Monday, November 18, 2013

1950's Blouse - Eva Dress Pattern

I added non-woven interfacing to this final collar, because I wanted something stiffer. 
You can flip the top ear down, but I like the option of having it stick up to change
the look of the blouse. 

If you've been wondering what I've been up to, it's mostly been studying.  But I did sneak in some sewing in small bits this past month.  I stumbled across Eva Patterns online, mostly by accident and started trolling other blogs where sewists have used her patterns.  What I liked about the patterns are the range of sizes. I was feeling confident and decided to pick up a couple of patterns and see how I would fair with some vintage styles: a 1920's dress and this 1950's blouse

The back came out straight too. 
I'm going to call this blouse "Lucille" after Lucille Ball. I think it's something she would wear, and may be even in these colors if her shows were in color. Excuse the unfinished hem. I decided to shoot the pictures before finishing everything by hand.  The fabric is 100% light stretch cotton from Hart's Fabrics. It was part of my 2012 Spring stash purchase. I think the colors works year-round. Because the pattern is so large, I suggest 50" wide fabric. I made mine with 45", and I had to shave off 1.5 inches from the hem to complete it. So instead of a nice two inch hem I wanted to help weight the blouse down, I'm doing one instead and will probably add some hem tape for the weight.  

The pattern came three sizes too small, so it required some heavy duty grading, and a full muslin. The markings on the patterns took some getting used to and not your typical modern pattern markings.  I suggest everyone read through the instructions carefully.  In the end, I did have to use a lot of my drafting skills to figure things out for my body type.  If you're the right size for the pattern, then it will be a breeze to sew. 

I was nervous about using a striped fabric. I lined up the print so that they matched on both sides. I didn't know if the front was going to Chevron the way I wanted, because one never knows how these things will shift during cutting. 

Because I sized up so much, I had to create new facings for the pattern. The blouse itself is really one pattern with two cuts. It pattern looks hand drawn rather than machine. I loved the way the arm shape looked, and how the curves really matched my hip and French curve. This made for a beautiful pattern, but difficult to grade. I decided to add a facing to the sleeve opening and create a thin bound opening to stabilize the fabric. I have to warn you that the sleeve is very tapered by the time it reached my forearm. It's lovely to have something fitted and still have plenty of room to move, which the Kimono sleeve allows. 

Here is the first muslin, and after I tried this on, I felt like it still didn't have enough ease for me. I'm not used to the tailored fit of the 50's, and I still needed to add another inch to the hem. I think this blouse was meant to pair with a high waisted skirt. 

This is the second muslin I made from a slightly stretchy knit fabric I got for mostly free at FABMO. It's a really old print, and I thought it would be relatively painless to sew with, and I was right. The print is crazy, so you can't see the style lines. This muslin turned out well enough that I can keep it as a blouse. 

Gussets are my achilles heel. This pattern wants you to put a square gusset in after you sew up the arm seams.  I did that with this second muslin, but I think it took me almost as long as sewing the complete blouse to make this gusset work.  Sorry...I don't think you can see it very clearly here. I decided that for my final piece, I would use a half gusset, which is a triangle, stitch into each arm and then sew up the sleeve.  This is not a horrible way to do it, but it's not as pretty as a square gusset. I will admit now that my gusset still looked crappy with the final, and I didn't take pictures because I'm disappointed at how the corners puckered a bit.  Sigh.  I've never sewn a flat gusset, gore insert, or anything that required a clean point well.  A part of my subconscious must be adverse to sharp corners.   Happy sewing!

Construction notes:
1. Graded up three sizes, and added more ease 
2. Added a 2 inch facing to the sleeve cuff.
3. Added non-woven fusible interfacing to the bow facing as a stiffener.
4. Gusset is challenging
5. Short-waisted
6. Better with 50" wide fabric (2.5 yards)

Final: 45" wide 100% cotton: Hart's Fabric
Second Muslin: 45" wide vintage polyester knit, FABMO
Thread: polyester (Gutermann)
Interfacing from: Fashion Sewing Supply
Pattern: Eva Dress, $14.00 plus S/H