Jul 12, 2015

The Making of the Sunshine Blouse

For Aviation Day a few months ago I made a new blouse to go with my 1940's trousers. This post is about how I made the blouse, which I have lovingly named the Sunshine Blouse because it's made out a fabulous yellow cotton!

I had been looking around for a pattern for this style of bodice for a long time and finally found Sense and Sensibility Patterns' Swing Style Blouse pattern about a week before Aviation Day. Because I was short on time I decided to get the e-pattern, which worked out fine except for some reason I had some sizing issues that I think may have been due to that, but I'm not sure.

Here's my mock up cut down to the size I ended up doing against the pattern. For some reason it was really wide. It was an easy fix, but still.

My pattern pieces all cut out...

The next step was to cut out collar and front button lining part. Since this was on the pattern piece for the front piece of the blouse and I didn't want to cut it I marked it out by placing pins along the line and turning it over and marking where the pins were with my marker. After it was all marked I removed the pins then traced along the lines with my Dritz Styling Design Ruler, basically playing connect the dots.

Next I marked the front darts. Normally you would also sew these at the same time, but I waited until the bodice was sewn together to make sure I wouldn't need to make them a little bit bigger than the pattern called for.

At this point I also marked out the button holes and where the buttons would go.

I decided to serge (or actually zig-zag since I don't have a serger) all of the edges, which I'm really glad I did because this cotton ended up fraying pretty badly and it just makes the blouse feel much more professional and sturdy.

It went together easily, the most difficult part being the collar. But the nice part about this pattern is that the collar is built in, so it's all one piece!

This was my first attempt to sew the collar. Because of the awkward points it was difficult to stitch without catching the fabric. I ended up having to do it again but the second time turned out much nicer.

 There's still a little bit of a pucker here, but much better than the first attempt!

After I stitched the second piece to the collar and the button hole lining to the bodice I understitched it along the front. This technique was new to me at the time, but it's something I'm going to be doing a lot more often! It's basically stitching the seam allowance to the lining which gives it a straight edge.

Since the instructions to the pattern didn't show how to do this I had to look online, and I found a great tutorial HERE.

 This is what the inside looks like after it's been understitched...

And from the right side of the fabric...

 After that was done I folded the edge of the lining under twice before sewing down.

Back to the collar... The next step here is to roll the edge of the lining twice and stitch down on the inside. The instructions said to just top stitch this part because it won't be seen when the collar is folded outwards, but I decided to do a Stitch in the Ditch instead just as an extra measure.

Here's what it looked like from the inside...

And this is what it looks like on the outside. You can't even see the stitches! I'm really glad I did this instead because when I wore it the collar didn't quite cover it all the way.

 After that I pressed out the corners of the collar. I'm not sure why, but there was some extra pointy parts in the pattern which made the collar pretty difficult to sew. If I were to make this pattern again (and I probably will) I think I'm going to try cut it down to make it a little easier.

Next is the sleeves!

 The first step was to run a basting stick along the top between the marked lines.

After that I stitched it together at the seam before gathering it and sewing it to the bodice.

When the sleeves were sewn on I tried it on and went to work on the darts. The original size ended up being perfect!

 Then it was time for the button holes. I've had my sewing machine for somewhere around five years now and I just learned how to use the button hole setting on it! It made making these so quick and easy!

When the holes were done I stitched the buttons on.

All that was left at this point was to finish the sleeves. I wanted to do a rolled hem, but the instructions don't tell you how to do them even though they say you can do them. My only dilemma was that I wasn't sure how to stitch them.

In the end I just rolled it up about half an inch, ironed it, rolled it up another inch, and ironed it again without stitching anything. It seemed to stay just fine, although I was wearing my coat all day on Aviation Day.

These are the only photo's I have so far. It was too cold on Aviation Day for pictures without my sweater on so I didn't get any, but I did snap a few on my phone when we got home. I also wanted to show my hair, which I'm kind of proud of. :)

Since my hair is longer than most girls hair in the 1940's and it refuses to curl I have get creative. This ended up being a really easy do and it was nice to not worry about it getting messed up in the wind. I think I'll make a tutorial for it soon.


  1. I love that hairstyle! Did you make it up, or use a tutorial somewhere?

  2. Hey there! I thought I would share this blog; you may have heard of it anyway, but this girl makes some really artistic costumes. She was the creator of the Elsa cosplay that went viral because of how cool it turned out. https://doxiequeen1.wordpress.com/

  3. Thanks Michaela! I came up with the hairstyle by myself, but kind of mixed a few different tutorials together to get the end look.

    I've been following her for a while. Her work is amazing!

  4. I just love your enthusiasm for sewing! While browsing through your recent posts, I noticed that you always zigzag your raw edges. You might be interested to learn that there's a better alternative: overlocking. I'm not talking about serging. Most regular sewing machines have an overlock stitch, but this isn't a well-known fact. Many even come with the overlock presser foot (aka overcast foot). If not, you'll need to buy one for around $10 or $12. The overlock stitch sews a straight stitch that goes backwards and forwards, so it stretches; between every stitch, the needle swings off the edge of the fabric in a zigzag. The special presser foot keeps the stitching aligned with the edge of the fabric, so it encloses the raw edge, instead of merely sewing alongside it. It doesn't take any more effort than zigzagging, but it's a lot more professional-looking! You can find tips and tricks for overlocking at my website (http://yesterdaysthimble.com/articles/basics-overlock-stitch/). Hope this helps!

    1. Thank you! I actually just discovered that setting on my machine! I haven't tested it out yet but I'm going to soon.