1970s | Blouses

Dig My Wide Collar – 1973 Simplicity 6110 Blouse

By on September 5, 2016
Simplicity 6110, copyright 1973

Simplicity 6110, Misses’ Blouse, Skirt and Pants

Seventies fashion always makes me smile.  I absolutely love the exuberance of this era’s designs:  cheerful, big buttons, the oh-so wide pointy collar that spreads from sleeve cap to shining sleeve cap, it all makes me grin.

S6110 frontAccording to the envelope, “This design has the new narrow shoulder look.  The shoulder length of the pattern is shorter and the head of the sleeve is higher.”

I sewed this up using Michael Miller’s “Little Lifesavers” quilting cotton.   This type of fabric is perfect for the way I wash and wear clothes.  That is to say, hot water, high heat in the dryer, and I’ll likely spill something down the front every other wearing.

S6110 back full lengthFitting was simple, as there is no bust dart.  Instead, the front is gathered into yokes.  By comparing the measurement of the pattern to a blouse that fits, I determined I only need to make a rounded upper back and swayback adjustment.

I also shortened the sleeves about an inch and a quarter.  Otherwise, they end at my elbow crease, making my waist look wide.  Between the wide collar and the short, cuffed sleeves, it appears I have a waist (I’m actually pretty square).

Can you dig my exuberant collar?
Can you dig my exuberant collar?

I wanted to emphasize the very pointed collar and cuffs.  I tried Pellon 950S, ShirTailor, which gave a crisp feel to both.

Sewing the blouse was incredibly straight forward.  The instructions are clearly written, and the diagrams quite helpful.

Cuff Detail
Cuff Detail

The oversize buttons that I love didn’t look quite right down the front of the blouse.  I happened to have two sets of the same orange buttons in different diameters.  What can I say?  I like orange buttons, so I have a lot of them.  The three-quarter inch diameter buttons matched the scale of the little lifesavers, and I like the effect much better.

But the cuffs, oh, man, the cuffs were made for the orange 1 1/8″ buttons.  The sheer exuberance of oversize orange buttons makes me so happy!


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Simplicity 6161: A Swinging Seventies Polka Dot Blouse

By on September 7, 2015
S6161 envelope
Simplicity 6161 circa 1970

I love the 1970s.  I was a teenager then, and a pretty happy one, so these styles make me grin.  This pattern reminds me of junior high.

I bought this polka dot fabric to match my eyes and hair, besides, polka dots are cheerful, just right for a wide-collared shirt with turn-back cuffs.

Yup, should’ve made a swayback correction.

This pattern is a size 16; I normally start with 14.  I compared the pattern with a RTW shirt that fits and is comfy.  This size 16 pattern wouldn’t need added width in the torso, it was right on!

That doesn’t mean zero changes.  I shortened 1″ at the waist, did a 3/8″ high back adjustment.  Why didn’t I do my usual swayback correction?  Uh, dunno.  Should have.

Didn’t think  about the shoulder seams, which are about one inch off my shoulder.  The stand-up gathered sleeves balance everything out.

I'm in my happy shirt.
I’m in my happy shirt.

The buttonholes are too far from the edge.  I’m learning to pay attention to that dimension.  The pattern calls for 1″ buttons and the buttonhole markings on the blouse front are 1″ from the fold.  Is that a rule?  Place your buttonholes the same distance from the edge as the diameter of your buttons?  I’ll make a note to practice it on my next projects.  But today I used three 5/8″ buttons from my stash, and they would look better closer to the blouse edge.

Doesn’t any of it matter, because I LOVE LOVE LOVE this shirt!  It makes me happy.

Pattern: Simplicity 6161 circa 1973, eBay
Cloth:  Michael Miller Ta Dot, from M&L Fabrics
Buttons: Stash

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Simplicity 4260 Simple to Make Dress with Wonderful Neckline

By on July 30, 2015

20150727_182955-1Hello, all, this is my first posting on We Sew Retro.  I follow the Cennetta, at http://themahoganystylist.blogspot.com/, and she led me here.

The pattern’s awesome neckline first caught my eye.  And it has POCKETS.  That would’ve been enough,  but I spotted the notch in the kimono sleeve, and I was sold.

The dress is described on the pattern envelop as: “Simple to Make” dress has short kimono sleeves and bodice underarm section for freedom of action. Concealed pockets in flared skirt are optional.”  Pockets optional?  Not in my world.

20150725_145051 (2)I wanted to make a 1950’s style dress for this year’s Sausage Fest at Anaheim Brewery .  It’s a local event with a Rockabilly band, and lots of 1950s style on the guests.  Big, gathered skirts aren’t a great look on me, so I like that the pattern’s flat at the skirt’s waist like this one.


I'm crazy about this neckline.  Is it a W? An M?
I’m crazy about this neckline. Is it a W? An M?

I got my fabric at Fabric Depot in Portland.  I love green, it makes my hazel eyes stand out.  The fabric is 100% cotton, green lattice with small black leafy fronds.  It wasn’t till I was laying out the pattern that I read the selvedge and learned that it was a Mary Engelbreit.

This was my first time sewing a truly vintage pattern, and it was a pleasure.  The instructions were clear, and the line drawings accurate.

I make a 3/8″ high back adjustment, 1/2 ” swayback, and took off 1 1/2 inches off the hem.  There’s no darts, just a large pleat at each front shoulder, and four smaller pleats on the front and back bodice.  No FBA?  Why, yes, this is Simple to Make.

Freedom of action - bias sections under the arm.
Freedom of action – bias sections under the arm.

It doesn’t call for interfacing, but I added it to the bodice facing.  Then, when it was time to sew the buttons and button holes, I went, huh.  Should’ve interfaced down the front of the skirt, too.  So I cut some strips and steamed them in place.  I skipped most of the topstitching, since this pattern has plenty going on.

FB_IMG_1438049923464 (2)It wasn’t till I wore it that I realized how effective the bias sections under the arms are.  Just a little give when you reach for something. Freedom of action, baby, yeah!

My dress and I had a blast at Sausage Fest.  Here’s me photo-bombing the lead singer, Amber Foxx.

Thanks for reading.



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