Hello friends, and welcome to the New Year!
I had originally intended for my pattern of the month to be another exploration of bottoms, with a view to making some overalls for summer. In particular I was very keen on giving the Jenny Overalls, by Closest Core Patterns, another go. I had first tried the pattern quite awhile ago before I truly understood how to grade and tweak and fit trousers, and at the time attempted a record number of muslins before giving up. I tried the pattern once again, and – after so many alterations it was no longer particularly recognisable compared to the original, I still couldn’t quite get the fit I wanted. I decided that rather than settle for something not quite as good as my previous makes, I would finally allow this pattern to be removed from my stash and attempt something else.
I’ve had this particular secondhand copy of Style 1524 – circa 1977, for some time now. I had bought it as I had been unable to find a peasant blouse pattern from my preferred decade, being the nineteen-fifties. My thought was that it would only require a small amount of tweaking in order to remove the overly obvious features that made it seemed more inline with it’s own decade of production. Namely that the front bodice was cut of two pieces rather than being cut on the fold. The cinched waistline was very in keeping with patterns I had seen posted about online, but from their styling was usually tucked in rather than being left out and visible. So really it was only that seam in the front that needed to go.
This change turned out to be exceptionally easy to manage. As with a lot of patterns from this era, the seamline was marked onto the pattern pieces themselves. So in order to cut out the front bodice piece, all I had to do was lay the front seam on the foldline and ignore the cutting path for the keyhole section at the top of the blouse. It did, however, mean that the blouse suddenly required slightly larger pieces of fabric due to needing access to foldlines – versus the intense games of fabric tetris that I am usually known to play with my fabric to maximise on what I have. Likewise the sleeves are quite large, allowing for their lovely shape, and so required no small amount of fabric to themselves.
The first iteration I made was using part of an old quilt cover, which happened to be entirely cotton. The thickness was perfect, opaque enough not for anything to show through, and the design made me feel like I was channeling Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. So it brings back quite a bit of childhood nostalgia each time I put it on! For the other two makes it was likewise an easy choice. I had found a scrap of embroidered white fabric at my favourite op-shop which cried out to be made into a Peasant Blouse, to fulfill my desire to have items in my closest a little bit more piratical in nature. And I had a remnant of the vintage sheet I used to make my Jumpsuit from my previous post which, with a bit of Tetris with the sleeves, happened to be just enough for the third and final version.
One thing I particularly love about this pattern is how the elastic is attached to the inside of the bodice at the waist. Rather than folding the fabric itself, or designing some kind of cover or tube that way, you stitch down a length of bias binding all the way around the inside of the bodice. This then forms the channel through which the elastic is threaded, and prevents any raw edges or unnecessary bulk at the point you want to be cinching. I think it’s simply genius, and while I had never encountered this method until this pattern it has certainly inspired me for other uses of bias binding outside seam finishes. Not to mention that you can add it as a fun pop of colour on the inside if your fabric is opaque enough.
With my craving for peasant blouses now thoroughly fulfilled, I am on the hunt for fresh patterns to fill holes in my wardrobe and to teach me even more nifty tricks.
Pattern Made: Style 1524
Materials Used: Secondhand fabric – an old quilt cover, remnants of a vintage sheet, and a scrap of embroidered fabric from the op-shop; secondhand bias binding, secondhand elastic, and the thread was also largely secondhand.
Views Made: View A
Sizes Made: Size 14, bust 36
Alterations Made: I cut the front bodice on the fold by placing the seamline on the fold, and thereby skipped the centre front seam and keyhole portion.
Ease of Construction: This pattern is extremely quick and easy to put together, having only four pieces if the front is cut on the fold as in my version. I overlocked each seam in each version, and they were still wonderfully swift makes. There is nothing particularly complicated in their construction and the instructions are fairly clear.
Recommended Level: I think this pattern is perfect for beginners. It allows you to assemble very few pieces, but gives you practice with curved seams and elastic insertion. I would recommend this for anyone who is fairly new to garment sewing because it covers a few fundamental techniques you will often encounter, but doesn’t pose them in a particularly challenging way. Plus the results are adorable!