1950s | Blouses | Skirts

New York 1263 (1950’s) and dirndl skirt

August 5, 2012

I made this skirt a while back but didn’t want to post it until I had an appropriate blouse.  I was, until about an hour ago, the only woman in the Western world who didn’t own a white blouse.  One white T-shirt, yes, and one decrepit white camisole fit only for sleepwear, but no white blouses.  Shocking.

Situation remedied.

New York 1263 isn’t dated but is probably from the mid-1950’s.

I liked the extended shoulder line because it’s more flattering than a plain sleeveless blouse, but the sleeveless-ness is still sort of breezy and casual.  I like the slightly-dramatic but not overpowering lapels in version 1, and I always love pockets.

I knew there would be fitting issues, because there always are, and, after a recent monumental disappointment involving a 1940’s sundress, I disciplined myself to measure and make a proper muslin.  Yes, I can be taught.

I got out a blouse I owned, tried it on, and measured it.  The  back was too narrow although the front fit pretty well.  I didn’t like the set-in cap sleeves because they cut into my arms, but that wasn’t an issue here.  (Actually, I finally decided I liked my sample blouse so little I would Goodwill it.  Kind of a bonus lesson.)

I changed:
1) Took two inches out of the front.  The measurements of the actual pattern (<–something else I’ve never had the patience to do before: Measure the pattern!) told me that the blouse would have way more bust than I do, so I reduced it a size below the armscyes.
2) Added two inches width to the upper back.I also added two 1/2-inch darts at the shoulder seam to compensate.  I thought this might make the upper back too round but it worked beautifully.  I can now reach forward without my blouse biting my armpits.
3) Lengthened the body.  I’m slightly taller than average and I have a long torso.  I’m sick of not being able to get blouses that stay tucked in.
4) Split the waist tucks into two.  I did the prescribed one-tuck-per-blouse-quadrant on the muslin and it worked, but things were blousy in places that, while not uncomfortable, could have been more flattering.  I did two smaller tucks per quadrant instead to distribute the blousiness a little more evenly.  I realize this changes the design of the blouse rather dramatically but I think it looks better on me, especially since I had to add that back width.
5) Did four buttons instead of three.  The longer body needed one more button, and the topmost button is set higher than recommended because I have a thin upper chest and necklines tend to be more open on me than they’re meant to be.
6) Lowered the bust dart a whole lot and rotated it slightly downward.  Longer body, low bust.
7) Left the waist tucks free at the bottom instead of continuing them all the way to the hem, to accommodate my big hips.

(I knew this going into the project) but the directions for the armscye facings were totally wack.  They had you seaming the bottom of the facings, which mean that seam would have been perpendicular to the side-seam of the blouse, which flat-out makes no sense.  there were no pictures of this in the directions, which suggests to me that they knew they were wrong but were too lazy to explain it better.  This isn’t the first time I’ve seen armscye facings fudged, though.

Flickr set here.  It’s not complete but there are some close-ups.

The skirt is a no-pattern dirndl made from a remnant of upholstery-weight pink cotton chambray that I got for $2.50 at Wal-Mart.  The waistband, pockets, and hem facing are lined in scraps of pink gingham cotton-polyester left over from another dress.

I feel like this needs saddle shoes, but I don’t have any so I wore loafers instead.

Necklace: Gold-tone scarab and turquoise beads, from the Houston Museum of Natural science.  Gift from my mother.

Shoes: Eastland penny-loafers.  Purchased on eBay.  These are nice; I have another pair in a different color that are awful–stiff and aggressively callus-inducing.  I don’t know what happened.

  1. It looks great! I don’t have a white blouse either; in fact I don’t have any blouses to speak of, it’s a serious lack in my wardrobe I need to deal with!

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