60s Pussybow Blouse Pattern

Posted by on Mar 01, 2014


This is a 60's style top I made. First published on my blog www.staceystitch.com.
Here we are, finished in all it’s splendour, my blummin' gorgeous 60s blouse a la Joan Harris (nee Holloway).
So where did I start? Having never made a blouse before I wasn’t entirely sure what material to go for. I decided on a trusty poly-cotton which meant the drape would be a bit stiffer than the one shown in the picture but I did want the collar to be a little stiffer, and as I wasn’t sure how this would all play out I thought not splashing the cash on fancy fabric would be the best option.
I went about cutting the pattern, fabric and interfacing out and I was quite happily thinking “less pieces, less work than a dress”. Ah, the young sewing fool inside me.
At the end of the first day I’d made the bodice and the collar. It dawned on my when I finished that I’d absolutely breezed the collar this time, I think I’ve been so caught up in worrying about the set in sleeves that I appear to have somehow mastered collars without thinking about it. Pretty good eh?!
Then it was sleeve making time. I should state, at this point, I have never made a full length sleeve, the previous ones I’ve made have been short/cap sleeves. So this was a bit of a learning curve. A sleeve with a cuff turns out to be very confusing when you get down to the cuff part. In the picture above are the markings to make the shirt fit to the barrel cuff. The part that I’m about to start stitching is the reinforced part which is then turned inside out and makes the opening that you then attach the cuff to. All looks great on paper, all does not make sense once I’ve sewn it and pinned it.
It took me half an hour to figure out what it was meant to look like from the illustration on the instructions and the consequential consultation with my husband, to figure out if I was having a particularly bad case of dyslexic brain. Turns out his dyslexic brain was not computing either. But with fiddling, and pressing, and a few minutes break away from it I had that all too common eureka sewing moment where it clicked. I finally pressed it, attached the cuff and hoped for the best. It turned out pretty well and meant the second sleeve was a breeze.
Then it was onto the dreaded time... the set-in sleeve time. The time of doom. Now, I made a little list of goals at the beginning of the year (some have totally fallen by the wayside already) and one of these was to master set in sleeves by the end of 2014. So when I went into this part of making the blouse I did so with a new determination that I would not simply settle for “that’ll do” and I would set these sleeves in over and over until I got them perfect.
Plenty of people gave me advice (thank you everyone for all of your helpful tips and guidance) but I really owe massive thanks to Clare at www.sewdixielou.com for spurring me on when I was halfway through ripping the sleeves out for the second time (and on the verge of having a little cry) who simply said “I never use the gathered way. I do it by hand, gently easing larger fabric pinning every 1/2″. Then, once I'm happy, I pin in between pins then baste by hand. Then, I remove pins and check how it looks then machine.
Now, this may strike you as odd (but probably goes a long way to explain more than a bit about me), but I never considered for a moment that I should use any other method than gathering. It’s what everyone had shown me; books, sewing tutorials online, pattern instructions. All gathering. It’s a rule, right? Wrong. I am learning more and more that sewing is about finding what works for you and just because people say you should do it this way, it doesn’t mean you have to do it this way.
In the end I went for a bit of both, I gathered a little and then pinned and pinned. I sewed from the inside of the sleeve, calmly and slowly, gently and smoothing as I went. Et Voilà!
I was so overjoyed that I ran about the house and told Tim he should come and look, at which point he did and we embraced and then I did my little happy dance (literally). Then I proceeded to set the other in, with no problem at all and then made Tim come back every five minutes to look at my beautiful set in sleeves on my fantastic blouse.
Needless to say, it wore a bit thin (for him - certainly not for me) after the 50th time, saying that though he was very chuffed for me. Next up were buttonholes and buttons, which I forgot to buy. I finally located some small-ish ones and add them to the cuffs and the front of the blouse with a pop stud opening at the top (which is covered when the collar is done up) and here we are, the finished article.
I have refrained from modeling this as I really want to get the skirt made in March so that I can wear both together, just like Joanie. I really feel like I’ve made sewing skills progress with this blouse. I have learned sleeves with openings and cuffs and I have finally managed to successfully set in sleeves and I’ve made a new type of collar. Wholly happy.

Materials: green polycotton

Other Images

  • 60s Pussybow Blouse Pattern
  • 60s Pussybow Blouse Pattern
  • 60s Pussybow Blouse Pattern
  • 60s Pussybow Blouse Pattern

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