Photo of Molly in Everyday 210 Armistice Blouse

In this blog post the 210 Armistice Blouse will undergo a few simple modifications to turn it into an everyday summer wardrobe staple. Make as simple or embellished as you like, the Edwardian Charm is not going anywhere. Just shortening the sleeves and turning it into a pull-on version does the trick for making the 210 Armistice Blouse into a refreshing top to beat the heat!

Check out the post, 210 Armistice Blouse... a Symbol For Change, for a bit of inspiring history to help get you started in what will become a new favorite summer top.

I am making this version of the Armistice blouse, with a nod to it’s history by using white handkerchief linen and adding a few small tucks to embellish the Vestee. I am also using French Seams as Edwardian women would have. Since I am demonstrating how to make a pull-on-over-the-head design, the Vestee is sewn to the front of the blouse on both sides, eliminating the need for buttonholes and buttons. However, you could add buttons for decorative touch? To keep the top loose and comfy I have decided to leave off the back shaping tie. However, there is no reason not to include the tie on the next version. The sleeves will be shortened. And I need to add a bit of length too.

Photo of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse Pattern and sewing supplies

The Armistice Blouse was traditionally made of light-weight gauzy linen and cotton fabrics. Keep in mind that these early Edwardian blouses were worn with sometimes two or three layers underneath, which helped to prevent see through. Just keep the fabric opacity of the fabric you chose in mind. Though sheer fabrics are a lovely excuse to add a dainty camisole underneath.

White was the color de jour for fabrics and synonymous with the Edwardian period (See 210 Armistice History blog to learn more), that is not to say that colored fabrics, as well as prints and stripes were were not popular too. Take a good look at the lovely use of white stripes used in the version below.

Photo showing interesting strip use of fabric on Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Just about any woven fabric is an excellent choice for making this blouse for modern wearing. Since we are focusing on a summer version, light weight to mid-weight fabrics are ideal. To achieve the crisp-airiness of the original designs look for light-weight cottons, like cotton batiste, voile, lawn, broadcloth, shirting, seersucker, and eyelet.

Up close Photo of interesting stripe use on Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse


Of course, you can not go wrong with handkerchief linen. Consider light-weight silk like haboti or cotton and silk blends as well. For a truly comfortable fabric and in keeping with the soft Edwardian-look, pick a fabric with a nice soft drape. If you like the idea of naturally dyed colored cotton and linen fabrics with eyelet laces and ribbons to match check out www.botanicatinctoria.com.


Making Pattern Adjustments


To get started I need to make a few pattern adjustments first. I am adding 1/2-inch (13mm) to the length of the size medium. That means I need to add a 1/2-inch (13mm) to The Front A, Back B, Front Facing F, and Vestee C pattern pieces. The sleeve is simply cut to the length I have decided on, including the hem.

Photo of front, back, and facing pattern lengthened for for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse
Photo of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse shortened sleeve pattern



Adjust Vestee to Accomodate Hoizontal Tucks

Even though the pattern comes with a vestee pattern piece with vertical tucks, I want to add horizontal tucks to my vestee. Folding up the fabric to make tucks takes up the length, so I need to accommodate for this by adding more length. But how much? Well that depends on the width of the tuck. I am using five 1/4-inch (3mm) tucks. When folded each tuck takes up 1/2-inch (13mm) of fabric "real estate", so to speak. This results in 2 1/2-inches (6cm) being used up to create the five tucks.

That means I need to add back the 2 1/2-inches (6cm) to the orignial length of the size medium. Plus, the 1/2-inch (13mm) I decided to add to the blouse length.

Photo of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse Vestee pattern with tucks

To keep the vestee approximately the width the pattern intended, use the extra width at the foldline as the seam allowance. The idea is to have 1/2-inch (6mm) seam allowance on each vetical edge of the vestee. (See the photo above).


Cutting Out the Pattern

To keep this version of the Armistice blouse simple, I am eliminating the need for pattern pieces; Tie D, Turn Back Cuff J, Cuff K, and Placket I. And I am not using the wider vertical tucked version of pattern piece C.


