Sort-Of-New 1895 Blouse: At A Picnic With Teddy And Me

This is another case of the delays… The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers performed at an event in June (cough, cough… I am so slow!) that was called something like A Picnic for Teddy, Mommy, and Me. It was at the Salem Athenaeum, a private library, and was targeted toward young girls, their mothers, and their teddy bears! Cute!

We performed in 1890s whites. I had been dragging my feet about constructing my own whites, so I took this opportunity to go for it.

Dancing “Teddy Bear’s Picnic.” It’s really a ridiculous dance, but it fit the theme of the event perfectly!
It was super hot that day! Sitting, in the shade, was wonderful. As was my fan…
CVD on the steps of the Athanaeum.
After the event we walked across Salem to get some lunch. Of course, Salem often sees people dressed in odd clothes, so we didn’t surprise people, but they were curious about what event we were going to.

I’m not totally sold on the white skirt I made. It’s a gored skirt and it works fine, it’s just not super eye catching (aka, it’s great for performances, but won’t get worn for other things… maybe it will be a petticoat if needed?). Oh, and I also threw the hat together, thinking that the white and blue would be nautical and good for Newport. But then I totally re-trimmed the hat at Newport because it didn’t have quite enough oomph with the white and blue. But the blouse… I love the blouse! It’s super comfy and lightweight, it closes in front (yay!), is washable,  and I like the fabric. Win!

It is based off of a fashion plate in one of my many books. I draped a basic blouse pattern and adapted the pattern as needed to add the gathers in the front and back. The exterior is mounted on a lining made from the basic blouse pattern so that they gathers will stay where they are supposed to be. It is constructed of cotton with swiss dots for the exterior and a lightweight woven stripe cotton for the base (which I bought for $1 a yard a while ago! Love that price!). It closes up the front with concealed hooks and thread bars. The sleeves are quite large gigot sleeves, but because they are not lined they sort of just droop. Here are some pictures! I think I got pretty close to that inspiration image, don’t you? I love the feeling of success that comes with really nailing the look in reproducing a garment! Don’t we all?

The inspiration image.
Front of the blouse, on Squishy, the mannequin.
Back of the blouse on Squishy.
In the garden.

5 thoughts on “Sort-Of-New 1895 Blouse: At A Picnic With Teddy And Me

  1. Oh, wow! Just lovely. How do you find the time to do all that sewing, along with a job and all the performances, workshops, that you do?

    You sound so much like me in that everything must be eye catching, nothing done like anyone elses, and on a budget too. (Vintage clothing of any period is NOT cheap to reproduce.) Most of my experience has been with 13th-16th century, but I see some more recent periods knocking at my sewing room door. (First, the sewing room needs lots of attention so I can get in there to sew and to double as a guest room.)

    if you don’t mind, can you post a picture of your Roaring 20s dress, the green assymetrical one? I didn’t get a good look ar it in the group pictures you posted. Not enough to work out all the details you spent time on.

    Rock on!

    1. Hm… That first one is a great question, Helen! I spend a significant amount of my free time on evenings and weekends sewing. I also try to get all my cutting and machine sewing done on weekends so that on weekdays when I have less brain power and less time I can hand sew while I relax at night. The fact that I really enjoy hand sewing does help!

      And yes, you’re right on the second point. I do love having clothes that are both fabulous and unique (inside and out, undergarments and exterior garments). And of course, like most of us, I try to do all of this without extravagant spending! That sure is one of the hardest parts!

      I’ll have to do a post about the 20s dress. I’ll add it to my list. The spoiler is that it’s super simple and much less adorned than most of my clothes usually are… 🙂 Thanks for asking!

  2. This is darling! I adore swiss dot. It was so sad to have the pandemic destroy my hopes of finally getting to a CVD event, now that I’m back in New England for my master’s.

    1. Thank you! That is so sad! We would have loved to have you at an event. Maybe (hopefully) someday we will be able to host them again–maybe that will be soon enough that your degree won’t be finished yet and you’ll be able to join. Fingers crossed that events can happen again without too many months or years passing!

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