Pattern: This is from the 1912 Project, #0219 Ladies Blouse.
Rating: 3 good/average
Skill Level: I’m a beginner, but this was challenging enough I may have earned the right to call myself advanced beginner, or at the very least intermediate.
My recommendation is that this would not be good for your first project, but if you’re learning and ready to do some careful adjustments, this one could be a good way to learn the ins and outs of vintage pattern use.
Fabric: I found a nifty designer cotton that was probably meant for quilting but was soft enough for a blouse. I also used most of three packs of piping, and I have two cards of six buttons, most of which are going on there.
It does, in fact look like the photo once you get it together, in spite of how weird it looks when you cut it out. Directions were sparse, as in: a cutting diagram only, not words. I have enough experience I knew what to do with it once I got it and while it took a bit of time figure out how to get this one together, I’m glad I gave it extra planning. Reading other blogs of the same project gave me some clues how I might need to adjust the fit.
What I liked: I really liked the pleats, and this is my first opportunity to do piping.
I didn’t like: the lack of instructions, I’d have liked some guidance because I’m still not sure I did the pleats right. But sometimes lack of instructions makes for a good learning experience and I never let the lack of guidance stop me when I want to do something interesting.
This is the strangest pattern I’ve ever used. When I got it cut out, I puzzled a long time over how these parts made a blouse. The sleeve, front and back are one entire piece. That’s weird! Usually, in modern patterns, your sleeves are one piece, the front is another piece or pieces, and the back is its own piece or pieces. This is single unit and it’s half your garment. The yolk is very wide, which is another clue you’re using a hundred year old pattern. Modern yokes tend to be, well, square, lately. Though I did see a pattern online from about the 1970s with a similar yoke to this.
When I got a good look at this blouse, I realized that the back was short, just like I had learned from other bloggers using this pattern. So, my solution was to create a back piece to mirror the front so the blouse could be worn in a different way than originally intended. I also made the front slight ly longer, too. My plan wasn’t so much to create a historical replica as it was to take a historical item and modernize it. So, once I modified the back of the pattern and made it longer, I had a garment more likely to be worn with pants. I also had to enlarge everything by about two inches to accommodate my, um, attributes, which are a size up from the patterns’. I made the button strip longer to adjust for my lengthening the blouse and widening it a little for me. The sides got adjusted, too. I made them more fitted, since I wasn’t likely to tuck this blouse in, so now they nip in at the waist instead of poof out in a pouter pigeon silhouette. My future plans for this garment also include removing the stiff collar shown and softening the neckline somehow. Maybe a mandarin collar instead. No bow tie. I also plan on adding cuffs to the sleeves, since there aren’t any even though their existence in implied in the picture.
Unintended consequence: The lengthened back reminds me of a more nineteenth century look. Hm. I guess sometimes modernizing doesn’t come out the way you’d expect.
The sleeves sort of roll up and hitch together at the place where the pattern has you cut into the side seam for about and inch or so to creat a space for your underarm. It’s very strange. It was so strange, while I was testing the fit, I considered cutting the sleeves off and reattaching them after modifying them to make a more modern fit. I held off from doing that to see what would happen. After all, if this worked a hundred years ago, maybe it still does. Well, yes, it does, but first I had to make some adjustments to where the yoke was hitting my shoulder so that the underarm seam worked. I brought everything up higher and that helped a lot, because originally the seam hit me slightly below the shoulder, and that had to be moved so I could move my arms without pulling the fabric.
Once I got the arm seams worked out, I had to fit the sides. The blouse was very wide on me because it was meant to poof out from a high-waisted skirt. I ran it in about 6 inches in some places. Remember, I widened it and lengthened it, and I no doubt overdid it when I adjusted. But, better to have generous fabric allowances you can trim down than not enough, right?
Most of the other parts went together as expected. I did very little to modify it after the side seams. I learned to use piping, and to install it I got out the zipper foot and used that. I’m not sure if that’s how you insert piping, but that’s what worked. I did do another classic newbie mistake, which was: don’t work when you’re tired, you’ll do something stupid.
The stupid thing I did: I put the button placket on the wrong side. That is, it would be on the wrong side for a woman. Guys’ clothes tend to have buttons on the right side, and mine were supposed to be on the left. My answer to this is going to be to try not to do that again…..I hate ripping out seams. Good things that came from this: I haven’t got any button holes in yet, so it’s still fixable. Bad things: at press time, the garment isn’t quite finished for the end of the year, but I wanted to make my last post now that the 1912 project is at an end with Dec 31st. However, it is coming along pretty well, and I think I’m going to be pleased with it. It was a cool experiment to work with patterns from the previous century and I’m glad I did it.