Decide on Seam Finish Before Starting Construction

Once all the pattern pieces are adjusted and cut out, decide how you want to finish the seams? The Armistce Blouse is a perfect project for using French Seams. The use of French Seaming was popular in Edwardian garment making. Before sewing machines were available, fine French Seams were sewn by hand. Luckily, French Seams can easily be made using a sewing machine. This technique is not hard, creating a strong encased seam, with a lovely finish. Using French Seams is a way to celebrate a historical technique that is still considered fine craftswoman-ship today. French Seams are ideal for fine fabric seamwork. So consider giving French Seams a try using Folkwear's 210 Armistce Blouse Pattern!

Use the usual 1/2-inch (13mm) seam allowance and finish the seams as you like... if not using French Seams.

Note: French seams are not used for all sewing construction needs. Typically, only the shoulder seams, side seams, and the sleeves seams are made with French Seams. Sleeves that have a tight curve at the shoulder can be tricky, resulting in a finished seam that will not lay nicely and may pucker-up. It is perfectly ok to pick and choose where French Seams work best.


French Seam Shoulder and Side Seam Construction Using 1/2-Inch (13mm) Seam Allowance

French Seams are made by starting with the WRONG sides of the fabric together... NOT right sides together, as you normally would. On the raw edge of your work, align and match any notches, stitch a scant 3/16-inch (4mm) seam. Press the seam to one side (either will do). Turn right sides together, encasing the tiny seam, and press the edge neatly or pinch the fabric with your fingers to create a clean edge. The tiny seam should be sandwiched between the two layers of fabric. Then stitch a 5/16-inch (8mm) seamline, taking care to avoid catching the tiny raw edge encased in the fold.

The idea is to only use up the amount allotted for the seam allowance. In this case the seam allowance is 1/2-inch (13mm). You will need to adjust your French Seam calculations depending on the width of your seam allowance and how small you want the finished French Seam to be. Experiment with different weight fabrics and varying seam allowances widths to see what the limitations are. Extremely small French Seams were a badge of pride and craftswoman-ship for Edwardian sewists.

Before the shoulder seams are made, the gathers at the shoulders need to made first. Make two rows of gathering stitches outside the 1/2-inch (13mm) seam allowance as indicated on the Front A pattern piece. Pull the gathers up so that the Front fits the Back at the shoulder, pin to hold in place then stitch the seam allowance. Remember... wrong sides together and a scant 3/16-inch (4mm) seam if making French Seams.

Photo of Front and Back of Folkwear Armitice Blouse pined and gathered at shoulder for first French Seams

Below is a view with wrong sides together and the scant 3/16-inch (4mm) seam. The gathering is made below the 1/2-nch (13mm) seam allowance.

Up close Photo of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse with first seam for French Seams
For the French Seam just press to either side to prepare to stitch the next step.

Photo pressing scant seam of French Seam at shoulder of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

The right sides turned together with the scant seam sandwiched in between the two layers of fabric. This is where the right and wrong sides can get confusing, but follow along.

Photo of scant seam encased in French Seam for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse
The Scant seam allowance should be neatly encased in the final seam.
Photo of French Seam held to light to see encased scant encased seam

Sew the next stitch line at 5/16-Inch (8mm). Besure to back stitch at hte beginning and ends of the stitchline.

Photo of second French Seam at shoulder for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Repeat for the opposite shoulder seam.

Sew the side seams now as you prefer. Side seams are perfect for French Seams, so use the same technique as above.

Notice below, the side seams are pinned with wrong sides together. The gathered seam at the shoulder is rightside facing up.

Photo of side French Seam of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Stitch a scant 3/16-inch (4mm) seam.

Photo sewing scant side seam of French seam on sewing machine for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Turn the right sides together sandwiching the scant seam allowance inside.

Photo of scant French Seam sandwiched with right sides of fabric together on Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Stitch the next seam allowance at 5/16-inch (8mm ) on the wrong side.

Photo of French Seam pined and sewn

Press the side seams towards the back.

Photo of pressing French Seam to back of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Notice that the shoulder is pressed up towards the back of the blouse and the side seams are pressed towards the back of the blouse.

Photo of Shoulder and Sides seam pressed towards the back on the Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse



Neck and Front Facing

Next, construct the Front facing. With right sides together, stitch the Neck Facing to the Front Facings F matching the notch. Press the seams open. Press under on the 1/2-inch (13mm) Fold Line on the Facings.

Note: It is not recommented to use French Seams in this sort of situation, because the seams are too bulky. In this case the seams should lay as flat as possible.

It is always a good idea to make a stabilizing stay-stitch along any curves, as seen on the Neck Facing.

