The one thing I really love about the 1903 Edwardian Blouse pattern is that the originals were so often make out of battenburg lace. I am not able to make my own lace, so I went on a search for some battenberg yardage. I found bits and pieces, but nothing of any size. And then I went to Ebay, and started looking for tablecloths. Still, most of the tablecloths had only a little lace around the edges, the bulk being a solid fabric.
And then I found it! A round tablecloth (72" diameter) with a lot of the lace throughout, and it was in black, no less! There was only the one, so I bought it and hoped it was big enough for a blouse.
So I fold the cicle in half, matching the lace patterns as much as possible, and layout my pattern for cutting. The cloth being round, means that the grain line was really the radius of the circle, from the center to any given point of the outside edge, and top being the center. The fold will be the center front and center back and the rest is in a big arc. I started with the front piece, and layed it out maximizing the lace around the neckline. I would have prefered to have the solid fabric band a little lower, but then I ended up with the solid center getting into the shoulder seam. I had to settle with what would fit. I then placed the center back, to line up the solid parts to the same level as the front. I was worried that the sleeves would not fit, and I would have to make the sleeves 3/4 length. But they fit perfectly, once I placed the sleevehead evenly on the solid center bit.
I know that I need to stabilize the neckline first thing, or it will stretch and do horrible things. So I quickly finish the center back edges, and do up the shoulder seams. Because of the lace, I did french seams to make them neat and actually hold a seam. I made the collar out of a cotton broadcloth, and put it on. This will be covered up with a stock collar that buttons on, so I am not worried about it not matching.
The side seams are next, and now its on to the sleeves. One seam, and gather the wrists to fit a cuff. For the cuffs, I started out with just the broadcloth. But it really didn't match well. So I added an overlay of the batternberg edge, with the edge just a tad longer than the cuff proper. Then sewed the sleeves to them. I love how the cuffs came out
I also cheated with the cuffs, and made them slip on rather than button closed. I didn't want to have to play with button holes in the lace and everything.
Sewing the sleeves to the blouse proper was the most difficult part, I think. Half of the armhole is lace and stretching all over the place, and the sleeve head needed to be gathered to fit. The gathers fit perfectly onto just the solid fabric portion of the sleevehead, so that worked out perfectly. I kep thinking "shrink" as I pinned the sleeves in, to combat the stretch factor, and in the end it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Though I think I may the shrunk a little too much; the armhole seems a bit snugger than it should be. Hopefully, this won't be a real issue.
This just leaves putting the waist band on and gathering the front to fit. Again, I used a broadcloth band. It will be covered up with a belt anyway. I still need to add hooks and eyes. And here it is, all put together. I made up a short stock collar with a battenberg overlay.. But for some reason, I forgot to put in on when taking the pics.
Now I just need to make a back corset cover, and a black skirt and petticoat. And a black chemise and drawers. Yay, more sewing!
Created by heather • Last edit by heather on Jun 06, 2018
Heather, lordy lady you’re an incredible seamstress !!! The piece is looking absolutely georgeous…..please email me a picture of the finished outfit.
I live in a 300 year old house that has been passed down thru the family, mother to daughter since it was built. I found hundreds of documents and household items, furnishings and amazingly some clothing items in attics and trunks. I have become obsessed with making some clothing of the 1800’s to wear “around the house” when I’m in the mood….just to see what it must have been like to do chores in some of the period clothing. Luckily the little town I live in in Ms. has historical celebrations all the time so I will have ample opportunities to wear some of the period costumes that I plan to either buy or make myself. ( my town, Liberty is 300 years old as well !!! )
Anyway…..so appreciate your interest and talents in one of my newest passions….keep up the good work….please be sure to post pictures of the finished piece !!!