Wednesday, 1 April 2015

1950's Cropped Blouse - Simplicity 2470

Pattern Make: Simplicity
Pattern Number: 2470
Year of Publication: 1958
Size: 12 Teen
Type of Garment: Jr. Misses' and Teen Age Blouse
Suggested Materials: - All views in: Cottons, broadcloth, flannelette, polished cotton, chambray, linen, rayon, silks, blends.
Suggested Notions: -  Blouse View 1, 2 and 3: 2 spools of thread. View 1: 9 buttons. View 2 and 3: 6 buttons.

Briefly describe your garment: Two types of blouses available in this pattern; the basic foundation of this pattern is a button down blouse with darts, a yoke, a decorative box pleat and detachable collar (with a point at the center back). You can complete Version 1 or 2 which is essentially the same; it's a regular sized blouse with fitted darts and uses long or short sleeves, with the collar (detachable or not). Version 3 is cropped and gathered at the waist and features a button tab on the waistband. I chose Version 3.

What materials were used in the creation of this garment? Stash fabric, of course, because it's springtime and I need to do some spring cleaning! I used a green cotton cherry print. It's a very lightweight fabric and features a busy print, which is why I felt it would work well as a blouse. For the collar I used stash white cotton broadcloth. I also used a lightweight fusible interfacing for the collar and to stabilize the buttonholes. The interfacing is not necessary for this pattern, it's not recommended at all in the instructions. I only used it because my contrasting collar fabric was so lightweight that you could see every detail of the seams! The interfacing helped to eliminate that problem but it also made the collar a little stiff (this might be fixed after a few washes). I think it would be better if you used a cotton that isn't too lightweight for this project so that you don't have to use interfacing.

Did you make any alterations to this pattern
? Yes, this is the first time I tried to alter a pattern prior to the muslin. I followed Nancy Zieman's "fitting finesse" which is where you adjust the pattern in increments by adding to the side seams and pivoting the pattern pieces. She also refers to this as "pattern fitting with confidence"; you can find it on Youtube.

I added approx. 1/2" to the bustline and 3/8" to the waistline of each seam. I dropped the bust dart because I discovered in the muslin fitting that it sat 1 1/2" too high and was 1 1/4" too short - this is to be expected with a junior/teen pattern. Although Nancy's fitting suggestions did help the fit in my waist and bust, the back was far too long. She recommends in her book that I add one inch difference to the back because of the comparison between my measurements and the pattern; I thought that seemed odd so I decided against it. I'm glad I did because the back proved to be too long anyways (I have this problem sometimes with patterns). In the future I plan on taking in less than an inch on the back piece by the yoke because otherwise the back sags a little. Also, since I made adjustments to the bust I think it effected the armscye because the facing didn't sit properly. I ended up finishing the armholes with home-made bias tape and catch stitched them into place.

Were the instructions well written and easy to follow? Everything was easy to follow except for the application of the collar, that was pretty bad. The diagram was clustered and not well done and the directions were somewhat muddled. I've applied a collar once before and felt that this pattern did not do a good job of explaining it, it made it more complicated than necessary. It does do it correctly it's just worded poorly and I'm sure a beginner would feel confused with this one. It also doesn't help that the blouse facing is just slightly longer than what I'm used to; normally I find it will line up with the shoulder seam but in this case it was a centimeter longer and was overlapping the shoulder seam (even after taking in the 1/4" hem). The diagram showed it as being exactly like that, so it's not a pattern piece error, it's literally over-sized for no good reason at all...

Why did you use this pattern? It's cute, I got it a few weeks ago and instantly fell in love with it for its simplistic design. I have a handful of blouse patterns and this one is the nicest looking out of all of them, so I figured what the hell, I'll give it a try. I love creating separates and I felt that this pattern could help build my wardrobe.

Are you happy with the final result? Sort of. The fit is okay, I messed up and forgot to add the additional length to the waistband that I had altered in the bodice. It sits a little snug at the waistline but it's not impossible to live with. I think my choice in fabric resulted in the blouse sitting kind of funny. It was advertised as children's spring cotton but I wonder if it's some kind of quilting cotton because it doesn't drape well (it's sort of frumpy). I also don't like how the back sags but as I mentioned above that could be fixed in the future. My biggest beef with this design is the placket: the placement of the buttons is off and the pattern does not use enough of them! It results in puckering (with peek-a-boobs) and the top button doesn't sit right. This pattern should use eight buttons total instead of six (four main buttons and two on the tab) and possibly use interfacing.

Overall, it's not terrible a looking blouse. It will make a nice lightweight top for warmer weather. I can always unbutton the top button since I don't like it so much. There's nothing I can do about the back issue unless I want to open up my armholes and right now I am not in the mood (I must have seam ripped those bloody things eight times over). I was going to sew this again soon but I think I'll wrap it back up and try something different. It's just too much of a headache right now.

