Friday, 1 August 2014

Weldons So Easy 86 – 1940's Wartime Silk Blouse

Back in 2013, I bought a rather large suitcase of 1940’s fabric at auction.  I paid a pretty penny for it, in excess of £100, but the case had some beautiful dress lengths of novelty rayon silks and autumnal shades of crepe.  In amongst the fabrics was a small piece of 1940’s silk in a delicate shade of duck egg blue.  Over time, silk can rot.  I’ve had silk in the past that I’ve been able to tear as easily as I can tear a piece of paper.  Structurally, the piece of silk I had was strong, but it had a 1” tear, a couple of holes, and a few water stains, so it got put in the back of the cupboard until the right pattern came along. 

Always on the lookout for new patterns of the sewing and knitting variety, I recently picked up a wartime Weldons pattern, a Special Coupon Saving Design!

Designed to save the original purchaser valuable clothing coupons, the fabric usage was very economical indeed, requiring just 1 1/8yds of 36” fabric for the 34” bust.  I had about 2yds of the silk, but with the damage that I had to work around, it was still quite a squeeze to get all the pieces cut.  This was the sort of damage I was working around.

The blouse I went for was the green one, as I liked the idea of trying a neat little collar, and challenging myself to add a pocket, something I’d never done before.  The blouse required bias binding to keep the sleeves neat, and although I didn't have exactly the right shade for a perfect match, I was able to find some vintage binding in my stash that did the trick.

I think the “So-Easy” is very misleading.  Actually, it’s a total fib!  I’ve worked from plenty of vintage patterns in the past, but this one proved a real challenge.

Unlike today’s patterns, most vintage patterns are unprinted, meaning they have no written markings on them at all, they have punch holes instead, and that’s fine, but this one had absobloominglutely no chuffing punch holes at all.  Absolutely didly squit!  It had me turning to my sewing bible, The Pictorial Guide to Modern Home Dressmaking, and when that didn’t help; I had to turn to my sewing guru, my mum!  A quick over the phone sewing lesson, and I was sorted.

Plenty of head scratching, chalk marking, tape measuring later, it was done, and I’m really rather pleased with it.  Teamed with the skirt from one of the 1940's suits I have in stock, I think it really looks the part. 

I originally planned to add glass buttons, but the 1930’s buttons I had were slightly rounded on top and therefore a little too heavy for the silk so, for now, it has faceted plastic buttons on.  If I find more suitable buttons before I sell it, then they will be swapped.

I strayed very slightly from the pattern.  I top stitched the yoke to the blouse front, because, personally, I think it gives a cleaner finish.  I also top stitched around the collar and cuffs because, again, I prefer that kind of finish.

The pocket was far easier to add than a thought it would be, it just took patience, lots of measuring (note the no markings comments!!!) and plenty of tacking and pressing. 

The photographs don’t really do justice to this exquisite piece of fabric.  It’s genuinely far nicer “in the flesh”, and I hope it finds a happy new home soon, as it would be perfect to wear in the summer sunshine. 


  1. What lovely smart outfit. I love it!
    Julie xxxxxxx

  2. What a beaut! Well done on persevering!

  3. That's a really nice blouse - it looks like the sort of thing a person could easily wear every day.

  4. You are so clever, and so brave. I would be terrified of working with material so old and delicate, and irreplaceable! Looks beautiful.

  5. Really, really lovely, just wish I was that small!! x

  6. Your blouse is absolutely beautiful and I love the turned back cuffs on the sleeves, it was so worth waiting to find the right pattern for that pretty silk. x

  7. The blouse looks great, it sounds really tricky to make!

  8. Such a beautiful Blouse, I love all the details.
    I really enjoy your blog & all those beautiful jumpers you knit.

  9. That blouse is gorgeous and your stitching is perfect too! Those sleeves are divine, such lovely details, and what an amazing buy you had with all those fabrics, well worth the money by the sounds of things.

    I've also had hassles when using unprinted patterns. Sometimes, I've just done what I think looks 'right', and touch wood its always seemed to have worked out okay - I think!

  10. Wow! Will you be selling it on etsy?