Betty Joan Blouse, Stage 1

Progress Report on Betty Joan Blouse

Greetings to all my friends and followers here at WordPress!  How is your New Year so far?  I’m housebound as I recover from a very nasty virus.  I’ve turned a corner in the treatment and am gradually recovering.  I have worked on the Betty Joan blouse during the past weekend.  Here are some of the approaches I’m applying.

Using different seam finishes on different parts of the garment

This cotton requires a very gentle approach when sewing.  This is why I am being flexible about the seam finishes.  I noticed that since the shoulder seams are slightly on the bias there is a tendency to stretch and curl if I use a turned under finish.  So I decided to use a straight stitch 1/8″ from the edge of the seam allowance and then pink.



The side seams of the blouse have a combination of finishes.  This is a short kimono sleeve without gusset.  So the sleeve curves from under the arm to the sleeve hem.  From a point about 1″ below the underarm, the side seam is straight.  What I did was turn the seam allowance under at this point and stitch at the turned under edge of the seam allowance.  From the underarm upwards I had to clip the seam to get the curve to lie flat after pressing.  So from the underarm to the sleeve hem, I stitched 1/8″ in from the seam allowance and then used the pinking shears.

It would be difficult to get the curved seam to turn under unless I resorted to handling this part of the blouse more than I should.  Also the need to clip the seam at this part would have resulted in the stitching for the turned under edge to come undone.

Using Flexi-Lace Hem Tape to Reinforce Seams

It is necessary to stabilize the curved underarm seams of kimono sleeves without gussets.  Some sewing books recommend using stay stitching 1/8″ or so in from the edge of the seam allowance.  Others say some type of seam tape or selvedge edge should be used.  I found these suggestions too stiff for the lightweight cotton.

I have so many scraps of Flexi Lace that I decided to try using this instead.  I simply cut the strip in half and applied to each underarm seam.  The lace curves nicely and is light enough not to make the seam difficult to press open.

Lapel Treatment for the Neckline


The collar shown in the pattern envelope which inspired me has me completely stumped.  I did not know how to get the look correctly.  I do not want to meander along a path that goes on for months while I experiment in my spare time.  What I want is something I can complete in a reasonable amount of time and wear.  It’s ok if the result is not 100% like the source of inspiration.  It’s enough for me to be retro-inspired.

I do not like band collars or any kind of collar that is high on the neck.  For these reasons I decided the most expedient and comfortable thing to do was to adjust the neckline and then fold the lapels back without adding a collar.

I am satisfied with the way this experiment turned out.  The neckline is interesting and comfortable.  I will also be able to wear a choker, short string of pearls or a small chiffon scarf tied sideways just like they did in the late 1940s and 1950s.