Photo of Neck Facing and Front Facing pined on Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse
Up close photo of Neck and Front Facing construction of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

To make pressing a turned under edge easier and quicker, make a long basting stitch to use as a guide (see below). The basting stitch can easily be removed later.

Photo using stitch and guide for turning under edge on the facing of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

 

Photo of turned under edge of Facing for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

 

The Collar

 With right sides together pin and stitch Collar Piece(s) C, using 1/2-inch (13mm) seam allowance, stitching on all un-notched sides. Trim the seam allowances and corners. Turn the collar rightside out and press, being sure to slightly roll the edges under to create a clean finish.

Note: If you are embellishing your collar with lace, be sure to see the pattern instructions for more helpful details.

Photo of right sides of collar pinned for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse
Up close photo of collar pinned and stitched for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse
Photo of Seam Allowances, sides, and corners trimmed on Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse
Photo of collar sewn and turned right side out for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse



Attach the Collar and Facing to the Front

With the right side of the blouse facing up, pin the Collar to the edge of the blouse neckline, matching the Center Backs and notches. Be sure to treat both layers of the collar as one layer. Baste to secure the collar is in place.

Photo of collar pinned to neckline of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

With right sides together, pin and stitch the front and Neck Facings to the blouse at th Neck and Front Opening, sandwiching the Collar in between. Match the shoulder seams, Center Backs, and the notches. Trim the seam allowances to cut down on the bulk fabric at the neck and collar. Trim the seam allowance down the front facings as well.

Photo of Front Facing pinned on front of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse with collar sandwiched between.
Photo sewing Front Facing and collar to front of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse
Photo trimming seam allowance of neck line of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Turn the facing to the inside of the blouse, press creating a clean edge, and hand whip-stitch the pressed-under edges to the inside of the blouse. Please do not let hand work disuade you. Sometimes the only way to achieve a nice finish is to to use a needle and thread. Handstitching forces you to slow down, it is relaxing (if you give it a chance), and sometimes allows for more control than machine sewing.

Photo of hand whip stitching Front Facing to Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse



The Vestee Tucks

I am using the narrow Vestee C pattern piece. The top edge is finished with two 1/4-inch (6mm) turned under edges according to the pattern instructions, four evenly spaced 1/4-inch (6mm) tucks are added (I change my mind from my original tuck making plan). Then the bottom edge is hemmed and the vertical side edges are finished with two 1/4-inch (6mm) turned under edges.

Below shows the pinned fold where a 1/4-inch (6mm) tuck will be sewn.

Photo of making Vestee tuck fold using pins for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Sewing the tuck using the edge of the presser foot as a guide.

Photo sewing Vestee tuck on sewing machine for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Below the wrong side of the Vestee Facing is facing up and the tucks are pressed downward. FYI: Tucks generally fold downwards and outwards.

Photo pressing Vestee tucks downward for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

 See "Adjust Vestee to Accomodate Hoizontal Tucks", earlier in the blog to see how to calculated and add the tucks.


Sewing Vestee to Blouse Front

Next the Vestee is added to the blouse front. By sewing the vestee to the blouse on both long sides, the blouse becomes a pull-on-over-the-head version. So easy!

Stitch the right side of the Vestee to the right side of the Blouse. Attach the Vestee underneath the Front Facing, liniing up the pressed edge of the Vestee and whip-stitch or machine stitch, matching the large O's at the top as marked on the pattern. It is helpful to turn the blouse the blouse and Vestee with wrong side facing up. Before you completely stitch the Vestee to the blouse, double check the placement of the Vestee to be sure there is enough room to comfortably pull-on-over-your head. You don't want the Vestee to be too low either. Keep reading and learn what not to do.

Photo attaching Vestee to front of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse
Up close photo of aligning Vestee to front of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Repeat for the left side. To make aligning and pining the left side easier, place a thin book or pad of paper sandwiched inside the blouse. An ironing board works too.

Photo showing pinning of Vestee to Folkwear 210 Blouse front using a book to help with pinning.

The instructions recommend hand whip-stitching the Vestee to the front sides, which I did the first time. ALERT. Notice, I said the "first time?" I hand whip-stitched the vestee into place... then after trying it on... discovered it was too low. The second time I machine stitched it. The look is different but it works.

Photo of Vestee of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse sewn to front of blouse wrong side facing up
Up close photo of bottom edge of Vestee sewn to bottom of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse edge

Below shows the stitching hidden under the collar and ending at the top of the Vestee.

