Links to series for patternmaking of RetroGlam Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow

Links to series for patternmaking of RetroGlam Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow

Pattern envelope illustration that acted as source of inspiration

Photos of the toile which used the RetroGlam pattern

Secretary blouse with Pussycat Bow Part 1: The Bodice Pattern
-How to add style ease
-Includes links to drafting instructions of the Basic Bodice Front and Back

Secretary Blouse with Pussy Cat Bow Part 2: The Blouse Sleeve
-Includes link to Basic, Unfitted Sleeve
-Detailed instructions given to use the Basic, Unfitted Sleeve as a basis for the Blouse Sleeve gathered into cuff.
-Drafting of cuff pattern included.

Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow Part 3: Creating a Horizontal Side Dart
-Instructions to change the dart on the Basic Unfitted Bodice into a Horizontal Side Dart.
-This dart manipulation MUST be made since the fitting dart of the Basic Bodice is higher up and will not look good on a finished garment.

Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow Part 4: Lengthening the Bodice and Shaping the Neckline
-How to lengthen the Basic Bodice for use as a blouse.
-Shaping a gently curved V-Neckline for the front of the blouse.

Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow Part 5: Adding Ease at Hipline and Dart Tucks
-Instructions for a simple pattern transformation using the Unfitted Bodice
–Creating slight shaping at the waistline
–Adding enough ease at the Hipline
–Adding vertical dart tucks to create shaping and eliminate some bulk on the lower part of the blouse from Waistline to Hip Line.

Note: Many 1950s blouses had numerous vertical darts or tucks running down to the Hip Line. I think this technique created a close fit similar to a Blouse With a Waistline Yoke.

Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow Part 6: Pattern for the Bow
-The principles used to create a Pussycat Bow pattern
-Discussion of the benefits in cutting the bow on the true bias


Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow Part 6: Pattern for the Bow

It takes a lot more fabric to cut a Pussycat Bow on the true bias. The results, though, are well worth it. The finished bow will drape beautifully. It will also follow the curve of the neckline smoothly so long as care is taken in the cutting and sewing.

Since the Retro Glam version of the 1950s Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow has a lower neckline even more fabric is required than would be for a blouse with a higher neckline following the shape of the neckline.

If a Pussycat Bow is cut on the lengthwise or crosswise grain the fabric will circle the neckline in a satisfactory manner but it will lack the softness of one cut on the true bias. The bow, too, will not have any softness or fullness. Instead of looking appealing, the bow will droop. It will not have the fullness that a bias cut bow will.

The choice is up to you. I recommend experimenting with inexpensive lightweight muslin, calico and gingham to see what appeals to you. Using a gingham or striped fabric will also stimulate creative ideas from comparing how prints and stripes will look for a bow when cut on the straight grain or true bias.

The pattern follows…
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Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow Part 5: Adding Ease at Hipline and Dart Tucks

The pattern is completed by adding ease at the hipline and one dart tuck in the front and two dart tucks to the back blouse patterns.

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Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow Part 1: The Bodice Pattern

This posting is the first in a series showing how to transform the basic unfitted bodice and sleeve into the 1950s Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow.

For the preliminaries please refer to:

How to take Measurements
How to Draft the Basic Unfitted Front and Unfitted Back Bodice
How to Draft the Basic Unfitted Sleeve

Basic Back Bodice with Shoulder Dart

The Basic Unfitted Bodice Front and Back is the basis for the Secretary Blouse with Pussycat Bow.

First, draft the bodice patterns by following instructions for adding style ease.


Follow instructions for drafting the Unfitted Basic Bodice Back and add 3″ to your Chest Circumference.

For example, Misses Size 4 Chest Circumference is 33″.
33″ + 3″ Style Ease=36″.

Use the resulting measurement when performing the calculations to draft the Unfitted Basic Bodice Back.

Remember that if the F-I is greater than 2″ you must add a shoulder dart to the Back Bodice Pattern. See drafting instructions for adding a shoulder dart to the back bodice pattern.


Style ease is added to the Bust Circumference and Chest Circumference.

For a blouse 3″ of ease is added.

For example,

Misses Size 4 Chest is 33″.
33″+3″ style ease=36″ Chest Circumference

Misses Size 4 Bust is 33″.
33″+3″ style ease=36″ Bust Circumference

Use your own measurements when performing the calculations.

The resulting measurement is used when drafting the patterns.

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.

New Project: Secretary Blouse with Bow and Sheath Skirt

The previous postings on how to draft a Basic Unfitted Bodice and Sleeve provide the foundation for recreating a style of Secretary Blouse with Bow similar to this vintage pattern envelope illustration I found on Pinterest.

The basic patterns will be used to recreate a style similar to #1 on this pattern envelope. I’m in the process of cutting and sewing up the toile. When it’s done, I’m going to post the photos.

The Basic Unfitted bodice is first drafted and then transformed to include details that will bring it close to the illustration.

I have not been able to find which pattern company created this style so I do not have the back pattern envelope with the illustration of the back view.

This style, though, is simple enough and will lend itself to interpretation. To keep the blouse smooth when it is tucked in, it looks like there are tucks stitched from the hem of the blouse and released slightly above the waistband. I have added four such tucks to the back of the blouse and one on each side of the front. This should control the fullness below the waistline so that the sheath skirt will fall smoothly over the hips.

The side bust dart on the Basic Unfitted Bodice Front is lowered.

For the sleeve, I’ve transformed the Basic Unfitted Sleeve into the Blouse Sleeve with cuff and placket. The sleeve will be gathered into the cuff.

Once the bodice is finished I have to see if I cut the bow on the straight grain or the bias.

When the toile is completed, I’ll post photos and the instructions for pattern transformation.

The sheath skirt pattern and sewing tutorials for it will come after completion of the blouse.

Adding a Facing for Blouse with Collar, Collar and Lapels or Button Down Front

This facing is added to the draft for the Basic Unfitted Front Bodice Pattern.

Step 1: Lengthen blouse below waistline. The amount will vary with the style of blouse. Many blouses of the 1950s end 4-5″ below the waistline. Modern blouses can end 7-9″ below the waistline. Consider whether you will create a pattern for a tuck-in blouse or an overblouse. A longer blouse length ensures that a tucked in blouse will not completely rise up over the waistband and require frequent tucking in.

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