Sunday, February 15, 2015

Two Basic Blouses from a 1950s Pattern

(Hullo, Elsa!)

There has been a lot of talk lately in the blogging world about sewing wardrobe basics.  I personally thought this sounded like a fabulous idea.  Like so many of you all out there, I am totally drawn to sewing fabulous, one-of-a-kind pieces using unique fabrics.  Visualizing how a certain fabric would look in a certain style and then making it appear is so much fun, right?  The only thing is that you end up with a wardrobe of statement-making pieces that you may not want to wear every day of the week.  Oh yes, that would be me.

For my attempt at adding to wardrobe basics, I decided to pick a vintage pattern.  I chose to start with a few basic work blouses.  Because I lurv styles from the late forties and early fifties, I picked out this little number:
I decided to sew up the bow blouse in some black rayon that I found at Hancocks.  (I know, can you believe it?  100% rayon.)  A vintage type of fabric for a vintage blouse, oh yeah.  It felt silky and wonderful as I sewed it up.  If you decide to give rayon at try, I would recommend overlocking the edges as it has a tendency to fray.  I also french seamed the side seams.  I elected to add the short sleeves from the pattern.  Et voila!
I feel compelled to add that the correct historical term for this style is the pussy bow blouse.  There, I wrote it.  Too bad such a sweet word has been sullied.  How 'bout if I call it my kitty bow blouse?  Did you know designer Elsa Schiaparelli made this design famous in the thirties?  She was also famous for being into Surrealism and was friends with Salvador Dali.  Some of her designs were extremely conceptual and tres artistique.  For example, the shoe hat, which looked like an upside down high heel.  And not to forget her infamous gloves complete with fake gold fingernails attached. Although I'm not sure I could carry either of those accessories off, I am indebted to Elsa for this pretty, feminine blouse style.  Elsa was also known for popularizing hot pink which she called "shocking pink."  It became her signature color.  Ooo, now that's an idea for a future project; a hot pink, sleeveless kitty bow blouse.  I'm feeling it for summer.  Anyway, Elsa was rivals with Coco Chanel.  Now as you probably know, Coco was all about really wearable clothes for the active woman.  So I find it deliciously ironic that I am subverting Elsa's style into a wearable basic in black (Coco's signature color.)  What can I say, ladies?  Both of you had rocking awesome ideas.

Next I decided to sew up the Peter Pan collar blouse in some ivory cotton shirting that has a little spandex.  I picked it because it was heavy enough not to need lining.  Sadly it does require ironing. Like the kitty bow, this version of the pattern sewed up beautifully, and here are the results....
I think I will get a lot of use out of these.  Anyone else sewing up basics?

Xx  Piper


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