Battle of the Blouse: 1930’s

I really, really want to love 1930’s blouses. Now is not the time or place to recount my fierce love-hate relationship with all garments Art Deco. As aforementioned, I am a vintage pattern decade slut: generally mid-thirties, late forties, and early to mid-fifties. I can’t pass up an interesting blouse pattern to save my life.

Enter: Tourniquet Blouse. That’s View B. Pattern altered for full bust and “I have enough protein in my diet because it isn’t the Depression” biceps. I decided to take in the extra space created by the FBA below the bust with a pair of double pointed darts.

Score: Me-1, Tourniquet Blouse-0

I plan to use a touch of black embroidered tulle lace at the bottom of the sleeve, but nowhere else. I spent the better part of ten days attempting to cut the blouse and all the bias and non-bias ties from wiggly blue china silk, eventually I tamed it with some Best Press.

Score: Me-2, Tourniquet Blouse-0

I used the finest, sharpest needle I could find for my machine- Janome size 9. Seams and darts pucker disgustingly. I threw it into a heap.

Score: Me-2, Tourniquet Blouse-1

Picked it up from the heap the next day because I will not be beaten by an inanimate object. The original pattern does not call for it, but I realized I would need a side zip. Carefully prepared seam, fused some strips of light interfacing to the seam allowances for stability. Seam still puckers horrifically, and I have a puddle of fabric in the small of my back when I zip up. Probably the belt would adequately hide those issues, though I hate having to hide construction flaws. I feel it cheapens my craft.

Score: Me-2, Tourniquet Blouse-2

Never one to quit, I discovered the Lightning Bolt stitch. It works well as a stretch stitch, it works as a reinforced stitch, and it works to make seams on delicate fabrics without puckering. Stitch 10 below.

Harnessing the power of the lightning bolt stitch, I sewed the two front tie facings to the front without a pucker. Trimmed down the seam allowances, turned and pressed. Beautiful enough to make your grandmother weep.

Score: Me-3, Tourniquet Blouse-2

Then I realized I had sewn the ties on, but they were sewn different ways. The instructions are surprisingly vague and sparse, even for the Thirties.

Score: Me-3, Tourniquet Blouse-3

The blouse and I find ourselves at a stalemate.(sidebar-I only ever use cream, black or gray overlocking thread.) I can make this mess match the lovely blouse in my head, but it will take drastic action. A new plan of attack.For the love of Pete, I must not touch this blouse again until I have made View A.

I bought 2m of black cotton voile tonight and will make it up for View A. I plan to trim it with some fetching black looped trim. I have a suspicion that looped trim belongs on bordello lampshades rather than the cuffs of lady-like blouses. However, I have a working theory that black anything will always be acceptable.

I worked with the voile in question extensively in the past. It is light and soft and stable. Washes and wears well, too. I can use it as a wearable muslin and attack the Touniquet Blouse. Example- leave out the under bust darts so I can pull it over my head and forgo the troublesome side zip. The midriff belt section provides enough shaping. I should have seen that from the beginning.

In truth, I’ll probably get more wear from the bordello lampshade blouse. I love black dresses, black blouses.


  1. That battle has been epic – I would have conceded, definitely!I love the lightning bolt stitch but I would have never thought I could use it on anything but knits! I'm going to have to try that. Did you use a walking foot? I just finally unwrapped mine and it made a huge difference on slippery stuff.

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