Would you recommend this pattern to others and if so, what skill level? 
As I mentioned above, the instructions for the collar are kind of sketchy; I wouldn't recommend this project for a beginner. If you already have a handful of sewing projects under your belt then I don't think it would be too difficult for you to try this pattern. If you get stuck on the collar just search for "how to set a collar" on Youtube or the like. I've only ever made two 1950's blouses, and this one was by far the nicer looking blouse, but both had fit issues. You can easily pick this pattern up on Etsy or Ebay, I've seen it being sold at reasonable prices.

Would you sew this garment again? I might make this again using Version 2 out of another lightweight printed cotton. I'm not sure I'll ever make this sleeveless or using Version 3 again, it just had so many problems. I'll likely stash it and bring it out again in a month or so.

Happy sewing! ♥

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Makeup by the Decade: The Roaring 20's

Makeup trends of the 1920's

Rather than reiterate what you can already find on the subject of 1920's makeup, I figured I would write about my interpretations and understanding of the makeup from that era.

It sounds funny but when I think of 1920's fashion, I picture a little girl whose gotten into her mother's clothes and makeup and worn too much of it. I think it's the perfect analogy for this decade in makeup; everything was worn in excess. Mascara was hot on the scene, blush was saturated, and eyebrows and lips were highly exaggerated. Nowadays we would look at wearing this much makeup as garish or amateurish, but if you're looking to sport a 1920's look I don't think you have to cake your makeup on in order to be successful.

One of the things you should do when trying to recreate a vintage look is to consider what was available at the time; what was new or on trend at the time in colours, products and styles? For the 1920's we're aware that certain products were popular: mascara was a sure choice for accenting kholed eyes; on trend lip colours were reds and plums; and eyebrow and lip shapes were over-exaggerated.


I believe the eyebrows are what make the 1920's look. If you mess them up you'll end up either looking like a clown or from a different decade altogether! People often assume that in order to achieve a 1920's look you need thin eyebrows but this isn't the case. If you look at photographs from the 20's you will find women with thick natural eyebrows alongside those with pencil thin, drawn on eyebrows. The real defining element of the 20's eyebrow is not necessarily the thickness but the overall shape. If you study the images presented here you will see eyebrows from this time rarely feature a well defined arch, instead eyebrows are rounded. Also, they are usually elongated and shifted, sloping downward. I believe this was done in order to achieve a softer and rounded appearance of the face (as much of the makeup from this decade demonstrates). By rounding the eyebrows and drawing them closer to the eye, it creates a kind of sympathetic look. I've often felt the women from this decade look like cherubs and perhaps that was the intention. Aside from those who chose to curve and slope their eyebrows, there were also women who chose to shape their eyebrows in a more straight and severe looking fashion. This is notable in a few iconic looks, at times seen in images of Theda Bara or Clara Bow (see below).


The second most important element in achieving a 1920's look are the lips. Like the eyebrows, the shape of the lips were highly exaggerated. They were made to appear smaller with a well defined "cupid's bow" (the bow of the lip). For women with fuller lips this was achieved by drawing within the lip line, for women with thinner lips the cupid's bow may have been defined outside of the lip line (as shown in the illustration above **please forgive my wonky drawings). Look at the photos and advertisements of women from this era and you will see the different and unusual shapes used to define the bow of the lip. Lipstick colours that were popular at this time were in dark or bold shades of red, brown, orange and plum.


When you think of eye makeup from the 1920's, you may picture the dark and sultry kohled eyes of Theda Bara. This is the most commonly referenced makeup style of the 20's and although I acknowledge that it has it's place (especially given the heightened interest in Egyptian culture during the 20's), I feel it's a tad overdone and really ought to be used for an evening look. If you look through the various promotional photographs or illustrated advertisements, you'll probably notice that not every girl had dark kohled eyes. Beyond your basic black, there were also shades of brown, blue and even gold was being used. You don't have to cake your eyelid in black shadow to invoke the roaring 20's, as I mentioned before, it's more about the shapes and application of the makeup that make the look. My suggestion for achieving a 20's daytime look is to use softer shades or neutral eye-shadows like peach, gold, sage or taupe. Accent them with a bit of eyeliner close to the lash line on the bottom and upper lids (or leave the lower lid out and apply mascara to the bottom lashes). Apply mascara liberally!


Use of blush was also popular at this time but it was applied to the apple of the cheeks, it was not used to contour but to exaggerate roundness. It was applied generously in shades of orange, pink or red. I've ready varying opinions, but it seems foundation for the most part was intended to look warm and natural.


If you get the shapes and shades down right you can easily create a 1920's makeup. This look is really fun and unusual and can change your appearance dramatically. If you're curious to see what I mean, look at images of Joan Crawford from the 1920's and then those of her from the late 30's or 40's - I had to do a double take! It almost looks like two different people. Keep that in mind if you ever plan on disguising yourself for whatever reason. ; )

Next Month: The Dirty 30's

Best wishes! ♥