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12/28/12: A 1940s Blouse – Simplicity 4608

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The days leading up to Christmas brought a few flakes of snow, family, cookie baking, pierogie making, movie watching, and a finished Simplicity 4608. Ah yes, I have been sewing and I’m probably more amazed than you! When was the last time? Spring? Well, anyway here’s 4608:

So let me run through the usual suspects. . . 
The Blouse’s Features: This button down blouse with notched collar, showcases two pairs of tucks on front bodice, a yoke with shoulder and back gathers, slimming waist-to-hem darts, and bellowing sleeves with buttoned sleeve cuffs. 
The Fabric: I chose a lightweight 100% cotton in a light-almost-white shade of blue. I could say I bought it from this great little Etsy shop that sells vintage fabric, but I won’t. Truth is, I bought it from a yard sale. I don’t know what it is but I would rather say Etsy than yard sale, even it is from the same person! :)
The Pattern: The pattern is from 1941 and will be my first time sewing a pattern from that era. 4608 makes me smile every time I see it because I won it (along with another pattern), from Tasha from the By Gum By Golly blog. That was back in June of this year so I’ve been waiting a long time to try it out! 
[ the two patterns I won back in June. 4608 is on the right. Tasha also threw in another pattern for me — that was such a nice surprise! ]
Practically no pattern alterations had to be made which was absolutely, positively wonderful! Especially for a person who had been out of the sewing loop for so long. This truly came in handy because I cut out the fabric pieces in October and didn’t get to sewing it up till mid-December. Yeah, I haven’t been great in the sewing department at all! 
The only minor alterations that had to be made were adding 2″ to the length of the bodice and sleeves. (I’m tall.) And when I tried it on during the construction process, I had to nip in the waist by 3/4″ on each side because it was too roomy in that area. 
Because this pattern is from the 1940s and was tattered in some places, I traced all the large pieces onto brown packaging paper, (I hoard this stuff). 
Tissue patterns from this time are really interesting. Instead of everything being printed onto the tissue, they made holes for placement “dots” and darts. I wish they would incorporate these holes into modern patterns because it makes it so much easier to transfer these markings to the fabric. I really think they had something going there.
The Construction Process: Because the lightweight, blue cotton I used is somewhat shear, I had to resort to underlining all the pieces save for the sleeves. (If I can avoid wearing an undershirt, I’ll take it.) I underlined the front bodice pieces using the same blue cotton and the back piece was underline with a white polyester lining. Had to do this because I plain ran out of blue cotton! The blouse still looks cohesive even with the two different underlinings. 
I used light to medium weight Pellon interfacing to interface the collar. Speaking of the collar, the pattern told me to cut a bias strip and slip stitch it to the neckline area where the collar and the bodice neckline meet. It sounded way too fiddly to me so I just decided to serge the seam and understitch the collar in place. The interior doesn’t look as clean as it could have been with the bias strip, but I don’t mind the sight of serging. 
The sleeve cuff was a little tricky to do because of the thread chains that had to be made. The pattern told me to make (by hand I might add!), these little chains of sewing thread that will be used as button loops to close the cuff placket.
[ the sleeve placket ]

Maybe if it hadn’t been during busy Christmas time or maybe if I hadn’t set this blouse aside for so long,  I would have had the patience and willingness to make these thread chains. But it just wasn’t to be. First I started making some sewing machine thread chains. Yeah, that didn’t work. Wow, that didn’t work. So I fell into my usual train of thought when I’m in a time crunch and have to make something happen: I’ll crochet it. So I took a ball of light blue, size 20 crochet thread and a teeny tiny hook (size 11?), and made 15 chains, fastened off, stitched the loops to the cuff with the sewing machine, clipped away the crochet thread tails, sewed on two adjacent buttons, and presto! had workable button loops.

[ my crocheted button loops ]

I’m always wondering about small finishes on people’s sewing projects so I’ll give you a shot of my blouse’s hem. I simply serged the raw edge, folded under 1/2″, and on the outside, stitched a scant 1/8″ in from the fold using a somewhat long stitch length.

[ the hem ]

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Very pleased on how this blouse turned out and the whole process. Being a person who doesn’t win many things and who hasn’t sewn in months, has made this whole experience one that I hope to repeat very soon. May have had a few glitches along the way, namely the thread chain episode, but I can’t wait to make another!

3 Comments

  1. Wow, it turned out so well! Great color choice and the amount of details is outstanding. :)

  2. I’m thrilled to see how this came out! I have the same pattern in my size and I stalled out eons ago at the collar because I somehow felt the neckline was too small but I bet I was wrong. Your beautiful version makes me want to rescue it out of it’s ziploc bag. I love your idea of crocheted thread chains, too. It looks wonderful, I’m so glad to see you sew it up! :)

  3. That looks so nice! I’m jealous. :)

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