Disclaimer: I like historical fashions, but I am not a historian. I am a sewist. I don’t strive for historical accuracy, though I think it’s interesting when others do. If you’re a stickler for historical correctness, please stop reading and come back again tomorrow. This post will make your skin crawl.
(A gorgeous range of blouse fronts and backs from The Dreamstress)
That said, I’m casting around for inspiration to make myself a “flavor of 1912” blouse. It has to suit my style, my habits and I would like it to work well with at least 5 other garments. That means I’m looking for simple, tailored lines with a quirky detail or two for fun. These are a few of my favorites, the blouses I pick apart in my mind as I go to sleep.
This lovely thing comes from Making Changes. It’s one of several illustrations posted from a Mary Brooks Pickens sewing manual. Though the manual was published in 1921, this blouse is closer to Lady Sybil than a snake-hipped flapper. I like the crossover front and wide lapels- it would look gorgeous in a sheer fabric. The layers would keep you covered up without much bulk at all.
The shape of the collar and lapels are similar on this blouse, one of a bonanza of lovely period illustrations Wearing History posted some time ago. I’m not sure I like all the lacework (which has turned me off Edwardian blouses in the past) but I do like the shape.
I couldn’t help but notice this simple but elegant blouse cropping up repeatedly on Downton Abbey- both seasons. After I took the screenshots, I realized this is the same pattern, different fabrics. I find myself drawn to details like its borders, the elbow length sleeves and the gentle fullness gathered to a waistband (instant waist definition!). Once I knock out a few more pressing projects, I’ll definitely try my hand at this. Could you imagine it with a bolder contrast?
In fact the cut reminds me of the blouse on the left. Leimomi posted this several weeks ago, and I can’t quit thinking about it. Do you think this blouse also has a contrast inset running from shoulder to waist, or is that a dart? Would a contrast band there work well? Just one, for an asymmetrical look…
How essential do you consider lace, laciness, heirloom sewing techniques (pintucking, drawn thread work, hem-stitching, etc), and embroidery to get the “Edwardian” look? What do you think of a more tailored, sensible approach to the era?
*Francois Robert doesn’t let people play with his images, which is why I immediately scrapped a project in the works. Check out some of his work with human bones and messages of non-violence.
Psst- Jodie and Karin, check your email boxes shortly for the tester’s version of the Bow Tie Tee. Everyone who is not Jodie and Karin and who offered to help me out: Thank you! I’ll need more testers in the future. The very near future.