Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow: My take on the 1950s Pattern

I completed drafting the pattern and making the toile for my take on the vintage pattern envelope illustration I found at Pinterest.

RetroGlam version of a secretary blouse based on a vintage pattern envelope illustration.

I started with a Basic Unfitted Bodice Front and Back to which 3″ of style ease was added for Chest, Bust and Hip Circumference. The Basic Unfitted Sleeve had 3″ style ease added to the Upper Arm Circumference. Then this sleeve was transformed into a shirt sleeve with gathers and a button cuff. A slit with placket was created at the back of the sleeve.

There are vertical tucks in the Front Bodice running from the hem up to 1″ above the waistline. There are four of these tucks, 2 on each side, of the Back Bodice. These tucks give some control at the waistline and will create a nice shape for the blouse when it is tucked into the skirt. I’ve noticed that the vintage blouses that do not have waistline yokes often have several vertical tucks or darts running from under the bust the hem in the front and back. I think this shaping was very important given how closely skirts were fitted, especially in the 1950s.

The vintage pattern has a lower neckline and larger bow. I would love to see a photo of how that pattern worked out because illustrations are the ideal while a photo can show the real. Since I take inspiration from a Misses Size 4 and consider what a woman who weighs about 120 lbs. and is 5′ 5″ to 5′ 6″ would look good in, I decided to raise the neckline slightly and make the Pussycat Bow smaller.

I plan to work on the shaping at the ends of the bow some more.

The bow is cut on the true bias. It works out very well since the roll at the neckline is very soft and the bow should have a nice drape in the fashion fabric.

I will post the pattern transformation instructions next week. To keep the posts manageable, there will be several so that each part of the pattern can be presented in detail. The pattern pieces consist of:

1. Basic Unfitted Bodice Front, with slight shaping at side seam and vertical tuck from hem to 1″ above Waistline. V-neckline is created which ends 1″ above the apex point.

1a. Front and Back Neckline Facing.

2. Basic Unfitted Bodice Fack, with slight shaping at side seams. Two vertical tucks on each side of Center Back provide additional shaping.

3. Basic Shirt Sleeve with cuff. The basis is the Basic Unfitted Sleeve.

4. Pussycat bow.