Sewing an Edwardian Blouse
Read Part 1 of this series here.
I love this blouse. It has been everything I hoped it would be, and more! Read on to see how I sewed it.
After my pattern pieces were cut out of the white linen, the first step was adding the insertion lace. I had cut notches along the top and bottom of the blouse pieces where I intended each strip to go, so I went ahead and pinned five strips of lace on the front, and three on each back piece.
After researching different methods of finishing the edges of the cut-away fabric, I opted for the quickest and least bulky approach: pressing the cut raw edges away from the lace strip, stitching them down close to that fold, then cutting away the edges of the fabric close to the stitches. I have been wearing and washing this blouse for months now, and the fraying has been minimal.
Making the Tucks
In between drafting the pattern and sewing this blouse, I decided to sew pin -tucks rather than regular, wider tucks. Making this change was simple: I just created double the amount of tucks, at half the width of what I had planned. No
need for changing the pattern. The only problem that may have occurred from this was at the neckline- more on that next.
To create the tucks, I used no pins but simply ironed out each fold, one at a time, and sewed close to that fold ( about 5 mm ).
Earlier in this process, I had created a beautiful lace collar by steaming each strip of lace into a lightly curved shape, then sewing them together. However, this collar was not to be.
After sewing all of the tucks, I found the neckline was an awkward shape and carelessly lopped off the part that was sticking out, to make it a nice “c” shape again. The circumference of the neckline ended up being way too much for the collar to fit, and even if it had, it would have been sitting too low. I think this is due to a variation in how much fabric was taken up by the tucks, much like how a dart uses up fabric and makes an edge uneven if it has not been trued ahead of time.
I ended up finishing the neckline with a piece of lace folded over the edge and stitched down, much like bias-tape. I finished the bottom hem in the same way.
Sewing the Bodice Together
I decided to sew this project with flat-felled seams, as opposed to my usual french seams. I really like the combination of the utilitarian seams with the lacy blouse.
The first step, before even adding the insertion lace, was folding over the centre-back facing and stitching it down. I sewed the bodice shoulder and side seams after having added the insertion lace and the tucks.
Then, I sewed the sleeves which in this case had two seams down their length. I had cut each sleeve in two pieces to save fabric, as the sleeve pieces were very wide and long. I attached them to the bodice in the usual way, then added a gathering stitch at the bottom before attaching the cuffs.
I love this blouse! It was perfect for the end of my pregnancy, when I felt like a whale and needed something to help me feel “pretty”. The long sleeves, high neckline, and lace detailing all helped balance out my pregnant figure by drawing attention elsewhere than “the bump”. I still love this blouse now that I am no longer pregnant, and wear it tucked or untucked with a high-waisted skirt.
I plan on making another similar blouse soon, for non-maternity-wear.
Have you ever sewn a blouse like this? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments below!
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