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Embroidered 1910’s blouse

Cross-posted to my blog Isis’ Wardrobe http://isiswardrobe.blogspot.dk/

This is probably my oldest project and I’m very pleased to have it out of my way. The blouse with its embroideries were bought as a kit for about 15 years ago! It is a reproduction, so cut and embroidery are based on an actual blouse from the 1910’s. I worked on it on and off for a couple of years until the embroideries were done, but for the last ten years, or so, it has been waiting to be sewn together. I thank The Historically Sew Fortnightly project for giving me a nudge to finally finish it.


The blouse is in linen and the embroideries in whitework in linen thread. Both back and front have embroideries as well as the collar and the cuffs. The shape is rather simple, though the side seams are curved to give the blouse some shape.

As I started this project such a long time ago I found that the blouse was now a bit too small over the bust. In my stash I found some linen lace that my grandmother had made, so I mounted that on a piece of leftover linen and inserted that at the front. That probably made the blouse a bit more un-correct for the time as that made the blouse so wide that it is now possible to pull it over my head. As I wanted to finish it I decided to leave the buttons out. However, the insert that made the bust part in the right size, also made it too wide above it.

When I was finishing it yesterday I felt at loss on how to cope with that without destroying the embroideries as my mind only came up with darts. For this photo I solved it by fold the surplus and hold it together. Now when I look at the pictures I realise that I can, of course, unpick the neck and cut away some fabric at the centre front before re-attaching it to the lace. Oh well, it is wearable as it is now, so for now I will call it a day.

About the author: Who am I? Happily growing older and trying to have as much fun in the meantime. Lives in the vicinity of Stockholm, mainly ruled by five cats. Sewing makes me happy, so I try to do it every day. Writes about the 18th century and various other sewing projects in Isis’ Wardrobe and about creating a 1940’s wardrobe in Fashionably Forties.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Anthea January 14, 2013, 5:18 am

    Wow amazing! I really like it! Well done

  • Marie January 14, 2013, 6:19 am

    Wow, you put so much intricate work into this! It’s beautiful, very well done!

  • Mainelydad January 14, 2013, 7:05 am

    Amazing. The addition of the pin is actually quite charming.

    • Isis January 15, 2013, 2:59 am

      Thank you! I’m glad you don’t think it looks odd!

  • Valerie January 14, 2013, 7:55 am

    I thought the tucks were a design feature! They look very feminine, especially with the brooch. Your embroidery is amazing! I’ve been working on a handkerchief in linen done in whitework (plain ole DMC however) for ages. I can appreciate the time involved in something this monumental. Whitework is so pretty and yours is stunning. Congrats on completing it! And can you imagine prolific embroiderers would churn things like this out all the time back when? With no modern conveniences to assist in daily life no less.

  • Elise Lin January 14, 2013, 8:10 am

    That embroidery is gorgeous! That must have been a massive amount of work. Your blouse looks beautiful.

  • Jessamyn January 14, 2013, 8:27 am

    Beautiful work, and it looks really well on you! Congratulations on actually seeing such an old project through to completion. It’s really hard to pick up again such old work, but well worth it here!

    If you were to insert half-width lace into each side seam rather than the center front, you would probably get the bust volume you need without affecting the neckline or forcing an off-grain solution at the CF. However, unless there’s enough in the sleeve seams, you would also have to add a tapered gore to the sleeve at the underarm.

  • Katherine January 14, 2013, 9:08 am

    I think this is my favorite project of yours – very pretty. Well done!

  • Michelle January 14, 2013, 12:30 pm

    WOW! There is an incredible amount of workmanship in this blouse! Beautiful.

  • Anne January 14, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! I completely understand how daunting it must have been to discipline yourself to complete this project. Well done!

  • EmSewCrazy January 14, 2013, 1:16 pm

    That is beautiful! Good job finishing, all that lovely embroidery deserves to be displayed!

  • Foster January 14, 2013, 4:15 pm

    Beautiful embroidery!

  • Jeanne de G. January 15, 2013, 3:33 am

    Whaou!! such a great work! The embroideries are son beautiful! Good job!

  • Erika January 15, 2013, 3:34 am

    Wonderful job on such an ambitious project! I’m sure it felt wonderful to complete it after 15 years!

  • Tant Monokrom January 18, 2013, 5:17 am

    That is so beautiful, congratulations!

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