A Complete Course in Dressmaking/Lesson 4/How to make blouses



BLOUSES have come up in the world. It's different than it used to be when "shirtwaist" meant a feminine addition of a man’s shirt. One shirtwaist was as near like another as two peas in a pod. Now you couldn’t count styles in blouses—the glorified shirtwaist—on your two hands.

The modern idea is to suit your individuality and wear the style of blouse that is becoming to you, but the type of the blouse is a different matter. Blouses are divided into several distinct classes—blouses for sports, blouses for informal wear and costume blouses. Pick the blouse that is appropriate for the occasion and one that suits the skirt you intend wearing with it.

The right blouse with the right skirt makes a smart costume. The right blouse may even help a mediocre skirt to be passable. However, the wrong blouse will spoil even the most stylish skirt. Fig. (1) If you are inclined to be stout, choose an overblouse About the most important blouse in a woman's wardrobe, nowadays, is what is known as the "costume blouse." It's the waist that is dressy: the one you can put on with your suit for a matinee or an afternoon call. Over-the-skirt blouses have come to be popular in this particular type. Some of the costume blouses extend below the hips and are belted loosely at a normal waistline. These are especially suited to a well developed figure. (See Fig. 1.) Other styles are finished just a few inches below the waistline in a smart belt effect, as the blouse in Fig. 2. Of course, there are costume blouses that tuck in the skirt, but they make the costume so obviously a waist and skirt affair. An over-the-skirt style, giving much the same appearance as a one-piece frock, is certainly dressier.

Color is another important consideration in Fig. (2) A costume blouse of silk and lace will give your suit the appearance of a coat and one-peice dress costume blouses. The safest choice, and probably the smartest, is a color exactly matching the color of the suit. This applies especially to the stout woman. However, it's well for even the slender woman to remember that a blouse of contrasting color makes of a coat and her appear shorter.

For the woman who doesn't have to consider her height, a costume blouse in a lighter shade of the suit color is often effective, as a tan blouse with a brown suit or a grayish light blue with a navy blue suit. If the blouse in another color is used, it is well to work the suit shade into the trimming. For instance, a dull red blouse might be quite effective with a dark blue suit, if it were embroidered with dark blue yarn.

Materials in costume blouses vary with the seasons. At the present, crepe silks are favored. Heavy georgettes, crepe de chines, canton crepes and heavy silk and wool crepes are also used. Chiffons in veiled effects are another of fashion's fancies. Here, two colors are used one over the other. Printed crepes and chiffons in subtle colors make a rich blouse. These last mentioned silks are used for whole blouses or trimmings on the plain colored crepe waists.

The smartest finish you can have on the neck of a costume blouse is a binding of the material. Collars are omitted entirely on this type of waist.

I might add one "don't" after costume blouses. Don't wear an elaborate waist with a sports skirt or a rough weave woolen suit of the strictly tailored variety. The costume blouse requires a semi-dressy or formal suit of twill, broadcloth or velour.

Tailored waists range all the way from the mannish shirtwaists to sheer affairs plainly cut intended for wear with the semi-tailored suits.

Fig. (3) Plainly cut waists are the smart accessory to the sports skirt or tailored suit Strictly tailored blouses finished with a high soft collar and with regular shirt sleeves are only suitable to wear with a tailored sports skirt of homespun or tweed or the plainest of a knockabout suit. On the other hand, there is a blouse classed as tailored which has a more diverse purpose. It's a blouse with a flat plain collar as the blouse in Fig. 3.

The style of such a waist may vary to the extent of a flat round collar or a different placing of the tucks but the general lines remain the same.

If the material is voile, batiste, handkerchief linen or a wash silk such as crepe de chine it makes a charming accessory to either a plain or semi-dressy suit for general wear such as shopping and traveling.

Fig. (4) There's feminine charm in the frilled lingerie waist Color in such a waist does not follow the same rule as in the costume blouse. In a tailored blouse, no color quite comes up to a crisp, freshly laundered white waist. Cream, ecru, flesh color, light yellow and a delicate green are also worn in tailored waists. Sometimes, in silk a tailored waist is made to match the color of the suit.

Lingerie blouses are akin to the tailored waists. They serve practically the same purpose. A waist of voile or batiste trimmed with fine Valenciennes lace and narrow tucks and perhaps a touch of hand drawn work is chosen by many women in preference to the tailored waist for street wear, shopping and such occasions. It is especially appropriate with a silk sports skirt for summer morning wear. (See Fig. 4.)

Fig. (5) Sports blouses are often trimmed with gay wool yarn embroidery Sports blouses as the name implies belong to the country and out-of-doors. The sweater craze has supplemented them somewhat but a few are worn in heavy crepe silks, pongee or such cottons as cotton homespun or ratine. Usually there is a touch of wool yarn embroidery in some gay color, as shown in Fig. 5. As to style, an overblouse with kimono sleeves is the preferred type.