Clownie

1 Clownie 6

Tamara's blouseIf you watched the second series of The Great British Sewing Bee, you may have been charmed by the 1930s blouse made in Episode 6.  Tamara’s blouse in muted, natural colours particularly evoked the era for me.  When I found out that the publishers Quadrille had made many of the patterns from the series available for free download from here, I printed out the pattern and took a sneaky peek at the instructions in the book that had been kindly donated for my Sewing Bee Challenge.  This is the result:

1 Clownie 4

I have mixed feelings about it.  I’d disregarded the advice to make this from something drapey and went instead with poplin (I ripped up a dress I made two years ago so you could say this is a genuine refashioning project).  Although the flowers are exotic, the largeness of them makes me feel like I’m the kind of chintz sofa that was fashionable in the 1980s and can now be found fading away in dilapidating English conservatories.  I also feel rather broad and puffed, like I’m wearing a clown suit.

On the other hand, it’s a look I suspect would work quite well with a pencil skirt, heels and Winehouse-style make-up.  It’s worth giving this a go, even if just to scare the kids!

1 CollarPattern changes made: I added shirring to the centre bottom of the sleeves (in the pattern, the area is cut away).  I also pleated the sleeve head rather than gathered it.

Sizing for this pattern (and other downloads from the book) can be obtained from here.  It’s pretty standard.  According the chart, I’m a 14 but I made 12 anyway.  The muslin I made fit perfectly on the waist though had to be taken in a good 5cm in the shoulders and under the armpits.  The instructions aren’t available from the download.  For that, you have to buy the book and even then, there isn’t that much detail and there certainly aren’t enough diagrams.  I mean, I’m still not sure what a placket is supposed to look like.

You’re all very welcome to snigger viciously at my pathetic attempt at it:1 Oh, plack it!

Should I decide this blouse is a keeper, you can bet I’ll be replacing the placket with an invisible zip.  Boy, wasn’t the 20th century clever with its inventions like the zip!?  And rockets.  But best, zips.

1 Leftovers mmm

1 1930s Blouse

16 thoughts on “Clownie

  1. Isn’t a placket – where it is on this blouse – just a lapped zip?? Or is it something different? Somebody will enlighten me I’m sure.
    You are a clever whatsit. I liked the look of that blouse too but was intimidated by the genuine vintage 30s pattern angst and, if I’m honest, by the shirring. You’ve done really well to make it without comprehensive instructions and I like the shirring on the sleeves.
    Perhaps, in a drapier faric, you wouldn’t have so much ‘puff’. Those blooms would drown me but you look as if you are a tall, willowy person – with strong colouring – so could get away with it.

    • Sadly, not tall and willowy but 1.62m with big hips… All photographs revealing this get deleted and the photographer shot!

      The placket is supposed to be not visible with stitching inside the SA – totally unlike mine – and harks back from when zips didn’t exist. Not sure if shirring elastic was available in the 30s though?

  2. Thank you so much for giving this link. I loved this blouse pattern on the show so am now very happy to have it for myself 🙂
    Your version looks fab! I’ve actually been making a placket today on a blouse I’m making and have used an old drafting book to help me. Basically I’ve stitched a 2″ wide rectangle to each side seam where the placket is needed and turned them to the inside, turned the raw edges in and then hand stitched it to the seam allowance. Catch stitch them together on the inside at the top to help them stay together. The stitches shouldn’t be visible on the right side. Poppers can then be added to close the blouse.
    Hope this helps with any placket queries?

    • Wow, that’s wonderful instructions! Thanks for that.

      To anyone making this from the pdf,
      If you look at the pattern pieces for the bodice, there are extensions to the side seams for making the placket on both right and left. If anyone is confused, the instructions say to cut them off on the right hand side (both front and back) so that everything is in line with the seam allowance. The placket is only made on one side.

      • Hi, If you’d like a copy of the instructions I used I can send it to you?
        I’ve printed off the pattern and did frown at the side seams. (What’s that extra bit?) Thank you for explaining.
        This pattern is defo in my stash…

  3. And hairdryers!

    Your fabric is amazing and well done on making this. It looks just perfect when your hair is up – very 1930s. Yeah, bring it up to date with a zip – the placket looks a little breezy…..

  4. I’d love to know how the placket works. Is it just a hole or is there a fold of fabric behind it to prevent it gaping?

    I think it’s very pretty by the way but not your usual style which might be any you are in two minds about it.

  5. Your clownie looks lovely. Thanks for the lead on the pattern. I haven’t made clothes in a while but I’m getting tempted now to start again.

  6. It looks lovely. Although I think I agree with you about drapey fabric. Thanks for heads up about placket / zip. It’s on my list too as I have the book! Thank you again.

  7. The side view looks lovely (how do you keep that tiny waist after having children???). I think the front would be improved worn with a pencil skirt as you say and you could even make this pattern as a dress by extending the peplum. I did have a little snigger at the placket – sorry – how ever did people wear those things? I think you’ve done a great job on this, it has some lovely features.

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