. The back neck facing is cut from a 2-inch wide bias strip. The button / buttonhole bands are folded self-facing. None of the pieces are interfaced, but this cotton had enough stability to cope.

Fabric choice is definitely very important for this style. It is truly "Blousey", as Clare discovered about the Sencha. You don't want to use anything stiff or the whole thing will sit there like an origami paper balloon. It's like a bat-wing without the wing, if you know what I mean. This organic cotton from Cloud 9 was only just soft enough. A craft-weight "quilting cotton" would be too stiff. Voile would be perfect! Mmmmm!
I really enjoyed making this garment. It felt so very "authentic" despite the modern fabric. The instructions were clear (I will look out for vintage "Style" patterns again!) and packed with little tips - like cutting open the buttonholes away from the fabric edge, to mitigate against the risk of over-enthusiastic ripping.

Pattern: Style 4820, vintage size 34"
Fabric: Sandpiper from the Beyond the Sea Collection by Cloud 9, from Saints and Pinners (it arrived the next day!) I used exactly 1.5m. Only scraps left.
Buttons: Vintage 1940's plastic from Clover Crafts and Curios at eebaay: 6 for £1.

I love it! I enjoy its seaside-y freshness and its vintage vibe. Despite being yellow, it doesn't make me look ill. I like having the front free to showcase unusual necklaces or brooches while the buttons do their business in the back. And I can actually do it up myself, which was an unexpected bonus!
Would I make it again? Well, yes, I am tempted to try out the embroidery transfer. Maybe go for a contrast strap / cuff feature. But I certainly won't be going for the higher collar of View A - definitely too vicar-like!
Jewellery credits:

Birdcage pendant from Fairytales and Hidden Notes
Cameo hairclip from Freedom at TopShop
I searched in vain for the tiny red 1950's souvenir "a present from Obermarrergau" binoculars I used to play with as a child. I thought they would make a fab "birdwatching" necklace to wear with this blouse! A bit like this one.


Debi said...

Love it!! The fabric is so great too! It looks fantastic on you! great job!

RooKnits said...

Oh, I absolutely love it. It is perfect! I am also in awe of your fabric matching.

Clare said...

What a beautiful top (blouse!)! Really love the details and that fabric is perfect - so clever the way you've matched the pattern.

feresaknit said...

11/10 for ensuring the sandpiper didn't look like it had been hit by a car!

Kate said...

Gorgeous! I *LOVE* the fabric. Making buttonholes scare me, but I suppose it's the sewing equivalent of steeking a sweater. ;-)

karen said...

Lovely, happy photos and - wow! - what beautiful fabric. Such a great, understated detail. Always love finding out about new fabric suppliers. And I love the bird cage necklace. A success!

Susie Hemingway said...

Very pretty indeed - suits you well.