sewing saturday! spring linen blouse, part one

sewing saturday - linen blouse, part one

Happy Easter! Hope you all are taking the slowest and easiest Sunday afternoon off right now. Neil and I spent the day with my parents - church in the morning and a lot of snacking on the porch before a late lunch of ham, mashed potatoes, and hummingbird cake made by my mom. Easter is the best.

And it's time for a warm weather sewing project. I realized the other day that my summer wardrobe is in need of a classic short sleeve collar blouse, so I set about making one in white linen from this Simplicity 3175 pattern, an old 1940s notion I bought a couple years back (when I bought the pattern to make the side-button bloomers in chambray). It's a simple pullover top with a pocket at the bust, bias tape trim at the neck, and optional button enclosure at the neck (which I opted out of).

What you need for this project.. 1 1/2 yards of fabric (for vintage size 14), matching thread, optional 3/8 inch button and loop, and matching bias tape or bias tape maker and a bit of extra fabric. Also - fabric weights (I use washers from the hardware store.. they're cheap and take less time than pins, also they don't hurt your pattern pieces), fabric marker, and iron.

sewing saturday - linen blouse, part one

I began by ironing out my pattern pieces and fabric. If you're using linen like me, you might want to refer to this site to recognize the right and wrong side of the fabric (it's hard to tell with linen).

I included the photo of the ironed-out pattern pieces to give anyone who isn't familiar with vintage sewing patterns a glimpse of an unprinted pattern, which can seem a little weird to those sewing with them for the first time. Pre-late 1940s sewing notions are generally unprinted, which means they have perforations and holes in place of writing and printed markings. They're really not that tough to figure out, since the directions will tell you what the perforations are for.. for instance, the three large holes on the two bodice pieces and the collar piece indicate that the marked side should be placed on the fold. You can also tell where darts should be sewed in by the dots. The instructions tell you to sew at a 1/2 inch seam allowance with this pattern (rather than the standard 5/8 inch), so markings aren't necessary with instructions.


First step once the pieces are cut out is to cut an opening in the center top of the front bodice piece, stopping where the small dot is located (about six inches).

Next, it's double fold bias tape time. I like making my own bias tape, which I learned from this handy tutorial from the Coletterie. When you make your own, you can make it from matching fabric so your garment looks consistent (which is awesome). You'll need bias tape to line the opening you just cut at the neck, so twice the length of the cut (so about 12 inches).

To begin, cut a square of fabric with selvage edge down (see here for a diagram on fabric edges). Measure the square of fabric diagonally to make sure it's longer than 12 inches. Pull the fabric diagonally - it should stretch (which means it's on the bias). Cut a one-inch strip diagonally and pull it on each end to make sure it stretches.


Now, run the fabric strip through the bias tape maker (I had a 1/2 inch bias tape maker which calls for a one inch-wide strip of fabric). I highly recommend using a Clover bias tape maker, found here. There is an opening at the bottom of the maker that allows you to feed the fabric through, which is really helpful. As you run the fabric through the maker, iron it as it comes out to keep the folds together.


Now you have single fold bias tape, 1/2 inch wide. To make it double fold, fold it hot dog style, open edges inward, and press it.


Now, sew the tape to the opening of the blouse, folding the tape edges over the opening edges.


That's it for this week.. next weekend, I'll finish the blouse by piecing it together - collar, sleeves, bodice, and small bust pocket.

Spring handmade collection coming tomorrow!