Sunday, 23 February 2014


After last week's trauma, the fate of Vogue 2859 hung in the balance/over the bin for a couple of days, as I tried to decide whether a) my brain could be sufficiently un-fried to make sense of the pattern instructions, and b) the project was worth any more of my limited time.

In the end, curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know just how those weirdly shaped pieces came together, and especially, how the twisted scarf section at the front neck was done.

As with the 1930s dress and peplum for the 'Green' challenge, tacking the different pattern markings; small circle, large circle, triangle and square, in different colours was a massive help when trying to join various bits together.

Most of the photographs I took along the way don't really make things any clearer, so here's the blouse front piece, and an explanation of the first few steps of the construction instead.

Piece for blouse front, sleeve and scarf

The centre front/scarf section is reinforced with a scrap of silk organza. To my mind the instructions for this are a bit sketchy, so I was relieved that it was a technique I used previously, on the sleeve gussets of the Vegas Night dress.

The 'shoulder seam' is actually a dart.

The pattern information describes the sleeves as 'kimono at front and raglan at back'. The back piece joins to the front along the top edge, and the back sections overlap each other.

There are a few tricky joins, and a lot of narrows hems sewn on bias edges. In the end I did the main seams by machine, but for anything complex went with what has become my mantra since starting the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenges: if in doubt, sew it by hand!

The scarf particularly intrigued me, so here it is, step by step.

On the right scarf, turn in the lower edge by 1.5cm / ⅝", baste and trim. Sew a narrow hem at the end.

Right scarf, showing organza reinforcement

On the left scarf, turn in the upper edge by 1.5cm / ⅝", baste and trim. Sew a narrow hem at the end.

Left scarf

Pin the unfinished edges together, right sides together, and stitch. Do not press the seam open. I did so initially, but then discovered that it did the finished look no favours whatsoever, so had to turn the finished scarf inside out to press the seam flat again.

Raw edges placed together

Slipstitch the basted edges together, wrong sides together.

Ready to slipstitch the basted edges, wrong side

The end result should be a twisted fabric tube.

The completed scarf, right side

The ties are attached to the ends of the back pieces. Because I had shortened the pattern along the alteration mark at the bottom of the front and back pieces, the tie was much wider than the piece it was to be sewn to, so I had to pleat it slightly. There is a fabric bound buttonhole near the side seam in the left back piece, through which the right tie passes.

So here is the completed blouse.

Front view

Side view

Close-up of shoulder, showing dart, back seam and scarf

Back view

What the flash photography doesn't show is that the fabric is thinner than I had realised, and so the blouse will need something underneath to keep it decent. The perfect excuse to make a 1930s camisole! And the 'Bodice' challenge is coming up!

Another problem is that I made my usual adjustment to a Vogue pattern, shortening it by 5cm / 2". However what I hadn't taken into account is that there is no skirt to add weight and pull the waistline down a bit. If I make this again, I will make it slightly longer.

On the plus side, I took the Dreamstress' advice about reissued vintage patterns, and made it up a size smaller than I would usually use. Apart from the length, the result is a perfect fit. Thanks Leimomi!

The small print:
The Challenge: Pink.
Fabric: Washed satin fabric of unknown but man-made composition (my local fabric shop isn't too good on labelling!)
Pattern: Vintage Vogue 2859.
Year: 1935
Notions: Thread
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is a re-issue of a Vogue 1930s design, construction is accurate for the period, and synthetic fabric was a possibility by that date, so about 80%.
Hours to complete: About 10 (way too much of which was spent trying to decipher the instructions).
First worn: Not yet. However I will have to wear it outdoors, and take pictures, so I can post some accurate images of the colour.
Total cost: Fabric £3.89, thread £1.60, pattern from stash, so £5.49.


  1. What a gorgeous blouse! I love the color and the overall design! You did a marvelous job on this! I can't wait to see pictures of you wearing it!

    1. Thank you Gina. I've been busy this weekend attending a Middle Eastern dance festival (and buying fabric in the souk for a future challenge - one which I wasn't originally planning to do!), but hopefully I'll get some pictures taken soon.