Consider the Armistice Blouse

Folkwear was having a sale and took the opportunity to stock up on some patterns for my growing Edwardian-inspired wardrobe. I couldn’t resist getting a copy of their Armistice Blouse pattern. I’ve seen a few floating around the sewing community and thought it would make for a perfect spring/summer top. (Search #ArmisticeBlouse on Instagram)

To be honest, I didn’t think much other than it being an Edwardian-style shirtwaist, but after doing a bit of research, there’s so much more to it! Oh the young, ignorant, naive amateur fashion historian I am.

To give a brief history – It’s a shirtwaist style that was popular around the time of World War I (not exclusive to the Edwardian era, like I assumed). While men were off fighting, women went to work and, as a result, began parring down their elaborate fashions . Instead, they started opting for more practical attire to allow for more mobility. While the Armistice blouse was indeed more practical, making these garments also afforded women to take their mind off the war through needlework.

Note: Uneven hemline. I needed to raise the vestee because the neckline fell too low.
Back is slightly gathered where ties are attached.

While this style was very popular and practically a dime a dozen (for lack of a better phrase) what really fascinates me, is how unique they all are! Despite having the same basic shape, they’re like blank canvases allowing their makers to play and experiment with needlework, lace, fabric scraps, or any other trimmings they could get their hands on. Brilliant!

While I have grand plans to build an Edwardian-inspired wardrobe, and the Armistice blouse doesn’t fit into that box 100%, I’ve come to really appreciate them and want to incorporate more of them into my style, regardless!

OK, history lesson over. Let’s get onto how I made my Armistice Blouse.

Fabric

These blouses were traditionally white, made out of semi-transparent cottons, linens, or gauze. Of course, I couldn’t resist putting my own spin on things and made mine black. (Hey, once you know the rules, you’re allowed to break them, am I right?) The fabric I used is cotton with an interesting swiss dot / eyelet texture. A basic black cotton solid was used for the collar, neck, and cuff facings.

The lace trim is a 1.5″ crochet polyester trim from stash. It felt a bit stiff, so I pre-washed it and felt much softer!

I attached it using a straight stitch, then securing it with a narrow zigzag stitch on the wrong side.

Construction

Inside. Vestee raw edges are finished with whip stitches, then attached to the collar facing with more whip-stitches. Facings and longer seams were machine-sewed (because I’m not a total masochist). Lace is sewn onto vestee with a straight stitch and secured with a narrow zigzag stitch.

Construction was pretty straight-forward. It all came together very easily! Although, while the instructions/illustrations are very clear, it does assume the maker has some prior sewing skills under their belt.

For example, they don’t always tell you how to finish a seam or advise trimming-down certain seam allowances to 1/8 of an inch to prevent bulk.

Also, after attaching the neck/collar facings, I did go ahead and apply under-stitching so it would lie flat.

Size & Fitting

This blouse is, well … blousey! Fit wasn’t much of an issue, so I made the small.

The only adjustment made was to the height of the center-front panel, or the “vestee”. It was much too low, so I unpicked all that hand-stitching and raised it about an 1.5″. Needless to say, I got quite a bit of whip-stitch practice in!

While doing this caused the hem of the vestee not to lie flush with the rest of the shirt’s hem, I was OK with it. I’ll be tucking it into my skirt anyway, and I kinda like the look, to be honest.

Modifications

Since the blouse’s neckline is wide enough to fit over my head … and because I really couldn’t be bothered with buttonholes this week // #NotTodaySatan! // I omitted the button detail on the veste and just sewed it to the neckline on either side.

I also shortened the sleeves and omitted the buttons from the cuffs, too. To do this, I shortened the sleeve pattern piece to be about 11″ from the shoulder point, and then re-drafted the cuff pattern piece to a 12″ x 4.5″ rectangle (1/2″ seam allowance included). After assembling the cuffs, I attached them to the sleeves by easing and creating gentle gathers. I wasn’t sure I’d like the puffed 3/4″ sleeve look, but the end puff situation is pretty subtle. I’m quite pleased! 🙂

Conclusion

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d love the finish garment. I’m not sure why … Maybe I feared it would be too “blousey” or it would look frumpy, or something wouldn’t be right … but when all was said and done, I’m completely in love!! Especially paired with my Edwardian Modern Fantail Walking Skirt by Scroop Patterns.

Needless to say, I am going to be making more Armistice Blouses! … Perhaps in the more traditional white/cream, next time.

Random thought: Armistice blouses are kind of like the precursor to the Hawaiian shirt. Weird analogy, I know. But to that I say, can we please make Armistice Shirt Fridays a thing? Who’s with me!?

2 Comments

  1. Mackenzie Stanford

    This looks awesome, Kristin! I was a little hesitant when you said you were trying to add more Edwardian/Victorian pieces to your wardrobe, but everything you’ve made so far so easily fits into your wardrobe!

    Like

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