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Gertie’s 1940s Blouse

From the archives I dug up this ancient relic of my early sewing.

That or I went through a box from when I last moved house and found this blouse. I made it in September 2015, two months after I started sewing. I thought this would be fun to  post so I can look at an early project that I was genuinely pleased with at the time.

The colour is really more purple than the wine colour here. 

I remember making this blouse, it was my third attempt at the pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. I think in making the first version I cried at least twice! In hindsight it was way too difficult a project for someone who had only made a t-shirt and a few sorbettos, but wow did I learn a lot. I lengthened the sleeves to three quarter length but other than that I followed the pattern completely. Having made cuffs now I can say that Gertie’s instructions were confusing, but here collar instrucions were good.

front detail.jpg
You can see the shoulder dart and the front tucks here. 

The fabric was bought at Marché de Saint Pierre in Paris specifically for this project and I remember loving the fabric as it was light but so easy to use. I remember being proud of this project but disappointed that the fit just didn’t work. The underarms unfortunately pinched (I probably should have done a FBA) and it really was just too uncomfortable to wear.

inside out.jpg
The inside, seams were finished with bias tape, french seams or pinking shears

As a beginner I was insane for taking it on, it had tucks, button holes, a collar, cuffs and set in sleeves! I french seamed everything except the sleeve head, I remember I couldn’t figure out how to do that so I bias bound it. The collar and cuffs also confused me a little so more bias tape was used.

I’m honestly impressed by how neatly I pressed everything and my hemming is really neat (I absolutely loathe hemming and wouldn’t be surprised to see a shit job here due to apathy). My buttonholes unfortunately do not line up perfectly.

The dart tucks and the hand stitched hem.

Honestly I’m impressed with myself, I remember quite accurately how good/bad the shirt is, and my sewing is surprisingly good all things considered! This was my last attempt with this pattern, I think I was a little disheartened that it didn’t fit. Also looking at it it’s not really my style. The vintage feel is quite subtle but not something I’d buy in a shop.


Looking at this project really makes me want to take on more challenging things, and I can see why I made this despite it not being my style. It’s a trade-off I really face in sewing, making something I’d wear but that also has lots of nice sewing features.

I think it’s nice to look back at unsuccessful projects and find something to feel proud about, I don’t consider this project to be a failure actually. All the work I put into making it taught me so much about sewing and really pushed me to learn more very quickly. Looking back has also shown me how much I’ve learned (I can do cuffs and collars now!) in an enjoyable way. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this; do you like looking back at early projects and are you in any way interested in seeing some of my early projects?




8 thoughts on “Gertie’s 1940s Blouse

  1. Such a great shirt, you did a fab job. I did exactly the same as you when I started sewing a couple years ago jumped in with two feet and I had many things that didn’t work but I learnt how to adjust and alter as I went (thank god for pinterest and Google) looking back I also made things that weren’t to my taste but I think I’m still guilty of that now, I think I get carried away but it does push me on, I’ve just made my first bra’s (Harriet) and feel so proud of myself, I have the urge to show everyone though 🙂

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  2. This is a really cute model. I love vintage styles, but, surprisingly, have never been tempted by Gertie’s books. I would like to make something like this though! I agree that it can be nice to look back at something that didn’t really work yet still have reason to be proud. When I think about the lack of sewing knowledge I had, I’m surprised I’ve been able to go so far! Something nice to remember right now because I’ve been feeling like I’ve been really messing up my latest projects!

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  3. It’s a great fabric and a great shirt! I still remember the first pants and top that I made – matching pink polyester… what can I say, it was stylish way back then. It was also really really irritating to wear because the back of the pants were too low and they kept falling down. I have learned my lesson since!

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