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40s blouse & pencil skirt

Added Nov 29, 2010

by olystyrene

Sydney, Australia






A few months ago, I found a stack of great fabric amongst my regular op shop trawls. Among this stack was some gorgeous lightweight beige fabric with black polka dots, and some black (or in some lighting conditions, apparently a very very dark navy) heavy suiting fabric. A delicious combination for an outfit – although not immediately realised.

I took to the beige fabric straight away, making a late 1930’s cocktail dress (to be posted another time). The fabric was a delight to work with in many ways – I loved how easily I could press it and the way it draped in the skirt section.. I had quite a bit of fabric left over, and decided to make a 1940’s style blouse with it. I chose this particular blouse pattern because it had a couple of really striking features that really caught my eye – namely, the faux waistline gathers (really, just very thin darts) and the cute little sleeves. I couldn’t say no!

I started by grading the pattern pieces, as usual. I’ve made a few 1940’s blouses before and this one was a bit different because of the shape of the collar and neckline. To tell you the truth, I found this a bit tricky – I think this is where the fabric may have been a little bit too delicate for the sort of collar I was going for. Oh well, lesson learned! :)

The skirt followed much much later. I was digging through my fabric and just stumbled upon it, forgetting entirely that it even existed. I’d wanted to make a plain coloured pencil skirt for a while now, so it just seemed right. I’ve obsessing over the soft pleat for quite some time now. It seemed like the perfect feature for this skirt, especially because of the heavyweight fabric. I based this skirt on the bottom section of a 60’s dress pattern that I really liked, and added a wide waistband. I also shifted the zipper closure to the back of the skirt, to suit the waist band (rather than the side, on the dress). Everything was done with great care – I pressed and pressed slowly and carefully, and finished my seams with a Hong Kong binding seam finish. I think I actually overdid the pressing of the hem because after one wear, the hem binding on the hem ripped in so many places! Another lesson learned – never using polycotton hem binding on hems that need a lot of ironing!

Anyway, I think the blouse and the skirt look a piece together, I’ve been wearing both quite regularly. Definitely worth the investment of time sewing and learning.



Related Techniques


Summer, Fall
Garment Type
Business, Classic, Vintage
Blends, Suiting

18 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Avatar_copy_large

    May 27, 2011, 07.30 AMby lagrandaja

    The blouse is adorable! Great job:)

    1 Reply
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      Jun 7, 2011, 04.26 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you! It’s definitely a wardrobe staple now ;)

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    May 9, 2011, 04.36 PMby mnavoy

    beautiful blouse!

    1 Reply
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      May 10, 2011, 01.36 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you muchly!

  • Missing

    Dec 2, 2010, 01.32 AMby vaneh82

    Love the Look! Everything goes so well together.

    1 Reply
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    Dec 1, 2010, 04.04 PMby Syrena B

    Great outfit! I love it!

    1 Reply
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    Dec 1, 2010, 03.01 AMby aluckmann

    Oh my! I really love this outfit, and all of the pictures are gorgeous. I can’t wait to see more from you.

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 5, 2010, 11.48 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you! I shall be adding more projects shortly ;)

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    Nov 30, 2010, 04.31 AMby iamrotkappchen

    awww! that is brilliant! and u look gorgeous and elegant ! love what u make :D

    1 Reply
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      Nov 30, 2010, 10.47 PMby olystyrene

      Thank YOU! That’s a lovely compliment! :)

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    Nov 29, 2010, 06.29 PMby lkeogan

    They really suit you! Great job :)

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 29, 2010, 10.14 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you so much! :)

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    Nov 29, 2010, 05.30 PMby integerclub

    Looks great, Ol! Are you using a fancy brooch as a button on the top?

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2010, 10.14 PMby olystyrene

      Thanks, Doycey! Hes yes, that is indeed a fancy brooch. I picked it up in an op shop in Katoomba!

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    Nov 29, 2010, 02.56 PMby irmchen

    Love this look! :-)

    1 Reply
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    Nov 29, 2010, 11.39 AMby analogue

    Beautiful work, very elegant!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 29, 2010, 10.13 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you so very much!

  • Befunky_img_20130826_083902_large

    Nov 29, 2010, 11.09 AMby BlancheOfArts

    The whole outfit looks great!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 29, 2010, 10.13 PMby olystyrene

      Thaaank you!

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    Nov 29, 2010, 10.59 AMby Ophelia K

    Lovely outfit and you nice photos!! It’s definitely 40s! I love it!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 29, 2010, 10.13 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you, Ophelia!

  • 5c12b52ace24d7a3f10ec8b35d6cd4d44ba1e7f3_large

    Nov 29, 2010, 10.11 AMby gillthecat

    im loving the whole look and your hair how terribly darling, love the subtle colour of the outfit really nice wish i was that elegant !!

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2010, 10.12 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you so much! I was a bit unsure about photographing the blouse because of the colour, that ivory can be a bit hit and miss, especially with my skin tone! I’m glad it sort of worked here :)

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    Nov 29, 2010, 07.58 AMby zeegang

    beautiful designs.

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2010, 09.33 AMby olystyrene

      Thanks! I wish I could claim them all as my own! ;)

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    Nov 29, 2010, 04.59 AMby ellohdesign

    looks great! awesome hairdo

    1 Reply
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    Nov 29, 2010, 04.29 AMby nessys

    Oh Darling – you have done it AGAIN!

    Both pieces are exceptionally beautiful and incredibly well made. I am partial to a lot of pressing, and it sounds and looks like a real treat.

    That blouse is so gorgeous – I would have never believed that beige could looks so fabulous – and it really does. The skirt is such a lovely cut.

    Once again your photo shoot, accessories and make-up (and in particular) hair are perfection and glamour personified! xxxx

    PS I too await the cocktail dress with much interest and excitement. Gosh your opt-shopping trips are of what dreams are made of!

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2010, 09.33 AMby olystyrene

      Thanks as always, Nessy! I was a bit worried that the blouse wouldn’t show up all that well because of the colour. I’d taken some photos of the 30’s dress previously, in I looked so washed out, I couldn’t bear to post them! I’ll have to wait for a better photo opportunity… ;)

  • Burdastyle_profile_large

    Nov 29, 2010, 02.22 AMby junaluska

    Wow! The two fabrics really do make a “delicious combination.”

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2010, 09.31 AMby olystyrene

      Thanks! Glad you agree ;)

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    Nov 29, 2010, 02.05 AMby shangrow

    Wow, I really really love this look. The pleats look great on the skirt, and the blouse is so adorable. Can’t wait to see the cocktail dress because the fabric is cute. Also, what pattern did you use for the blouse?

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 29, 2010, 09.31 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you! ;) I’ll be sure to post the cocktail dress at the next available opportunity. FYI the pattern was Hollywood #880.

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