40’s Blouse and Reconstructed Skirt

It has been an exciting few weeks. I will provide more details in a few days, but first I’d like to share a completed project.

Remember many months ago when I mentioned making a blouse with this 1940’s pattern?

Well, I finally found the right fabric at the thrift store and got up the courage to use the pattern.

I picked this bit of fabric up for less than $1. There were some discolored sections along the fold, but I figured I could work around them.

I had to dig to the bottom of a bin to retrieve this material. Finding things like this is what makes me never skip rifling through bins of linens at thrift stores. You really never know when you’ll hit the jackpot.

Anyway, I set to work carefully cutting out my pieces. Then I sewed the sides and shoulders together, as well as all of the darts.

I decided to follow most of what the pattern told me to do, including bound buttonholes.

Here is the bound buttonhole process in pictures:

I basted squares to the right side of the buttonhole area, on the right front of the blouse. I sewed the line according to the markings on the pattern that signified the center of the buttonholes.

I sewed a quarter inch on either side of the basting line and around the sides at the pattern markings.

I removed the basting stitch from the middle of the stitched rectangle.


The next step was slashing a hole where the basting stitch was, and clipping in a triangle shape at the corners.

Then, I pulled the fabric square through the hole.

I temporarily pinned the buttonhole in place on the inside of the blouse.

Here is how one of the bound buttonholes looked after the two lips were sewn together at the buttonhole edges, and the whole fabric square folded under and hand-stitched down around the edges.

After the collar was sewn on, I had to turn the self-facings in, cut where the facings corresponded with the buttonholes, turn the edges under, and hand-stitch the self facing to the buttonhole edges.

Here is what the buttonholes generally look like from the right side.

After I sewed the collar to the shirt, I hand-stitched the bias strip down. For the bias strip I used a section of the fabric that was discolored since it would be on the inside of the blouse.

The inside of the sleeves at the cuffs called for bias strips as well, but I just stitched the seam allowance down on the inside. I sewed the sleeves to the blouse, and hand-stitched the hem of the blouse.

I used some blue buttons from an antique store that I just found last week. I think they may have cost about 50 cents or less. The prices were very reasonable.

This blouse required a lot of hand-stitching, which I am not usually excited about. I did the majority of the stitching carefully enough that the stitches aren’t visible on the outside of the blouse. It turned out so pretty that I think I’ll be doing more hand-stitching in the future. It just looks so clean and neat without stitches showing everywhere.

I made a blue skirt to go with the top from a thrifted 80s sheath dress. For some reason I’m missing the before picture of the dress, but it’s not important.

For the pictures of the outfit, I decided to do my hair in pin curls.

Oh yeah, and I got new glasses.

Here are the pictures of the outfit.

If I make this blouse again, I will probably take the blouse in just a tad, and make the sleeves a little bit smaller.

I think I’d like to make a pair of high-waisted capris and a pair of shorts that would work with this top.

I did take some pictures with my black shorts.

About Becca

I am a self-taught seamstress, and I love to create unique women’s clothing. This blog is a record of the hodgepodge of sewing projects that occupy my time. Reconstruction projects are my favorite, but I also create clothing from my own designs using both recycled and new materials.
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16 Responses to 40’s Blouse and Reconstructed Skirt

  1. Nancy P says:

    The shirt looks fabulous and so do you. What a great fit!

  2. Sarah Lewis says:

    Very nice blouse! I actually put bound button holes on a dress I made in home ec. class waaaay back in 1956!! The material was plaid, the pattern called for pleated skirt, puff sleeves with cuffs, buttons all the way down the front, set in collar, etc. etc. What was I thinking? My teacher just about fainted when she saw the plaid material cuz everything had to be matched!! I gave the dress to one of my sisters cuz I was sick of looking at it! Wish I had it now….lol.

    • Thanks! Haha, that is certainly a lot to tackle for home ec. class. I wish they’d still had that when I was in school, lol. I really don’t like to work with patterns like plaid. I wish I could see that product of all of your hard work, though. I’m sure it was beautiful!

  3. monkeysocks says:

    That is so cute! I love the fabric.

    I mentioned you on my blog talking about refashioning. I love the stuff you come up with!

  4. Melissa says:

    This is just darling! I am terrified of buttons. This inspires me to get over it!

  5. I absolutely love this blouse! The fabric is wonderful, the buttons make it really pop and I love the curves at the bottom of the blouse. From the pattern picture I would never have thought it would turn out so pretty!

  6. Debi says:

    Fabulous! I love it! And the pincurls look great too!

  7. Catherine says:

    I happen to be making a 1953 blouse pattern at the moment with charity shop fabric and bound buttonholes too ! The fabric in your blouse looks very pretty and suits you so well.

    • Wow, that’s funny. Great minds think alike, right? 😉 You’ll have to let me know how your blouse turns out. I’d love to see some pictures when it’s finished, if you want to share them with me.

      • Catherine says:

        I certainly will let you know how I get on but it is on hold at the moment as I have been busy with the family this last week.It is all cut out and ready to go …

  8. Isis says:

    Very cute, both cut and fabric.

  9. Nicki says:

    Oh, I really love that. I am looking for a cute blouse pattern right now. This was inspiring (It CAN be done!! 🙂 )

  10. Marie says:

    This is gorgeous, looks great with your black shorts too!

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