Hot! Spring Showers 1918 Shirtwaist

This week, the lace travels to Florida and to the very capable and talented hands of Casey from Elegant Musings. With her love (and eye) for thrifting and her picture-perfect sewing creations, Casey has been an enormous influence on me. Coincidentally, Casey’s creation coincides with me finally making the time to watch Downton Abbey — a must see for anyone who loves period pieces and pretty dresses. Thanks, Casey for being a part of this project and sharing your lovely blouse!


The Facts

Folkwear_210 Fabric: cotton “dotted Swiss” with a woven dot $15, Hancock Fabrics
Pattern: Folkwear #210 “The Armistice Blouse” – in my stash/gift
Year:  circa 1918
Notions: lace from Mena, antique lace from my stash, vintage shirt buttons from the stash
Time to Complete: Probably about 6-8 hours; about one evening and most of a weekend day!
Wear Again? Already planning on it!

Total Cost: $15

When Mena approached me about the Common Thread project and showed a picture of the lace, I immediately knew just what I wanted to make with it! I have been obsessed with revisiting one of my first loves in the fashion history world: the late Edwardian/early 1920s era. The lace seemed like a perfect excuse to dig up the Folkwear Armistice Blouse pattern (which I had made years ago once) and jazz it up with some lace and filmy fabric. 


The plan I hatched for the blouse included some dotted Swiss cotton I picked up at Hancocks (I love the post-wash texture of the woven dots!), and also adding in some additional antique lace from my lace box. The center panel on the blouse has a lot of design possibilities, so I spent a bit of time prior to cutting the fabric playing with several options in my sketchbook. I toyed with pintucks, drawn threadwork, lace applied vertically down the center, or what I finally chose: a simple row of lace at the top edge. I like how it is pretty but a bit restrained–an embellishment that suits a cotton shirtwaist blouse of this era well. 


To make the lace panel, used alternating rows of a wider insertion lace from my stash and the scalloped lace Mena sent me. Even though it was intended as an edge trim, I was able to overlap and manipulate it enough to stitch it evenly to the straight lace. I used a narrow zig-zag stitch with matching thread to attach each row, stabilizing the lace with lightweight paper as I went. After I created that, I just attached it to the top edge of the center panel. Super easy! The lace I added to the collar edges of the center front panel weren’t difficult to add either; the collar was hand whipstitched on and the front vertical lace was attached by machine.

I christened this blouse the “Spring Showers Shirtwaist” because after days and days of glorious sunshine and warm temperatures, the one day that I could get snapshots it was pouring rain! But in some ways, I liked that I was able to get a few photos peering out into the moody lake through the haze of rain: it reminds me a bit of those picturesque British period films set at the turn of the century.

Sew-weekly_05The only changes I made to the pattern were to lengthen the blouse a bit (I have a long torso, plus I remembered my first blouse–which I made just out of the package–was a bit tricky to keep tucked in!) and eliminate the turn back cuff. (Although you may note that the cuffs are turned back on this; but it’s just the under-cuff as I found it a bit too long post-sewing for my taste.) I remembered why I loved this pattern so much: the details are romantic and scream vintage, but the construction is a snap. Even with taking the time to execute construction details like French seams and hand stitching lace, it didn’t take that long to make. I spent the better part of a Sunday happily sewing, and at the end had a new blouse! Not to mention now I have a garment that satiates my desire for something from this era… Now what to sew next?


Thank you, Mena for asking me to participate in this project–it was a lot of fun being able to work with the lace and whip up a garment I’ve been dreaming about!




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  1. I love the use of the lace at the neckline and underneath the other part of the shirt – so pretty and feminine! Love your hair with the outfit too. And isn’t there something romantic about the rain, especially paired with the Edwardian era/British period films? I was just telling someone this the other day :)

  2. Oh, how lovely! I love swiss dot and the lace is so sweet – such a graceful blouse : ) The collar is so flattering and the little buttons match the slight cream of the lace perfectly!

