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Sewing my Dream Wardrobe ~ The Summer Blouse

I have been absolutely obsessed with 1940's play suits, sun outfits and beachwear forever but you never seem to see pieces come up in vintage stores and although I've been searching for original patterns, I haven't managed to get my hands on one yet! So I was super happy to discover this new McCall's pattern that was a perfect option for sewing my own Forties style summer blouse.

The pattern gives you quite a few options which is always good, is value for money and it can be made in most lighter to mid weight cottons or cotton blends. The waist length version was the one that I wanted to make to create a similar blouse to vintage Forties ones that had inspired me.

As with all my projects, I start with an inspiration board or ideas book, which includes original images, fabrics and buttons or trims. I love doing this and find it takes my ideas further and provides inspiration when my creative batteries are running on empty.

I keep scraps of fabrics and samples in a box and love having a rummage through to find fabric ideas to go with a pattern and to add to inspiration boards and books and I've been collecting buttons and trims for years.

Both the short sleeve and ruffle version only take a metre of fabric and it was a super quick sew. I made a wearable toile in black gingham that I bought from Jacob's Haberdashery in Hastings. I wanted to check the fit and thought I'd have to make lots of fit adjustments, but other than lengthening the bodice by 1.5 cms, I didn't have to.

I immediately went on to make a second one in a vintage cotton I've had in my stash for years and I LOVE it! It has fairies on it! And I'm halfway through making the ruffle sleeve version in a Liberty Tana Lawn I bought from their sale once upon a time. Because this top takes so little fabric to make, you can use up those larger leftovers from other projects or treat yourself to something special that might cost too much for a larger garment. I even thought you could cut up existing garments to make into this top, which all helps in terms of sustainability.

Even though I bought this pattern with the sunshine in mind, it could make an amazing piece for autumn /winter and I've begun doodling some ideas of developing the pattern with sleeves drafted from vintage designs. The longer version of the blouse would be especially good for this. It would be so beautiful in silks and vintage style crepes.

It's not often that I fall head over heels for a commercial dressmaking pattern but I can't praise this one enough! It's totally fabulous and I'll be using it, in one version or another over and over again! And even though I've made it with a vintage focus, you really don't have to. It's such a timeless piece and could fit into most wardrobes regardless of age and style preference!

How lovely would it be to make the top and skirt in the same fabric, a stylish and very pretty little sun suit! I shall be wearing mine with my self drafted full circle skirt or Calypso tiered skirt, some espadrilles, riviera basket bag and a sun hat. Very large hoop era rings are optional, as is the Sun, this being England.

I hope I've inspired you and that you give this McCall's pattern a go ~ you won't regret it!

Enjoy the sunshine and happy sewing!

Tara x

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