I have coveted the beautiful double collar blouse Wallis Simpson wore during a cruise with Edward VIII in 1936 ever since I first saw the photograph many years ago. I love the fact that despite it being a very simple design it has lots and lots of gorgeous detailing on it. I also love the way it fits her so perfectly, so I was inspired to make my own version for my 1930s wardrobe. However, I didn’t want to do a direct copy of it but rather take the details of it and make my own version.
I drafted the pattern myself from some old pattern blocks I made at college and it took two mock ups to get the fit just right. I wanted it to fit snuggly enough that it looked like a tailored shirt but also loose enough so I could move in it. The measurement across the shoulder blades was the trickiest, mainly because I was trying to do it on myself in the mirror!
The olive and burgundy berry cotton fabric came from my favourite fabric shop, ClothSpot and I knew it would go perfectly with the calf length burgundy skirt I’d recently made from an original 1930s sewing pattern. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do in terms of the detailing and what colours I wanted them to be but it was worth taking the time to get it right.
The largest of the two collars was also self drafted using my oh-so-faithful pattern cutting book, Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear by Winifred Aldrich. I then traced it again and took about two centimetres off the outside edges to create the second one. The burgundy cotton was from my very big fabric stash and the ivory was rushed to me by ClothSpot after I discovered that I only had white or cream and neither of them were quite right.
The buttons are self-covered just like the ones on Wallis’ blouse and I also had the belt buckle covered for me by the London Button Company. I’d never used them before but I would highly recommend them to anyone, they were very quick and very helpful when I had questions. As the name suggests they also do buttons, all of which you can have covered in your own fabric, as well as a good range of buckles.
The buckle and the belt, which I made myself, is done in the same wool crepe type fabric of the skirt so it can be worn on top of the blouse or around the waistband of the skirt. This allows me to tuck the blouse in if I wish.
If you would like to read more about my version of Wallis Simpson’s 1930s blouse and see more photos, feel free to pop over to my blog.