Extant Garments: 1910s White Blouse Part III

Continuing our peek at the inside of this white blouse, today I’m sharing the detail of the sleeve placement.

Although this garment is, in essence, quite simple (as it’s the decorations which make it more elaborate like the tucking, embroidery, and lace), it is quite interesting to see the differences in the shape and placement of pieces for constructing this blouse as compared with modern ideas of blouse construction.  I think the sleeve is a perfect example of this concept.  If you’re at all familiar with Victorian or with vintage construction, you can see that this is a neat middle point between the two.

This is a view of the front of the blouse. Notice how the underarm seam of the sleeve is visible from the front.  The seam is actually placed forward to where we place underarm seams of sleeves today.  This is a one-piece sleeve.  Of course, the sleeve was drafted to allow for this placement, in order for it to hang correctly and the underarm seam to be in the correct position while not throwing off the hang of the sleeve.

Also of interest is where the sleeve cap lines up with the bodice.  If you’re familiar with Victorian garments you will recognize the sloped shoulder seam.  This is a transitional period, as with some earlier garments you get a more extreme shoulder seam slope, and with later garments it gets more to where we are accustomed to them today at the top of the shoulder.  This seam falls at an angle, being closer to the  standard shoulder seam placement as we know it today at the neck and then angled down more towards armscye.

Here’s a shot of the blouse on the table with the sleeve flipped up.  The seam falling vertically on the right is the side seam of the bodice, which in this instance, is placed further back than we place them today.  The seam running vertically at the upper left of the picture is the underarm seam of the sleeve.  The seam running horizontally is the armscye (armhole) seam.  You can see the interesting placement of the sleeve seam and side seam, especially when compared with where we would expect the underarm seams of the bodice and the sleeve to line up with one another today.

Lastly for today, here is a shot of the inside of the bodice flat on the table.  We are looking primarily at the inside of the back bodice and the side seam, shoulder seam, and armscye.  You can see that the side seam and the shoulder seam are finished with French seams.  The armscye has an interesting seam finish, similar in essence to a felled seam, however, the seam allowance is wrapped over itself and then turned under to encase the seam, then carefully hand picked to itself to finish it, so that the seam allowance lays free but is self finished.  This would have required additional seam allowances at the armscye.

A few more little detail shots coming up.  I hope you are enjoying this peek inside this vintage piece.  I love how intricate the details are, and yet how simple it is in essence!

4 Comments on Extant Garments: 1910s White Blouse Part III

  1. Gail Ann Thompson
    March 27, 2012 at 11:24 am (5 years ago)

    Siide seam further to the back is a visually slenderizing detail, used even today. I’m wondering if the forward seam of the sleave added to the mobility of the wearer??.

    • Lauren
      March 28, 2012 at 10:35 am (5 years ago)

      That’s an interesting idea, Gail! I think you may be right in that it would add to mobility. It seems like the side seams and underarm seams where they are today are for ease of fitting and alterations, and faster construction, but there’s something very lovely about the placement of the seams in this vintage piece.

  2. Casey
    March 28, 2012 at 6:05 am (5 years ago)

    Wow! These construction details are amazing–makes me want to go pull the few blouses I have out and take a closer look! :)

    • Lauren
      March 28, 2012 at 10:36 am (5 years ago)

      It’s so fun to look up close! I knew little about sewing or patterning when I started collecting these many years ago, so it’s fun to revisit them with a fresh set of eyes. I’d love to see more of the lovely things in your collection, too!

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