My Floral 40’s Fashion – A Fall Favorite

I am a woman of my word.  The very fact I am posting this sewing creation proves my point.  Back in our summer of last year, I had a blog post (link here) where I expounded on my version of view D from a cute 1940’s pattern reprint, Simplicity #1692.  In that post, I had said I wanted to make the long sleeved option, adding all the knowledge learned from sewing the pattern up already.  Well, here is my finished long sleeve version, as I had said, with a fit and design so perfected this blouse is an absolute dream for me to wear!  Casual and vintage yet versatile and comfortable – these four points cannot be better paired than in this 40’s cotton blouse.

100_2093bTHE FACTS:

FABRIC:  The fabric for the blouse is from a seasonal collection of soft 100% cotton quilting fabric, printed for Hancock Fabrics.  It was early fall/late summer of last year when I spotted this fabric, newly stocked as part of the early Thanksgiving prints, and seeing such a pretty floral got me in the mood to look forward to chilly weather.  The fabric has dark browns, mint greens, and rust oranges strewn around on a background of ivory, with a smattering of pale yellow in between.  To line this floral fabric, I picked a basic 100% cotton broadcloth, in a matching rust orange color.1692-Simplicity

PATTERN:   a 1940’s Simplicity 1692, re-released 2013, view A (it’s their 85th Anniversary pattern), originally yr. 1944

NOTIONS:  I really had every thing I needed on hand, excepting the side zipper, which I bought once I started making my blouse.  The buttons are probably close to being the correct era for my vintage blouse, and come from my special familial vintage button stash. 

TIME TO COMPLETE:  My blouse went together smoothly and quickly, only taking me about 10 hours to be done.  I was finished on October 18, 2013.

THE INSIDES:  The blouse hem is finished off with a strip of ivory hem tape, the armhole seam is covered in orange bias tape, the sleeves’ seams are flat felled, and the side is done in a French seam.  I love the finishing details so much I am almost more proud of the inside than the out!  Anyway, seeing my nice seams when I put on my blouse makes me smile even before I have it on me.  See the picture below.100_2147

FIRST WORN:  Out to our local neighborhood hobby shop to look for WWII plane models.  After that outing, I have worn this 40’s blouse many places and times, and wherever I go, I almost always receive lots of unexpectedly kind and interested comments on my garment from other people.

TOTAL COST:  I think my total cost is under $10

At first, I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of having the neckline that high around my neck, and it seems that others who have sewn Simplicity 1692 have had the same reservations.  However, I do want to be open to trying new styles because sometimes the unexpected can turn into a good thing.  With a few adjustments and tweaks, this blouse is indeed a winner in my wardrobe!

Between checking other seamstress’ posts and my own knowledge of how this pattern fits after making it last year, I would like to address the characteristics of the long sleeved View A which I adjusted for my personal taste.  It seems to have uber-gathers at the front center neckline, so I “pinched out” about 1 1/2 inches of excess gathers.  The hips seem to run small and snug, so I went up a size, added an inch more than I seemed to need, and went easy on the darts (which run vertically down from the high waist).  I dislike overly poufy fronts when I don’t have, let’s say, enough there to generously fill it out – and between the gathers at the neck and the amount of bust on the pattern Simplicity 1692 seemed poufy.  On other women, I think this poufy fit would be most complimentary and probably fit well.  In my case, with a slightly stiffer quilting cotton as the fabric, some precise sizing was (again) my dream remedy for this fitting situation.

100_2097     I was all over the board as far as sizing the pattern pieces, but this is the true beauty behind the ability to sew ones own clothes.  A custom fit comes from taking full advantage of the sizing options available in a multi-sized pattern  (like most modern ones) or merely knowing ones measurements (which comes in handy when fitting patterns which are one size or unprinted) or even finding what ease amounts you personally prefer.  In the case of my 40’s blouse from Simplicity 1692, I could look at the finished garment measurements as well to accurately judge the amount of ease that was included (the amount of ease can otherwise be a mystery or a surprise unless you pin a pattern on yourself ahead of time).  Thus, I ended up cutting out a size between a 6 and an 8 for the front  bust and shoulders down to the waist front, which was a 10, then a 12 for the front hips.  The back panel of the blouse was pretty much a solid 10 (because my larger upper arms need extra reach room) except for the waist and hips, which were again tapered into a size 12.  My sleeves were cut as a size 10.  A handful of inches were added to the bottom hem to make it longer so it stays tucked in all the better.  And, if you’re wondering, YES, all the pieces did fit together wonderfully, and make the finished blouse customized to me like fine tailoring.

