the uncharted-territory blouse

I needed a blouse to accompany my chiffon skirt. Obviously. I decided on a simple design with a Peter Pan collar and settled on following Gertie’s Peter Pan variation in Gertie’s New Book for Better SewingI received this book for Christmas and really enjoyed reading through it, but had never tried any of the included patterns.


I found a swiss-dot cotton voile at Joann’s, and though it’s a tad sheer, it worked for this design. I discovered early on in the blouse construction that this pattern is not for the novice seamstress. Gertie assumes you have sufficient sewing knowledge and experience to put her designs and techniques to work.

For example, the blouse with the Peter Pan collar variation doesn’t come with a Peter Pan collar pattern piece. The instructions refer you to a section earlier in the book on how to draft your own collars. So with this blouse I had my first experience drafting my own pattern pieces. The process was outlined clearly in the book, though it did assume that you already know basic collar construction.


So the pattern instructions did not explicitly say to cut four of the collar piece, plus two in interfacing. I had enough intuition to take those steps on my own, but I mention it because these designs assume you already sew at a certain level and already have at least an intermediate understanding of clothing construction. One of the changes I made to the pattern was to lower the neckline by a few inches. The original neckline came right up to the base of your neck, and I was worried about looking like a school ma’rm.


This assumption in the pattern instructions did make for a less-than-perfect Peter Pan collar. I failed to take into account the back seam allowance with the facing and the overlap caused by the button closures. So my collar laps in the back, creating this petal-like effect. And I can’t say that I’m so dissatisfied with it that I plan to change it. I added a hook and loop to the overlapping collar sections to keep the overlap in place. The collar did end up being a bit wider than I’d imagined, but I kind of like the added drama to such a simple silhouette.

Because the instructions were more basic than what I usually have to work with–and because the Peter Pan collar was self-drafted–the facings both on the back and around the collar aren’t great. Next time I’ll make the bias strip facing on the collar wider and have a cleaner finish where the collar and back facings meet up.


I did like that the sleeves were one piece with the bodice sections. That made the fitting and construction processes easier, which was especially appreciated given my time crunch on this project.

I am eager to try more of Gertie’s patterns, and have already preordered her new book, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. Have you sewn any of Gertie’s patterns? How do you feel about self-drafting? Is my Peter Pan collar too wide?

***Specs: I made up Gertie’s Bow-Tie Blouse variation in Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. I used a swiss-dot cotton voile and drafted the Peter Pan collar myself. The blouse fit well as is, and instead of using five large buttons, I used eight smaller ones.

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One Comment

  1. Posted September 23, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

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