Pattern #AC131- Circa 1920 Side-Tied Blouse.
This pattern is from a really rare period original. The original period pattern was McCall 9381 from 1920. This pattern can specifically be dated to the Spring of 1920, since it appeared in both March and April issues of McCall’s magazine, featuring their newest patterns for that year.
Unfortunately, I do not own originals of these magazines so could not include them in the instruction packet, but I can post them here for research purposes. These images are from Internet Archive.
This image is from McCall’s Magazine, March 1920.
I love the idea of using a plaid silk for the blouse! It’s also worth noting here that I believe these ties were sewn on the long end and then turned, wheras for my pattern edition I did a narrow hem around the outside edges.
The reason why I indicated to do that on the pattern was because the long edge of the ties were un-notched. *Usually* patterns will have notches for edges that would be connected, meaning both long ends of the tie piece would have notches that matched together. I used that reasoning when making the Wearing History version of the pattern. And, like all quirky old patterns, the instructions did not tell you how to finish that piece.
So, now on further reflection, it looks as though you can use your own ingenuity to turn those ties and then add the tassels (and disregard my advice in the pattern packet if you like that method). OR hem the long ties for the un-tasseled version, like I did in my own “make”. Or hem the outside edges, then gather the lower edge and add the tassel. Really, it looks like any method is perfectly acceptable.
April, 1920 issue of McCall’s magazine also features this pattern. Plus we get the added bonus, from a research standpoint, of seeing what skirts would have been suggested!
As you can see, many still retain the late 1910s styling, so these patterns can bridge between the late 1910s and early 1920s looks easily. I would say they could work from 1918-1922 and look perfectly at home in that range, if you’re looking at these from a reenacting standpoint. Or just wear the blouse with modern clothing, since it is quite timeless!
Whereas the previous illustration seemed to have a bit of a sheen (like silk), this version of the blouse seems to be made of a fabric that seems to behave similarly to a lightweight cotton, in my opinion. You’ll also notice the wider side ties here, just like I did with my version of the blouse. And so, it seems, like many old patterns, there’s no “right or wrong” way to do it. You can feel free to adapt to your own needs, which is what they would have done in that period.
Although the original period pattern contained patent date on the back of 1908, it’s important to note that is the date of the *patented pattern technology*, not the pattern itself. In 1908, McCall patented their special pattern layout, and this is a layover from that original 1908 patent. Soon McCall would be entering another patent for the very first printed pattern. The first printed patterns had BLUE printing all over the pieces, but were still cut from tissue paper, and still were one size per envelope.
This pattern pre-dates those printed patterns, and, since Butterick held the patent for the separate step-by-step instruction sheet, it had very brief pattern construction notes on the back cover, with a very basic illustration of the garment put together.
I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of how this pattern appeared historically in period sources, plus a few notes on the background of the pattern technology itself. If you do make it, please do send me photos or tag me on social media so I can see!
You can find this pattern both on Etsy and in my pattern website.
On my Website:
Printed Pattern: https://wearinghistorypatterns.com/products/printed-pattern-circa-1920-side-tied-blouse-34-44-bust