100_2148     Don’t forget to buy a longer zipper if you do lengthen the bottom hem of the blouse.  I almost always buy longer zippers for my blouses just in case I do add inches to the hem.  I cut my zipper to make it the exact length, and thus I did my normal practice of covering the end with bias tape.  The last thing I wanted was a scratchy raw zipper end at my armpit.  It was serendipitous how the covered zipper end fit into the underarm seam.  I like the fact it keeps the end in place (see above left picture).

To “pinch out” the excess gathers at the center front neckline, I simply did the same easy trick I also did for the front bodice of my “High Standards” 50’s jumper (link here).  The front gathered section of the top neckline was laid 1 1/2 inches over the fold edge while the rest of the center front edge was tapered to meet the fabric fold at about the waistline, just like if I wasn’t doing a change at all.  You can fold in the pattern edge or just overlap it over the fabric, just so long as your new center front is still on the fold.

The look of self-fabric, bias bound necklines, is something I always love to add on my clothes and especially when it comes to this Simplicity #1692 40’s blouse.  The bias bound neck gives the blouse such a clean finish for around and over the center front gathers.  I tend to think it’s almost one the prettiest features of the high neckline.

100_2105      I was quite indecisive when it came to the sleeve closures – two buttonholes per cuff or one?  After mulling over what to do, I settled on one big buttonhole per cuff.  My personal taste has ended up disliking my decision for one closure per cuff – I hadn’t realized the wider the cuff (over 1 inch) I seem to prefer a more stable double closure.  Perhaps part of my problem of obsessing over the sleeves is because I’m really not used to long sleeves.  If I can’t push up my sleeves (as is the case for my green cowl neck dress), I feel a bit too confined.  Nevertheless, I still like my blouse too much to have the cuffs ruin anything for me, and, besides the sleeves look cool rolled up with the contrast color showing (see above picture).  Later on I ended up adding self-fabric loops to the ends of the cuffs so I100_2145 have the option of having tighter cuffs around my wrist by using buttonholes or loose around my wrist by using the loops.  Two pearl/shell buttons from my vintage familial stash were used on the cuffs to close the sleeves…something pretty but not show-stopping is just what I wanted.  I do have a complaint with the supposedly “disappearing” blue ink which never disappeared after using it to mark the buttonholes (see picture).

100_2150     For the back neck closure, I used a lonely single button and it seems to be quite old and rather remarkable in its color and design. This button is a bright green that matches exactly with the green tone in the fabric while also keeping with the “floral” theme by being shaped like a  flower, ready to unfold.  There are such tiny details (grooves and also a milligrain type pattern) on this already small button, it is a vintage work of art that I am so happy to be able to incorporate into my 40’s blouse.  My picture doesn’t do the real thing it’s due justice.

100_2095a     Romping and fun and cozy dressing on chilly days is everything my blouse is all about, which is why I think I love it so much.  I don’t have too many vintage clothes that are this casually nice looking together with an easy, comfy fit.  This something I have been working to sew more of – vintage clothes that can be worn to play out and about with our toddler in the same outing as doing errands, all while still dressed in an era past!  Ever since last year’s early Fall (when my blouse was made) I have turned to wear this blouse again and again.  The way my fall floral blouse is so fuss-free, receiving so many compliments, I have to close this post with yet another statement you’ll have to hold me to.

I’d like to make another version of the Simplicity #1692 pattern, perhaps in a beautiful, lightweight sheer fabric, or even in a knit!  I will keep my word – sooner or later you’ll see it posted on my blog!

Please visit my Flickr SeamRacer page to see more pictures of my “Fall Favorite” blouse.

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 2022 – “White, Orange and Green”

My blouse has now been refashioned/refitted. I needed to do this since I wanted to still enjoy wearing the blouse because it no longer fit me comfortably.  I was not happy with how I originally finished the cuffs, either.  Thus, the long sleeves were sacrificed to add in side panels and new bias hem/neckline finishing.  I kept the look and design lines of the blouse the same, and mostly just turned it into a short sleeve version that would fit my body for 2022.  Follow the link (click here) to see and read the updated blog about it!


1 thought on “My Floral 40’s Fashion – A Fall Favorite

  1. Pingback: Escape and Evasion: a Post-WWII Map Blouse | Seam Racer

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