Making a Cotton Blouse 1940’s Style for the Country House Bank Project

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 Here is the second instalment of making a 1940s blouse…

The blouse has taken shape and the large panels are all joined. My next steps are to make and attach collar and cuffs.    The instructions look complicated!

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The collar in particular has a lot of small pieces. They all need attaching at the same time as the neck facing, I also decided to add an interfacing to give a little weight to the collar.

So ….. lots of small pieces of fabric and lots of small steps until it’s fully assembled.

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Here’s the collar stitched, turned the right way and pressed.

 

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The collar lapels need careful attention so that they are the same shape and the points are really neat. I top-stitched it to keep the interfacing flat and add some definition to the edge.

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Ta-daa! The collar is on!

I must admit I found an online tutorial which was extremely helpful.

It could have been written especially for me.

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Now for the cuffs, again a lot of small steps before adding to the sleeves.

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After sewing, this looks rather a muddle but turned and pressed, it really does become a cuff.

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Joining the cuff from the inside isn’t too difficult but pressing the seams neatly isn’t easy without a specialist tailoring item – a sleeve pressing board. I don’t have one.

This is where the 1940s’ concept of “making do” comes in very handy.

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Any ideas what my sleeve pressing board is created from?

 

. . a wooden rolling pin, wrapped in a towel and covered with a pillow case – it worked really well!

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The cuffs are turned, front facings and hem finished and pressed, now just two more stages. First adding buttons and button holes; we need to find some authentic buttons.

Then an essential addition to give that authentic, sharp 1940s’ look . . . . shoulder pads! There is a wonderful sentence in the original pattern instructions:

 

“Try on blouse, adjust shoulder pads on inside to make a becoming shoulder line.”

 

The next time you see this blouse it’ll probably be hanging in a wardrobe upstairs at Upton House as the property begins to embrace the changes brought about in 1940s when the Hill Samuel Bank staff left London to live at Upton.

You might even see someone wearing the blouse and don’t forget to look out for that “becoming” shoulder line!

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