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Edwardian Blouse: Drafting the Pattern

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

I’ve wanted a lacy Edwardian blouse for some time, especially as I was lacking nice shirts to wear with my skirts. This was planned to be a maternity garment for me. Edwardian style blouses are flattering for maternity-wear, as they draw attention up to the neck, bringing balance to the pregnant figure.

The first part was drafting the pattern. As this is a fairly simple, loose blouse, drafting

was easy. The only tricky part was figuring out how to add extra width for pin-tucks.

Edwardian Blouse Sewing Pattern
Edwardian Blouse Concept Sketch

More on that later.

Bodice Block

I used my loose fitting bodice block for this pattern. It has more built-in ease than the fitted bodice block, less bust shaping, and therefore a smaller dart. This was good for two reasons: 1) Looser garments should have less bust shaping, and 2) a smaller dart means it is easier to combine the bust shaping into the pin-tucks. I had no idea how I was going to do this.

I traced out the front and back bodice blocks, added a centre-back button extension, then set about drafting the tucks. . .

Adding Width for Tucks

Edwardian Blouse Sewing Pattern
Bodice of the Blouse Pattern

Metric Pattern Cutting, my favourite drafting book, had instructions on drafting tucks into a garment. It instructs one to mark the placement of the tucks with a straight line, then slash and spread, adding about 2 cm of width. I then marked notches at the top and bottom of the blouse, marking the left and right side of each tuck. I alternated tucks with insertion lace. Insertion lace doesn’t require any special pattern drafting, but I chose to also mark its placement with notches.

To incorporate the dart shaping into the tucks, I simply chose one tuck in the approximate dart position to be wider at the top than the bottom. In theory, this seemed like a good idea. In practice, I ended up sewing an extra, short tuck which ended near the bust point.

Drafting the Collar

Collar Sewing Pattern Drafting Blouse
Drafting a Straight Collar

I followed my drafting book’s instructions on drafting a straight collar, as I wanted to have a template for what I intended to be a lace collar. It had a slight curve in it, and was drafted to fit into the neck hole. The collar didn’t turn out as planned. More on that in Part 2.

Drafting the Balloon Sleeves and Cuffs

My drafting book had instructions for creating bishop sleeves, or balloon sleeves. These are sleeves which have extra length and width at the bottom, which is gathered into a fitted cuff. These sleeves can be as dramatic or moderate as you like. I wanted more dramatic pouffy sleeves, but in hindsight I should have added even more extra width to achieve that look. I finished the sleeve design with a nice wide cuff pattern.

Fitting the Mock-Up

Edwardian Blouse Sewing Pattern Project Mock-Up
Goofy Backwards Mock-Up

When trying on the mock-up (backwards, because I had no one available to pin it closed at the back for me) there were a few changes I decided on:

-Adding all-around width for a looser fit

-Adding more width at the hips to fit my maternity measurements

-Adding length at centre front (ditto)

-Lowering the neckline a couple cm and making the collar a little narrower

Have you ever drafted pin-tucks? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments below!

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