To continue Shirtmaking Month, I’m here to talk about a different type of shirt pattern, a woven wrap blouse!
Pattern name: 1942 Two-Piece Dress by Eva Dress Patterns
Size range: 14 (32/26.5/35) to 46 (46/40/49)
What size did you make? 40/46
What are your measurements, height, and body type?
Upper Bust – 38”
Bust – 42”
Bra Size – 36F/G
Waist – 36”
Hips – 47”
I’ve long considered myself a pear, but am perhaps more of an hourglass shape.
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
Eva Dress Patterns are vintage patterns that have been traced then graded into different sizes using a slash and spread method. This particular pattern was originally a DuBarry pattern. So when purchasing a Eva Dress Pattern version, you are essentially paying for the grading up process and the fact that multiple sizes come in one envelope. In this case bust sizes 32-38 are grouped and bust sizes 40-46 are grouped.
This is where adjustments got a tad tricky. The shoulders were a bit wide and the waist ran small. In order to get the fit right I made two muslins before throwing them both out and starting over with a different approach. I’ve put up a post with more detail on my own blog, but to make a long story short I ended up adding the extra width at the side seam of the front in addition to slashing and spreading the front by an additional inch. To narrow the shoulders I added 1 addition pleat to account for my slash and spread adjustment plus a 2nd pleat to narrow the shoulders an additional inch.
The other issue is the sleeve cap seems too tall. In the pattern pictures and pattern instructions there is no mention of needing to gather the sleeve cap, but that was the only way to get the sleeve to set in. I’d read about this issue before hand (from someone using the DuBarry version) and took out some of the sleeve cap height, but not enough apparently.
I also shortened the back length by about 1 inch. This is a very standard alteration for me.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
Aside from the sleeve cap height, the construction process was relatively smooth. The instructions are the original DuBarry instructions and are pretty classic 1940s instructions. Meaning they don’t do a ton of hand holding, but everything is clear for someone who has sewn these methods before. All the stress of this blouse was from getting the sizing right, not for lack of directions.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
I really like the final fit. I think the design works well for my body type. I feel quite busty (in a good way) and like my waist is well defined without having to tie it very tightly.
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
I would like to make this again. I have a few skirts that could really use a coordinating top and I feel like this would provide me with nice coverage in the office air conditioning. The only change I would make is to shorten the sleeve above the elbow. This blouse went straight from sewing machine to being worn for the entire rest of the day! I’ve had absolutely no gapping either. A minor miracle with a wrap top!
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up?
As with sewing any vintage pattern, it can be a little bit of a mystery when it comes to fit. These are not tested by a whole host of bloggers ahead of time, in fact The Eva Dress Pattern site didn’t have a finished picture posted when I bought the pattern! But I bought it because I really wanted a 1940s blouse with shoulder gathers or pleats instead of darts. Something that is as polished as a collared shirt, but a little less tricky to sew. In the end it means I had to do a lot of my own investigations to achieve a reasonable fit, and unfortunately I’m not sure that buying the Eva Dress Pattern was less work for me than trying to find an original vintage pattern close to my size. Plus there are some small issues like the sizing it sort of strange (jumps from 20 to 40) and my instructions came stapled out of order. For the high price of the patterns I was a little disappointed by that small detail.
However if you love vintage patterns and do not want to do all the slashing and spreading yourself then this is a good option for you. Fellow CSC member Andrea Gideon made this blouse as well (her photo is featured on the Eva Dress Pattern site) and she seems to had had fewer issues than me.
The other site that was really valuable was Handmade By Heather B who made her version of the blouse from the original DuBarry pattern and it was her post that alerted me to the sleeve cap height issue!
Size Range (1-5) 4 – pretty good for 1940s!
Instructions (1-5) 4 – perfectly clear, though brief
Construction Process (1-5) 3 – easy to put together, but hard to get the fit right
Final Fit (1-5) 4 – I love my finished top, but it took a lot of work to get there
Overall Rating (1-5) + Explanation 3.75 mostly because of the fit issues that come from making a modern garment from a vintage pattern