Shirtwaist Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1912 pattern #0219
This pattern is for a bias-cut shirtwaist with a bust measurement of 34”. It has a round yoke that touches the peak of the shoulder, with a 90’ angle turning the yoke into center back and center front insets that reach the hem. It also has a button band at the center front. It is designed for a cuff and detachable collar, though no patterns are provided for these pieces.
I purchased a nice brown plaid for this pattern as a way of showing off the bias cut. But because I needed to add 8” to the bust, I wanted to do a muslin…a wearable muslin. I found a light-weight cotton in a tiny variegated blue pinstripe with a white ground. I have some marine blue linen in my stash with plans for a skirt, so I decided to use the linen for my trim.
This pattern is very like the VPLL Ladies Spring Mantle pattern: half the front, half the back and one sleeve are included in one pattern piece. I approached the alterations in a similar fashion, slashing the entire piece from lower front edge, across sleeve to lower back edge. I added 2” at this slash line. This increased the sleeve length by 2”, so I shortened the sleeve by this amount between the elbow and cuff.
I did a full bust adjustment using the no-dart method. This increased the front length by 2”. Because I wanted a modern version of this blouse, I increased the front length an additional 2” at the side seam. I increased the back length by 2” above the waist seam and 2” below the waist seam. I increased the length of the yoke pieces and the button band to match those on the front and back pieces.
Drafting Pattern Pieces
A standard cuff is approximately 10” long and 3” wide. I preferred rounded corners, and found a pattern in the book Shirtmaking by David Page Coffin. I also used his pattern for a sleeve placket, and a collar band. I decided not to make a detachable collar, although his book has instructions for this.
I decided on a 1/8” welt trim around most of the seams. I needed 7 1/2 yds.
I then began to construct the blouse. As no instructions were given for this pattern, here are my instructions.
Pattern Pieces Cut from Fashion Fabric:
- Patterns Were Provided For:
- Front/sleeve/back pattern designed for bias layout – Cut 2, flipping pattern piece in order to create a left and a right side.
- Back yoke, bias layout – Cut 1 on bias fold.
- Front yoke, bias layout – Cut 2 on bias.
- Button band, bias layout – Cut 2 on bias.
- Patterns Needing to be created by sewer:
- Cuff, bias layout – Cut 2 on bias.
- Sleeve placket – Cut 2 on grain.
- Collar band, bias layout – Cut 2 with center back seam on bias.
- Detachable Collar:
- Upper Collar – Cut 1 on straight grain; cut one of interfacing.
- Under Collar – Cut 1 on straight grain.
- Collar Stand – Cut 2 on straight grain.
Pattern Pieces from facing Fabric
- Button band – Cut 2 on grain.
- Cuff – Cut 2 on grain.
- Collar band – Cut 2 with center back seam on grain.
Trim Fabric – 7-1/2 yards 1 1/8” bias tape folded in half. It is applied as a 1/8” wide welt trim.
Sewing the Blouse
- Stay stitch all bias-cut pieces to prevent them stretching out of shape.
- Transfer all markings from pattern to fabric.
- Sew pin-tucks in waist fronts. Do not backstitch at lower end. Leave long thread tails, pull to inside and tie.
- A simple technique for attaching the trim is as follows: Matching raw edges, pin a length of the trim to the center front, neck, and back edges of each blouse half. Miter the trim at the ninety-degree turn on the front and back. Baste in place.
- Construct the yoke by matching the shoulder seams of the front and back yoke pieces at numbers 22 and 23. Stitch and press seams open.
- Press under the seam allowance of the yoke. Clip the curved edge as necessary for a smooth curve.
- Match yoke and shirt front and back, being sure to match the numbers 24, 25,26, and 27. Clip the rounded edge to the stay stitching in order to ease around the curves. Baste, then fell stitch the yoke to the front/back pieces.
- Attach trim to the center front edges of the front yoke in the same manner as Step 4 above.
- If desired: attach trim to the long un-numbered edge of button band in the same manner as above.
- Place button band on center front of yoke, right sides together and matching numbers 18 and 19. Place button band facing on inside of shirt, right side of band to wrong side of blouse. Stitch through all layers, sandwiching blouse front between the two bands. Grade seams and press toward bands.
- Press under unstitched edge of button band and unstitched edge of band facing on seam lines. Whip stitch facing to band.
- To create a sleeve placket, measure a line parallel to the sleeve seam, and approximately 4” from the back seam edge. Mark this seam up from the cuff edge at least 4” long (more if desired).
- Mark lines ¼” on either side of this line. Stay stitch along these lines, and across the top, creating a box ½” wide and as long as the mark up from the cuff. Slash along the center line to within ½” of the top. Cut into each top corner at an angle from the center, creating a triangle at the top.
