My first sewing for this year’s summer season is effortlessly simple. It’s also basically everything associated with an old-time American summer picnic – gingham cotton, basket-like straw, bright red cherries, easy and comfortable dressing (no less cute, though), and good times in the backyard.
I had to bring my pet dachshund into the picture for good measure! He’s a loving little shadow to me, though he is camera shy.
FABRIC: a 30 by 45 inch cut of an all-cotton, loosely-woven ‘homespun’
PATTERN: Butterick 7161, year 1954 – it was a free gift from a kind Etsy seller.
NOTIONS: I only needed thread, a bit of interfacing, some bias tape scraps, and 3 buttons – all of which I had on hand
TIME TO COMPLETE: My blouse was whipped up in 2 hours one afternoon at the end of April 2017.
TOTAL COST: The fabric, my only expense, was bought at Wal-mart’s remnant area in their fabric department for only $2.23!
This blouse just makes me happy. I love the styling – just enough ‘vintage’ touch to be neat and unique, yet still classic. The colors are muted and cool, and pair well with so many different bottoms (skirts, pants, and shorts) in all colors (mostly khaki, denim, and black, but even red will do). From a practical point of view, this was so cheap! Yet, for how well it fits on me and nicely finished I made it, this is such a deal. No wonder I buy fabric and sew for myself versus picking up ready-to-wear!
Making this top sleeveless was not precisely by choice, but I like it. I was lucky enough to make a blouse from this as it was! My blouse does look really good with sweaters, luckily, for when I’m stuck inside freezing air-conditioning or out in a chilly night. I find it interesting how generous and comfortable the armscye is on a 1950s era sleeveless blouse. The armholes from the next decade of the 60’s are so much tighter, and I’m always paring them down but it’s never good enough. Maybe I’ll need to try sleeveless 50’s fashions more often.
The only major special detail to this blouse is the gathers which come from under the collar. They are an ingenious way to both add an interesting design element and provide bust shaping. I thought about pleating the excess fabric rather than gathering it (as I did), but I plan to use this pattern again and I can try that out then.
Halfway through sewing this blouse, I had a scare. I realized this ‘homespun’ cotton was quite fragile when I was stretching the blouse back neckline into the collar piece. It tore way too easily into the seam allowance. Thank goodness it didn’t tear any further into the blouse or I would have been devastated because this blouse is my new go-to, throw-it-on frequent favorite. Once that rip happened, I was glad I had cut the as-is size of the pattern, which was technically too big for me. I ended up leaving the blouse its generous size because I didn’t want another tear happening in the body of the fabric, which I could totally see happening just from being worn if it fit tighter. The cotton is so soft, it kind of ‘droops’ down anyway and you can’t tell how generous it is on me. Between the comfy fit and the loose homespun, it does make for an “I-don’t-feel-it-on” weightless summer blouse.
A view of the back is rather basic but my vintage 50’s hat makes it amazing, if you ask me. Look at that stunning weave of the two different kinds of straw! The perfect condition and the steal of a price that I paid, makes this one of my prized vintage hats. To complete the accessorizing details, my fun cherry fruit earrings are vintage from my dear Grandmother.
Blouses, especially 50’s era blouses are my newest ‘thing’ currently. I’ve been whipping out several already with a few more in my projects queue to sew yet. Thus, look for more separates to come here on the blog in next few months!