A 1940s Novelty Print Rayon Blouse

I drafted this post a good few days ago, and since then a very exciting event has occurred! Read on to find out more..

Usually when I am buying fabric, I have a little list in my mind of places to browse – be they online; or a bricks and mortar shop. Frequently the fabric that I buy is brand new, fresh off the roll. However, sometimes I stumble across vintage fabric that I simple cannot pass up or put down. Admittedly, this is a rare occurrence. I like to ensure that the fabric is in good condition, not only free from marks, stains or holes, but also that the weave of the fabric is still strong. One of the reasons I make my own clothing from vintage patterns is to obtain the style or silhouette of an era, but in strong durable modern fabrics that can withstand a modern day lifestyle.

A month or two ago, I found this amazing rayon in a local antique / general rummage store. At first, due to its almost impeccable condition, I doubted that it could be genuine vintage. I also immediately had a sense of déjà vu , as if my mind was adamant that I had seen this fabric before. Both these factors contributed to my doubts about whether it could be true vintage, but I purchased it anyway as I was intrigued by it, and I loved the colours.

I did a bit of research, and also asked a few fellow Instagrammers to see whether they thought it was indeed vintage or a clever reproduction. It turns out (although I am not 100% certain, but I’m about 99% certain), that this fabric IS indeed true vintage! In the store, it was labelled as 1950s, although I would definitely say it is 1940s. There were 2 metres of the material, at a narrow 39inch wide.

Immediately I thought it would be wonderful as a long sleeved blouse, and I already had a number of different patterns that I thought may work. In the end, I opted for my favourite blouse pattern. I purchased the pattern from Ebay about 3 or 4 years ago, it is a jumper (or pinafore as we Brits call them) dress with a blouse. I actually bought the pattern as I really wanted to make the pinafore – only some key pieces of the pinafore pattern were missing. I contacted the seller, but never heard a reply. Nowadays I only usually buy true vintage patterns from sellers I trust on Ebay or Etsy (I can personally recommend Vintage 4 Me 2 as an excellent store, with great customer service and fast shipping)

The blouse pattern has a short sleeved or long sleeved option, and whilst I have made about 4 short sleeved versions, I had never attempted the long sleeved version. I was nervous about whether I would have enough fabric – but handily the pieces all juuust about squeezed on. Indeed, the pattern included a layout diagram specifically for 39inch wide material (as many vintage patterns tend to do), so the pattern and material seemed perfect for each other!

There is not too much to say about the construction process. I pre-washed the fabric as usual, and actually, the fabric was a dream to sew! I expected it to be slippery and annoying, but it behaved really well. The front of the blouse has a long dart at each shoulder, and again at the hem to waist. The back has a tiny tuck either side of the neck. The sleeves feature a regimented set of three darts at the sleeve head (which I really like, I usually use patterns which utilise gathering, but the precision of the darts really appeals to me).

Other than ‘gather the sleeve hem’, the instructions for the long sleeved variation did not include any additional information. There was not even a pattern piece for the cuff, – not because it was missing, but because you are expected to draft your own to fit. I’ll admit, I am not entirely happy with how the cuffs turned out. I don’t quite know what was up with my brain, but I inserted them in a really bizarre way. But – I do like the pieces of fabric I used for the cuffs!

The top of the length of fabric was plain cream, with the pattern and colour being added a few inches below. I had a teeny bit of this cream part left, which I thought would look really cute on the cuffs.

The buttons are vintage, and as they are clear I feel they do not distract from the pattern too much.

I inserted the collar using Rochelle’s excellent tutorial which I highly recommend, especially if you are new to inserting notched collars. It also creates a much nicer, neater finish on the inside resulting in a more professional look.

So there we have it, a finished blouse made from 1940s fabric and a 1940s sewing pattern. As we are fast approaching the end of the year (yikes); I am also starting to think about any additional items I want to sew for the Vintage Pledge. I can barely believe we only have a few weeks of 2016 left!

And now – onto the exciting announcement.. eagle-eyed readers may have noticed I am wearing a ring on my left hand as.. Kieren and I got engaged at the weekend! I usually do not tend to write about anything too personal here on my blog, but I couldn’t resist the urge to shout this out to anyone/everyone! As I’m sure you can all imagine, we are SO EXCITED!

Until next time dears!

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24 thoughts on “A 1940s Novelty Print Rayon Blouse

  1. Gemma says:

    Gorgeous blouse! I just love that fabric!! What a great find!

    Once again, congratulations to you both : ) wonderful news : )

    Gemma x

  2. acraftteacuppa says:

    Lovely blouse… Aside from the styling of original 40s patterns I just love the language they used. One I made up recently informed me I had to ‘easy it in a trifle’ when setting in the sleeve. Classic! just like your beautiful blouse 😀

  3. Jenny Frances says:

    Thank you so much! The proposal was a wonderful surprise, and I can barely stop looking at my ring! The pattern on the blouse is really unusual, it’s one of those prints that you can just stare at and discover new designs and shapes hidden in it. 🙂 xx

  4. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Lainey, I completely love the language too! And I have been known to screech at the phrase ‘novelty bias’ ahhhh so cute! And easing the sleeve in a trifle is wonderful! Sewing patterns of today should come complete with the same descriptive phrases, it would make reading through the instructions much more delightful 🙂

  5. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Emileigh!
    Thanks so much, it’s all so exciting! I got my earrings from repro company Bow & Crossbones, although they may have been a ‘one-off’ design. I was lucky and nabbed them from one of their Instagram sales a few years ago. I agree with you about the colour though, that kind of seafoam/pale aqua is so pretty! xx

  6. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Kaitlyn, thank you so much!
    I had no clue what the ring would look like (and actually had barely any clue a proposal was on the horizon!). I knew I wanted a Deco style, and its so perfect! It’s so sparkly, I keep just staring at it under various lighting conditions! 🙂

  7. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Christina,
    Thank you so much my lovely! The proposal happened on the Saturday, and I was just dizzy with excitement and disbelief for about a day, so it took me a little while to break the news!
    🙂 xx

  8. theartyologist says:

    Congratulations on your engagement- that is so exciting! Also that is so fun that this blouse is basically vintage too. 🙂 Such a pretty fabric, and it looks really nice paired with the grey trousers.
    -Nicole
    The Artyologist

  9. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Nicole, thank you so much! Yes, that is funny – I suppose as I made the blouse using a 1940s pattern from 1940s fabric it is technically vintage! Haa ha! 🙂 xx

  10. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Bonita,
    Thank you! I definitely seem to be going through a ‘shades of pink appreciation phase’. When I was a teenager I absolutely adored pink, but then I went on a kind of ‘pink detox’, and didn’t go near the shade for years. It seems now I am back onto liking shades of pink again! 🙂 xxx

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