Wednesday, April 29, 2015

An edwardian blouse

I'm making progress on my Edwardian outfit, albeit a bit too slow, but this upcoming weekend I hope I'll have the corset ad the corset cover in wearable condition. 

The corset have been a real hassle, I've lost count on how many times I've ripped out the boning channels on the back pieces. But today I've finally figured out in which order to sew them so hopefully the rest of the sewing progress will go better. I hope I will ha a corset to show you on Sunday :)

Now on to the subject of this blog post, the blouse.

The Design

My design is a mix between The Folkwear Gibson Girl Blouse and a blouse from the Fall & Winter 1903 edition of Voice of Fashion (if you want the pattern for the latter, for free, you can find it over at The same Pattern can Also be found in the book The Voice of Fashion by Frances Grimble, along with oodles of other great Edwardian patterns.

The pattern

To make the pattern for my design I took the sleeves from the 1903 blouse and used the body from the 1905 Sleeveless blouse found over at The Ladies Treasury. I started out by scaling all the pieces to roughly my size in Photoshop, printed it and made a mock up that closed at the back. I tried it on, marked where I wanted my yoke to start on front and back and modified the pattern accordingly. I also made the bottom front piece and the bottom back piece wider to allow for a lot of soft fullnes to be pleated in against the yoke and gathered by the drawstring at the waist.

The makings of it...

When cutting in my fabric I accidentally made my back pieces to short so I had to piece them, luckily I could hide it under the lace that sits at the bottom of the back yoke, so no one will see it ;)

The blouse is made from a lovely piece of fabric that I once found in an remnant bin, I believe it's an cotton/linen/viscose blend, because it drapes like cotton/viscose but the hand feels a bit like linen.

I made the front yoke and collar by stitching together strips of cotton cluny lace on top of silk organza. For the cuffs I used some scraps of cotton eyelet as backing since they will get more wear and tear. I also did insertions with the same cluny lace on the sleeves. All materials except the cotton thread I sewed with had been in my stash for ages, so it felt good to finally use it.

The front yoke, collar and a cuff

One of the cuffs
In the image above you can see that I used a different cluny lace at the bottom. When I experimented with the layout for my lace I discovered that the edge on the cuffs and the line where the edge of the yoke met the fabric looked "bare" somehow. I then remembered that I bought some lace scraps a couple weeks earlier and tried out. I'm glad I did because it made my design look just right, don't you think?
Those cuffs...they almost drove me crazy. I just couldn't make the work. No matter how I tried the sleeve just looked wrong, it pointed backwards and it was impossible to make the cuff closeable with out the join between the cuff and the sleeve going al lumpy and wonky. I was just about to give up and make pair of wide non pointed cuffs, and in my bewilderment I angrily stared at the pattern and the illustration for the 1903 blouse. The it hit me:

1. The cuffs was not supposed to close with buttons and hooks, the were supposed to be like a cylinder that you just run your hand through

2. I had sewed them on backwards...which my brain had tried to tell me numerous times but I had just ignored it because I was sure I'd done it right, damn it!

Except from this snafu, the rest of the construction went well (except for the part when I forgot to to do the lace insertion before I stitched the sleeves together, but let's not go into that...) I used french seams on the side seams., sleeves seams and sleeve insertion, it looks so neat, I'm proud! I flat felled the yoke to main parts seams so the only exposed raw edges are at the buttoning in the back, those I finished by hand with overcasting stitch. I also did the buttonholes by hand. 


Are you curios to see the finished result? Well, here it is, on my dummy Armand since I was home alone when I finished the blouse:

Now I just have to finish the corset and corset cover, fix the decorations and fit of the skirt, make belt and a bolero and finish my necklace, then I'm good to go!


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