1960s | Blouses

1965 Blouse: Simplicity 5885

April 23, 2014

In my attempt to keep up with recent goals of making things for myself and also using my vintage pattern stash, I chose this 1965 blouse pattern – View 4:

1965 Simplicity 5885

This was my first button backed top pattern. I like the idea, but honestly I’m not sure why this was so popular, as doing it up yourself is a little challenging – and that’s without wearing a girdle as most likely you would be in this era. I cannot imagine having to do up more than 4 buttons this way without a ladies’ maid.

Modified Simplicity 5885 (1965)
Modified Simplicity 5885 (1965) Back view.

The collar was of course very high and tight, so I lowered it in the front to make it more comfortable. I also took in the side seams a little to give the blouse some shape. It’s actually a pretty boxy design – ok if paired with a nipped waist skirt, but I wanted to be able to wear it untucked as well. The nice thing about making up new garments from vintage patterns is that I don’t feel guilty when making alterations! The nearly finished version of this blouse was relegated to the UFO pile for months awaiting a solution to the excessive ease issue that did not involve completely re-making it. See the ‘before’ pics on the original post here.


Simplicity 5885 Modified centre front with pin tucks.
Simplicity 5885 with a skirt.

In the end, I ended up having to remove the collar tabs and most of the neckline facing. I took about an inch out of the centre front by way of pin tucks, which also help give it a nicer line. I also extended the back shoulder darts down to the waist to help pull it in a bit more. It’s still a little on the boxy side, and if I make it again I’ll be sure to grade the whole thing down from the start. It does improve the look to wear it with a skirt or high waist pants. In the meantime, I’m planning to try out some other quick tops for summer from the vintage pattern stash.


  1. Love the collar on this, and while I think the button back looks sharp, like you, I can’t see it as being practical. I can imagine struggling with them and then asking my BF to finish dressing me. Um.. no!! LOL

  2. It’s great! The polka-dots! The collar (which overlaps like flower petals)! I have very loose shoulders so would have no trouble w/ those buttons–LOVE them too!

    Thanks for sharing it with us!

  3. That’s super cute! What a great combination of pattern and fabric… and of vintage yet totally current and wearable everyday. Thanks for sharing!

  4. A husband is a handy thing for back buttons – though he’s generally more enthusiastic about undoing them than doing them up.

  5. Thanks everyone! I did like the petal collar as an alternative to the more standard shapes. I haven’t quite figured out how to wear it with a sweater though. The petals present a challenge there… The few buttons are good for doing up easily, but do tend to let the back gape when moving. I might end up adding sneaky secret snaps between them to preserve the line.

  6. I love the finished result, and admire you for making it work! I don’t think I could have stuck with it that long. That collar will really draw the eye to your face, and the fabric will make the blouse go with any color. The thing about the back buttons is that it was still very unusual in that era for a woman to live alone, so someone was usually around to button you up. Also the boxy cut may have been so you could button it up part way then slip it on and just deal with the top buttons. I have been thinking about it lately because I love the look!

  7. I love your blouse. The tucks at the front look fab as does the petal collar. I too love the look of buttons on the back and have made a couple of tops with them on the back. I find it easiest to leave the middle buttons done up before I wriggle into my blouse then I only have the top and bottom ones to be a gymnast with!

  8. Omg! I love the clever idea of putting a t-shirt on your adjustable dress form. Very clever. Perfect when you need to pin where a gap would usually be.

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