  3. Absolutely lovely Casey! I adore this style on you!!

  4. So Beautiful, what lovely details! I LOVED Downton Abbey, and cannot wait for season 2!

  5. That blouse is absolutely gorgeous! I have the pattern in my stash and as soon as I saw your first photo, I knew I had to make one for myself! Casey, you are such an inspiration!

  6. This looks really lovely (and suits you vey well).
    I never thought 1910’s designs could look so timeless! The lingerie-like front panel is my favorite part, I didn’t know you could use two different laces like that.

  7. Thank you, Amanda! Oh yes–I definitely have to admit I love the occasional, rainy/overcast day. Perfect for curling up with a cup of tea and a good BBC drama!
    ♥ Casey

  8. Thank you so much! I think the collar is my favorite part of this blouse design; it’s such a different style from what one sees in modern shirts. (Which is why I love vintage!)
    ♥ Casey

  9. Aw, thank you Debi!
    ♥ Casey

  10. Thank you! :) I know… I’m dying for season 2 as well!!! It needs to hurry up! lol.
    ♥ Casey

  11. Thank you so much, Sarah! Do keep me posted on your version–I’d love to see it! :)
    ♥ Casey

  12. Thank you, Carlotta! This was my first time attaching two separate lace pieces like this, but it’s so easy I dare say it isn’t my last! ;)
    ♥ Casey

  13. Thank you, Erin! :)
    ♥ Casey

  14. Absolutely gorgeous, Casey!! I have been meaning to make up this for ages, and your blouse makes me really want to pull it out! I’ve been yearning for all things Edwardian lately!
    I just love your creative use of the lace. Beautiful!

  15. This turned out beautifully! The dotted swiss fabric is so nice, and I really like the touches down the front.

  16. So beautiful! I love your use of the dotted swiss fabric.

  17. Simply stunning. What an elegant blouse.

  18. The blouse is perfectly sweet in every way! The swiss dot fabric and lace went together so well and I love the collar!

  19. I love this! It makes me think of that new Downton Abbey show on Masterpiece Classics, which is in the same era. The lace looks fantastic.

  20. Thank you so much, Lauren! :)
    ♥ Casey

  21. Thanks again! ;)
    ♥ Casey

  22. Thank you! :) This was actually the first time I’ve really sewn something with dotted swiss–and it definitely won’t be the last!
    ♥ Casey

  23. Thank you! :)
    ♥ Casey

  24. Thank you ever so much, Adey! :)
    ♥ Casey

  25. Thank you, Annelise! I am utterly in love with Downton Abbey–I can’t wait until season 2!
    ♥ Casey

  26. I’m not a vintage fan, but I think 1918 may be my era. I love this blouse – the soft fall of the front, the lace trim. Perfect.

  27. margueritedesigns

    It’s gorgeous – I want one!

  28. I missed this last week (with all the new baby excitement our way) but wanted to say how utterly adorable this blouse turned out! The collar is particularly amazing.
    It’s so different seeing fashions of that era actually made up – I always think they look odd in the fashion illustrations of the time, but that’s because of the difference in the ‘ideal’ body shape, rather than the shape of the garment itself. Sometimes I find it hard to see past the stylised drawing to the actual garment. Anyway, you’re making me want to explore that era a little more!
    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha’penny Vintage

  29. Thank you so much, Gail! :)
    ♥ Casey

  30. Aw, thank you! ;)
    ♥ Casey

  31. Thank you so much, Charlotte! :) I agree: sometimes you almost have to try on (or make! ;) a garment to fully understand how it’ll act with a body underneath. Those fashion illustrations can be so misleading! lol.
    ♥ Casey

  32. So romantic, I love it. Especially love the lace across the chest. Beautiful work.

  33. This a very beautiful blouse and I love how you used the lace. It is very elegant. Good job.