- Cut a piece of fabric 10” long on the grain, and 1 ½” wide.
- With the right side of the sleeve placket on the wrong side of the sleeve, match the raw edge with the edge of the slash. Stitch ¼” seam allowance along the stay stitching to the top corner. Pivot at the corner and stitch across the top. Pivot at the next corner and stitch the ¼” seam to the cuff edge.
- Press the placket toward the slash. Fold and press toward right side ½” from seam line.
- On right side of sleeve, press edge of placket under ¼”, covering previous seam. Top stitch edge of placket, easing fabric to turn corner at top of placket.
- Reinforce underarm slashes with a short stitch, then slash on lines marked. Be careful not to cut stitching.
- Match numbers of side/underarm seams 28, 29, and 30. Although it is an unusual construction, it goes together easily. First stitch seam from cuff edge to ninety-degree turn and stop. Next, stitch side seam up to the ninety-degree turn and stop. Then ease the seam between the two points and stitch.
- Apply interfacing to wrong side of cuffs, if desired. Apply trim right side of cuff edges as described above. Place cuff and cuff facing, right sides together and stitch the short sides and one long edge. Grade seams, press and turn. Press again.
- With right sides together, match raw edge of cuff to sleeve edge, taking two or three small tucks in the sleeve between the seam and the placket as needed to allow the cuff to fit. Pin the cuff to sleeve, being careful to keep the cuff facing free. Baste and stitch. Grade seam and press toward cuff. Whip stitch the cuff facing to the cuff, enclosing all raw edges.
- Stitch center back of collar band and under collar band, right sides together. Trim seams and press open.
- If desired, attach trim to collar band in same manner as described above.
- Place collar and under collar, right sides together and stitch sides and top edges. Grade seams, press, and turn.
- Place collar on blouse right sides together, matching neck edge and pin. Be sure to leave under collar free. Stitch seam. Grade and press toward collar band.
- Hand whip stitch facing to neck edge enclosing seam allowances.
- Make collar according to design you have chosen. You may choose buttons or snaps to attach it to the blouse.
- Turn under bottom edge of waist in a narrow hem and stitch.
- Buttonholes should be worked on the right front Button band, and buttons attached to the left front. A button should be added to the collar band at the neck edge and the cuffs. The placement and number of buttons will depend on their size and the preference of the sewer.
To modernize the look, I added two rows of gathering at the front waist. To do this, I took a piece of bias tape 9” long and pressed under the short ends. I placed one tape beginning 1” from the front yoke seam and following the waist line, and pinned it in place. I stitched one long edge, placed a 3 1/” piece of elastic under the tape and stitched the other long edge, reinforcing the elastic at both ends. I stitched a second casing and elastic 1 ½” above the first, creating two lines of horizontal gathering. This takes in some of the front fullness and gives a very flattering fit.
I couldn’t find any buttons I liked, so I covered 8 ½” buttons with blue linen.
- VPLL #0219 Ladies Blouse
- I am an advanced sewer
- I would rate this pattern a 5 because it looks so nice when made up.
- A sewer would need intermediate skills for this pattern, as the yoke shaping and assumption of knowledge regarding drafting and applying collar and cuffs might be beyond a beginner.
- There were no instructions, so I have included my own.
- The sizing was what I expected before I made alterations.
- I altered for fit and for design in order to update the look. I did this by increasing the overall length of the blouse, and especially the back. I made a small self-fabric stand-up collar rather than a white one. I also added two rows of gathering to the front at waist level in order to draw in the excess fabric.
- I like this blouse, and it is now part of my work wardrobe. The sewer has to be careful with this bias cut as it is easily stretched out of shape. The welt trim adds a sharp edge which helps to show off the bias of the blouse. I would encourage sewers to use a fabric that shows off this design detail.
Pattern Review Checklist:
- This is a ladies blouse cut on the bias. The main pattern piece is half the front, half the back, and the sleeve in one piece. It has a round yoke that extends down both front and back to the hemline. There are front button bands. It is designed for a separate collar and for cuffs, though no pattern pieces are provided for these.
- It is sized for a 34” bust.
- The finished blouse looks like the illustration.
- No instructions were given for this pattern.
- I liked the unusual construction of the underarm/sleeve seam, and the look of the round yoke, but didn’t like the lack of collar and cuff patterns.
- I choose light weight 100% cotton for the blouse. I used medium weight 100% linen for the trim.
- My alterations are specified above, including both fit and design alterations.
- I would recommend this pattern to anyone who can draft simple pattern pieces and likes the 1912 look.
- My conclusion is that I love this blouse and will be wearing it to work!