If 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:
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!
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.
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.