Making a 1940s blouse (Vogue 8526) using jersey

In June I made a plan to create a few nice tops, perhaps some blouses that I can wear for work, ideally in luxury fabrics. I have avoided blouses for years as they seem to take an inordinate amount of time to make, they have lots of pieces, they need dozens of button-holes, interfacing, and the details – such as collars and cuffs – are tricky. And then when you have made them they need to be washed and ironed every wear, which is time consuming and exacting. But I think they look great – when it is warm I think they give the right level of authority when you don’t want to wear a jacket.


I found this reproduction pattern that has some good looks.

Dahlia pattern
Dahlia patten

But then I found this rather unusual drapey blouse on eBay at a fraction of the cost. It looks fairly straightforward and claims it is “Easy to Make”.

1940s blouse 8526
Vogue 8526


The fabrics suggested are as follows:

  • silk crepe
  • heavy sheer silk
  • satin
  • rayons
  • silk jersey
  • transparent velvet
  • metal fabrics
  • novelty woolen
  • soft woollen
  • wool jersey
  • sheer woollen

As I mentioned is badged as “Easy to Make”.

I avidly consulted the instructions, and Vogue c1940, I beg to differ.

This “easy to make blouse” requires

  • Slash the CB neckline, create six bias loops, attach, face and attach six buttons
  • It has bias finished open side seams
  • over which a gathered “girdle” is created and stayed with ribbon binding
  • the girdle has four loops and buttons at the CF
  • the elbows are darted
  • each cuff is faced and fastened with four small buttons and loops
  • the ease in the sleeve heads is shrunk out
  • shoulder pads are made, covered, bound and inserted


As the chiffon blouse was a bit of an epic journey I am wondering if this pattern might work in a modern, synthetic jersey? If I made the neck a little wider maybe I could adapt this pattern to work as a light weight jumper instead of a blouse. Anyone tried something like this?


16 Responses

  1. Sue

    It is gorgeous and would probably look very nice on you – ah but the price to pay (work to do)! I love the drape.

  2. rosemary

    That is a pretty daunting list of techniques to make that blouse. I can see the appeal, it is stunning and you have that small waist to show off all the details.

  3. Sheree

    I agree with you about all the work involving blouses, but this! Far too much more and the outcome too risky. But that is just me, you seem to enjoy that sort of challenge, Kate.

  4. Mary

    I think you can simplify it and create a garment in jersey around the style lines.The sleeve caps will soften and the neck will drop down but I think it will look great. No buttons up the back and no sleeve darts if your jersey has enough stretch. All the gathering can easily be stabilized with seam binding. I just made a toile for a jersey dress using a jersey sheet I found at a thrift shop.That really helped with fit before I cut into my lovely (and expensive) wool jersey. Good Luck!

  5. Jay

    It’s too interesting a style not to have a crack at. I don’t see why the right jersey wouldn’t work – fairly slinky but not too stretchy would be what I’d look for. Definitely in jersey, and possibly in woven, would it be an idea to double check how the sleeve and armscye is drafted? Shrinking out sleeve head ease suggests that the shoulder has been drafted high, which was quite typical of the era, giving more fullness in the sleeve head than we’d probably use now.
    If you do decide to make it, can I put in a plea for some blow by blow pictures of the ‘girdle’ construction?

  6. DementedFairy

    Lovely lovely lovely. Go for merino wool jersey if you can find it, it’s very luxurious but super easy to wear [and washes well]. I made several tops for us when there was some at a bargain price on ebay a few years back. Fab stuff.

  7. jennifer miller

    Kate, you can imagine the terror struck in me when you detailed the “easy to make” construction. Yikes. I’m sure you’ll give it a go (you’re so brave that way) and I’ll be waiting to see the finished blouse.

  8. Kim Hood

    I suspect the easy tag was earned in a time when almost all ladies could sew. It’s a lovely style and I imagine it would reward the time taken. I agree with the suggestion of merino wool jersey.

  9. Stephanie

    I agree that this would be lovely in merino jersey. I would probably be lazy though and cut the sleeves with the garment if possible…not even sure if that could be managed while retaining the front gathers. That said, I think this would be nice with softer shoulders (though contrary to the style of the era). Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  10. AnnIe

    You’ve chosen a great style that will suit your figure, I’d do what Mary suggests and possibly go a step further by rouching the cuff with non functional buttons.

    Good luck.

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