20th Century

A checked 1910s blouse

When I announced the Paisley & Plaid challenge someone commented that both patterns were lovely, as long as you didn’t wear  them together.

Naturally, that was far  too big of a challenge for me to pass up on!

And luckily, I had a length of checked cotton in my stash, just waiting to be made up into a 1910s blouse!

So, with some help from Felicity (at her most elegant!) and Wearing History’s amazing Edwardian blouse pattern, I made a 1910s blouse to be worn with my paisley skirt.

1910s checked blouse thedreamstress.com

OK, so the blouse is a very subtle check/plaid indeed,  but it does show that you can blend paisley & plaid!

1910s checked blouse thedreamstress.com

I accumulated a whole pile of inspiration images to base my blouse on, and I settled on a front buttoning blouse with 3/4 length sleeves and  the one piece wing collars that appear in fashion plates around 1914:

Les Modes ,1914, Robe d'apres-midi par Bulloz

Les Modes ,1914, Robe d’apres-midi par Bulloz

To achieve it, I altered the Wearing History pattern to have a front button opening, drafted the collar as an extension to the pattern (as it’s cut in one piece with the shirt front), and took the gathers out of the sleeves for a smoother, slimmer look in keeping with the 1910s silhouette.  I debated altering the sleeves to cut-on kimono sleeves, and rather regret that I didn’t.

Still, I’m quite taken with the result.

1910s checked blouse thedreamstress.com

I’m definitely going to make more versions, though I’ll tweak the pattern a bit.  It’s got slight wrinkles around the collar because 1) my button placement is too high (easily fixed as they are false buttons), and 2) it’s a tiny bit too small across the bust and down from the shouers, because Wearing History patterns (unlike every other pattern ever) are actually the size they say on the packet, and I have a really long upper-shoulder to bust measure , but mostly because  I forgot to add width for the button overlap (the perils of midnight pattern drafting)

1910s checked blouse thedreamstress.com


Obviously the photos were taken as part of yesterday’s photoshoot with the 1913 paisley skirt.  I’ll finish with one showing how pretty the interior decor and teacups at Floridita’s are (even if you can barely see their paisley wallpaper in this shot):

1910s checked blouse thedreamstress.com


The Challenge:  #14  —  Paisley & Plaid

Fabric:  1.5m of lightweight cotton muslin with a loose, open weave and a woven in checked/plaid pattern – from the $5 bin at Fabric Warehouse.

Pattern:  Wearing History’s 1900s-1910s blouse with significant pattern alterations.

Year:  1913-1916

Notions:  Cotton thread, plastic buttons, twill tape, bias for the waist channel.

How historically accurate is it?   The pattern is accurate, as is the fabric and the construction techniques.  I don’t have a documented source for  false button fastenings on blouses for this period, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t used (I didn’t look very hard).  The blouse as it is is a bit too snug to be accurate on me, but it’s perfect for someone one size down, so I won’t take points off for that.  There were early forms of plastics in use during the 1910s, so the buttons are only mildly anachronistic in the type of plastic.  So 90%.

Hours to complete:  5, most of which was spent drafting that annoying collar.

First worn:  On Friday for the photoshoot, and then to teach a sewing class, because it was just so comfortable (a modern version of this is going to be a wardrobe staple for me!).

Total Cost:  $5 in fabric, less than $1 in notions as they were mostly inherited.  $6 all up.



  1. Grace Darling says

    Heavens to Murgatroyd!! The indignity!! Poor Felicity, at her toilette in an unguarded moment. Is nothing sacred even.

  2. Elise says

    Ohhh, I would wear this blouse in an instant. I got a job! Professional clothes must be bought! Weeee! But all of the soft blouses out have an early 1980s vibe to them. This blouse, though, would be beautiful, and really transcends time periods. Beautiful!

  3. Tegan says

    Oh my goodness — you need to make one of those jackets! Gods, why are 19teens stuff sometimes SOOO CUTE but terribly impractical for modern life? I’ll take one in every color!

    • Elise says

      Not everything is impractical. The blouses are perfect for nowadays, as are the shoes and the coats.

      • Tegan says

        Yes, but I want to wear the whole OUTFIT. I don’t want to shoe-horn it into acceptability! 😛

        And yes, I wear the blouses and the shoes already. But I find that the skirts, jackets and dresses are enough “out there” to not work well, whereas I could pull off anything starting 10-15 years later, or 10-15 years earlier quite easily. But teens and 20s are hard.

        • Elise says

          Really? I used to wear 20s fashions often. I would love to see a picture of you circa 1900! Really, I would! I bet you would look fabulous!

  4. letthemeatcake says

    Skirt and blouse look fresh and even contemporary in some way (…must be hard to walk – let alone run- in it though)…i wonder where it could be worn nowadays without adding too much explaination that well…this is actually historic…it would maybe need a little bit of altering….but maybe along with the hat it could be worn at a….sorta…kinda….summer horse race?….in any case I like your garments that somehow walk the line between historic and now….also for swim wear this could be nice….

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