Photo showing the stitching hidden under the collar and ending at the top of the Vestee for the Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse.

The front is all complete, even if I did not end up with the hand sewn finish as I had planned.

Photo of Vestee sewn on both side to front of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse



Sleeves Side Seam

Stitch the side seams of the sleeves right sides together as normal if you are not using French Seams. Because this pattern is ideal for French Seams the sleeves are finished neatly and cleanly. Refer to French Seam Shoulder and Side Seam Construction if you need a reminder follow the visual aid below.

Photo of sewing scant French Seam for sleeve of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse
Photo of scant French Seam of Folkwear Armistice Blouse sleeve encased in folded seam
Photo of French Seam sewn on side seam of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse sleeve



Sleeve Hem

Once again I am using a basting stitch as a guide for turning under edges of the sleeve hem. Once the sleeve edge is turned, give it a clean press and stitch close to the fold edge. It is fine to hem sleeves before attaching to the armhole if you are confident about the sleeve length.

Photo showing turned under sleeve hem for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

 

Photo of sleeve hem turned twice for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Whether using French Seams of not, to finish the sides seams of the sleeves be sure to press the seam towards the back.

Photo showing French side Seam and hemmed edge of sleeve for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse



Adding the Sleeves to the Armhole Using a French Seam

While French Seams for armhole construction is not for every project, it would be a shame not to take advantage of the benefits for the right project. As mentioned previously, French Seams and armholes work well together when a fine light-weight fabric is used and the curve of the armhole is not too tight or severe. Edwardian sewists would have never shyed away from a properly considered French Seamed sleeve.

Below is the armhole ready to receive the sleeve if using the normal method for setting a sleeve. Notice the shoulder seam and side seam are wrong side facing up, the black thread marks the cap of the shoulder, and the pin is pointing to the double back notch. Add a stay-stitch to the armhole, inside the seam allowance, if you have not already done so.

Photo of armohole raw edge of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

If adding the sleeve to the armhole using French Seams be sure to work with wrong sides together. To set the sleeve, ease the sleeve into the armhole, matching the underarm seams, shoulder cap, and notches as in the photo above. Note: The seam with the gathers that we first sewed fall forward on the front of the blouse and are not the actual shoulder seam. The shoulder seam is marked by a notch on the pattern.

For French Seaming following the same technique demonstrated previously. Follow the photos below for a visual aid.

 Below the first scant seam for the French Seam is sewn.

Photo showing first scant French Seam sewn on sleeve of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse


Whether making French Seams or not, lots of pins will help ensure your sleeve will lay as flat as possible to the armhole. Setting sleeves can be tricky, so take your time to avoid doing over.

Photo of sleeve pinned and stitched for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Notice the tiny puckers inthe photo below. Despite all the pins, sometimes you stil get some puckers. Luckily they will press out.

Photo showing the tiny puckers of the French Seam on the sleeve of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

The rights sides are turned togther and the edges aligned to create a clean edge. The pin to secure and sew the last 5/16-inch (8mm) seam line.

Photo showing pinning to sew second stitch line of French Seam on sleeve of Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse
Photo of stitching the second stitch line for the sleeve French Seam on Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

Press the seam towards the sleeve.

 

Hem the Bottom Edge

To hem the bottom of the blouse edge turn the raw edge under 1/4-inch (6mm) and press. Turn under again 1/4-inch (6mm) for a total of 1/2-inch (13mm) and press. Hand whip-stitch the hem or machine sew, stitching close to the folded edge.

Be sure both edges of the blouse front are even.

Photo of bottom turned under hem pinned and ready to be machine stitched for Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse



A Final Touch

To better secure the Vestee and preventing it from gaping, simply hand whip-stitch to the facing edge.

Photo of hand stitching Vestee to top of blouse edge on Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse

 

I hope you found this blog helpful, in not only how to make an everyday pull-on version of Folkwear's 210 Arnmistice Blouse...  but in the extra tips as well. Tag this blog as a reference on how to make French Seams and for the technique behind making tucks. Learning new tip and techniques makes sewing such a pleasure.

The 210 Armistice Blouse Pattern and the PDF version are on sale through the month. Don't delay, get your copy and discover why the 210 Armistice Blouse is a Folkwear Favorite!

 

Photo of Molly in Everyday Version of the Folkwear 210 Armistice Blouse