Several of my readers has asked me where I buy my blouses. Except for my knit tops and sweaters (which are mostly from JC Penney’s), I made all the blouses you’ve seen on Rapunzel’s Resource.
The fabrics for my blouses have come from lots of different stores, both online and brick-and-mortar. My preferred fabric is cotton lawn or a lighter-weight broadcloth.
The patterns I’ve used in the past are now out of print, but I didn’t like them that much anyway. Last year, I drafted my own from a blouse that I really liked from Penny’s (it was princes-seamed, by the way). There are some tutorials on the web and books with how to trace of a finished garment, but they didn’t work very well so I developed my own technique and started over. Here’s what I did.
- Get something see-through that you can write on with a pencil. I opened up a commercial pattern I had in stash and found a big chunk of tissue that wasn’t part of one of the pieces.
- Lay the shirt flat on an ironing board making one section as flat as possible. Pin the paper over it and trace the seams with a pencil. Repeat for each section.
- Add seam allowances to the tracings, make it up in muslin, and see what you get. I adjusted the original, made a new copy with the adjustments, tweaked the new one, and called it good. For fitting, this article is really helpful. http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/4483/to-get-the-right-armhole-fit-the-bodice
- If you want, make two versions– one with darts and one with princess seams. To switch a pattern back and forth, I use this tutorial ( “french lining” is 1940s for princess seams). http://www.vintagesewing.info/1940s/42-mpd/mpd-03.html#origin
- The next step is to draft yourself some sleeves. I have never used a commercial sleeve pattern since I read this article! http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/sleeve_drafting_tutorial/
For construction, I really like Anna’s blouse that she made here. I skipped the seam binding on the armscye, but other than that, I pretty much followed it exactly for the pink blouse. I haven’t needed to line the others. http://annasews.blogspot.com/2008/09/trellis-blouse.html
Once you’re comfortable with the basic pattern, you can do anything with it. For some ideas, Shannon has a lovely article here. http://thoughtsandthimbles.blogspot.com/2009/08/building-pattern-wardrobe-part-3.html I have even drafted a skirt onto the basic pattern to make dress patterns.
I hope this article inspires you to make your own patterns and try you hand at making blouses!
Have a lovely day!