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Gibson Girl blouse by Folkwear.
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Folkwear Gibson Girl blouse

The ones that follow me on Instagram have already been teased with pretty photos of pintucks and delicate French lace. Now finally, my project is finished and I can present my new Edwardian shirtwaist that I made using the Gibson Girl Blouse pattern by Folkwear. Yes, I already made a shirtwaist once, but finally couldn’t wear it due to the itchiness of the modern nylon/polyester lace. This time I wanted to do it properly, with delicate cotton lace.

About the pattern

Folkwear Gibson Girl blouse has been inspired by the popular loose-fitting blouses worn by all the fashionable ladies at the turn of the 20th century. It has a full front that is gathered to a round yoke and 3/4 puffed sleeve. The pattern has instructions for adding pintucks and lace insertion but you can make the blouse without those embellishments if they feel too much for you. The waist has a tie at the back that I ended up leaving out.

Folkwear Gibson Girl Blouse and Truly Victorian 1898 walking skirt.

The pattern comes in sizes SM to 3XL that should fit the busts from 83 cm to 135 cm (32,5″ to 54″). As the waist is very loose, you will only need to consider the bust circumference. I made the size SM that fitted nicely with a few small modifications.

The pattern was very clear and the instructions good.

My modifications

The neckline came too high for me at the front so I lowered it about 1 cm before attaching the collar. Just in case, I made the lace collar slightly longer to fit the larger neck-opening.

The sleeves felt overwhelmingly wide. I narrowed them down taking about an inch at the cuff and then less and less upwards so that I kept the original sleeve cap. I also left out the slit at the sleeve cuff as it didn’t really have any function.

Originally, my blouse had the ties and the small gathers at the back waistline that came with the pattern. However, the tie position was showing about 2 inches over the back of my waistband and that looked odd. I considered lowering the gathers and the ties but finally left them out as I was mainly planning to wear this blouse tucked in.

Making the Gibson Girl blouse

My fabric was end-of-bolt white cotton voile that I picked up at the local Eurokangas. It cost less than 2 €!

For the delicate French lace, I placed an order at the Cotton Lace. It is a Dutch company selling all those lovely laces at very affordable prices and even better – with free shipping! I am not an affiliate of theirs, but I can warmly recommend them as I have ordered them twice and got good service.

Cutting out the front yoke.

For an experienced sewist, such as myself, this project was mainly about pintucks and lace insertion as the blouse otherwise was simple to construct. For the yoke, I first sewed all the pintucks on a large piece of fabric and then added the lace. I sewed the lace on close to the edges with a straight stitch. Then I cut open the fabric behind the lace, pressed the edges to the sides and then zigzagged along the lace edge. This keeps the fabric edges in their position and prevents them from unravelling. Only after doing this I cut the front yoke piece. I also trimmed away the extra fabric beyond the zigzag stitch a bit later.

keep the fabric edges in their position and to keep them from unravelling. Only after doing this I cut the front yoke piece. I also trimmed away the extra fabric beyond the zigzag stitch a bit later.

keep the fabric edges in their position and to keep them from unravelling. Only after doing this I cut the front yoke piece. I also trimmed away the extra fabric beyond the zigzag stitch a bit later.

A detail of the lace and the pintucks on the Gibson Girl blouse.

I joined the front, back and the side pieces together with French seams before adding more insertion lace. The centre front also got some pintucks.

I didn’t cut the collar out of the fabric but constructed the collar out of lace. The next bit wasn’t specified in the instructions. I shaped the lace strips using the little threads that are hidden at the straight edges of this kind of fine lace. By pulling from one of the threads, I could add just a little bit of gathering that made my lace curve to follow the pattern piece.

Collar detail.

I then used spray starch and iron to press the lace into the proper shape before attaching the strips together with a tiny zigzag stitch. The topmost strip was gathered properly to form a ruffle at the top of the collar. I sewed it on by hand before zigzagging. over the seam.

The Gibson Girl blouse collar detail.

The blouse neckline was first finished with a tiny rolled hem and then the collar was sewn on the edge by hand. Then I turned the back opening edges and added two little sew-on snaps to work as a closure.

The back closure detail.

The rest of the back-opening has tons of mother-of-pearl buttons. It was a bit tricky to get them all closed by myself but I managed without help!

The finished blouse

To honour my new blouse, I did my best to do an Edwardian hair but well… I have perhaps 1/10th of the hair needed for it! Even with the help of extensions, I was just able to do this little bun! I wonder what fine-haired girls did during that time? Despair? Even a hair-rat doesn’t help as I don’t have enough hair at the front to cover one.

Anyway, here I am with my new Gibson Girl blouse and my Truly Victorian walking skirt.

The Folkwear Gibson Girl blouse.

I love the insertion lace. The front is very puffy and makes a great pigeon-breasted look that was what all the Edwardian women were after. However, the next time I might reduce the number of gathers slightly at the sides. This would showcase the insertion lace pattern at the front of the blouse better.

The Gibson Girl blouse, side view.

One more pic, sitting at the piano. I really love my new Gibson Girl blouse and can warmly recommend this pattern!

Me at the piano with my Gibson Girl blouse.

Connecting to my family history

I gathered some photos of my relatives at the turn of the 20th century on the top of the piano.

My great-grandma Anna wears a loose shirtwaist with ruffles and a long, perhaps linen, skirt in this photo that might be my great-grandparent’s wedding photo. I love how awkward and young my great-grandfather Paavo looks. My great-grandma looks contend – she is obviously holding back a wide smile!

My great-grandparents Anna and Paavo.

In another picture from the other side of my family three, my great-aunt Aino, at the top of the picture, sports a shirtwaist pretty similar to this one! Too bad that the photo is too blurry to see any details of the blouse. However, my great-grandpa Pekka had a fabulous moustache! At that time my grandpa wasn’t born yet so he’s missing along with some other small siblings. As my great-aunt Lydia (or Lyyli, as she was called) is a cute 1-year-old toddler, it seems that the photo has been taken in 1911.

My great-grandparents Pekka and Anna with their children.

Most of the women’s clothes were sewn at home, so when I make historical garments I feel connected to my ancestors that have clothed themselves and their children.

Thank you for reading and do subscribe so that you don’t miss any future posts! Happy sewing!

Katja

I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.

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