This weeks’ Sew Weekly Challenge is “VIP Stash” fabrics- Check out my “Sisters of Edwardia” write-up on Sew Weekly. I got up off my keester and put together the blouse that’s been living in my head for a while. It’s based on the several blouses that Lady Sybil and Lady Edith wear on Downton Abbey:
The body of the blouse uses less than 1m of fabric. I used printed silk twill and obsessed over the border fabric until I re-discovered a worn out silk-cotton radiance blouse in my ragbag. I’m happy it will have a second life, and the faded red radiance tones in with the print.
The sleeves are cut on to the blouse, lie along the bias of the fabric and hit below the elbow with a relaxed fit. They have a border band of fabric around the hem of the sleeve, the neckline, and the bottom of the blouse. The blouse needs gussets to allow for free range of motion, and the CF features a minimalistic nod to the “pigeon front” blousing so popular at the time. The blouse closes on the side with an invisible zipper.
I like this blouse, but I plan to shorten the sleeves on the pattern so they graze my elbow and will tighten up the neckline.
I meant it when I said “free range of motion.” Though it’s a lady-like cut and made of pretty silk twill, I can reach and bend and twist in this top. Mobility is important to me- after all I’m not a lady of leisure like the Crawley sisters.
I took notes, pictures, and carefully refined my own pattern to streamline the process of offering this as a pdf pattern. It’s an odd cut, rather different from modern ones but the pattern is clearly marked and the instructions will walk you through the process of construction.
I’m making this up as I go, and I need a little help. I’m using a sizing system similar to the one I use for the BCT. That is, you choose the size based on your full bust measurement. This is a “blousy blouse,” so issues of cup sizing matter less than they would on a fitted dress. Then you choose the waistband piece based on your waist measurement. To me, that seems most logical.
I need some guinea pigs in sizes 30″, 45″, and 50″ or 55″. (Ballpark) That means I’ll email you with bizarre questions while I’m working on that size, and in a week or two I’ll send you the pattern for testing. I want to err on the side of caution and make sure to get the sizing/ease right. If you’d like to help me out this way, please email me with your full bust measurement in the subject line. (Edit: Thank you all so much! I have testers, and the pattern should be ready around the end of this month!)
If you’d like to receive an email when I publish this pattern, click here.
Don’t forget to enter the Lace Fabric/ Lace Insertion Giveaway before April 7!