Hot! The “Sisters of Edwardia” Blouse

The Facts
Fabric: Printed silk twill and washed silk-cotton satin
Pattern: Self-drafted
Year: Contemporary, based on a modern interpretation of an Edwardian blouse on Downton Abbey
Notions: Invisible zipper, lightweight fusible woven interfacing
Time to complete: 3-4 hours
First worn: April 2, 2012 for photos
Total price: $30- I wanted to make a blouse of this type from this twill for a while, but the VIP Fabric Challenge pushed me to action.


I really enjoy the “everyday clothes” costuming on Downton Abbey, especially for the Crowley sisters.  I know they’re fine ladies and all, but some of the cuts are rather practical and see continual wear.  This blouse crops up all over the show, in several colors and on Edith and Sybil.  I wanted to try my hand at it.

The sleeves are cut on to the blouse and hit around the elbow, with a relaxed fit.  They have a border band of fabric around the hem of the sleeve, the neckline, and the bottom of the blouse.  The blouse needs gussets to allow for free range of motion, and the CF features a minimalistic nod to the “pigeon front” blousing so popular at the time.  I was especially intrigued by the waistband piece, it seems a great way to flatter or create a waistline depending on the wearer.  I agonized over finding the perfect red or pink to use as a border fabric.   Then I found myself ready to cut up a lovely old worn blouse to make fabric flowers and I realized I should use it with this blouse.

1912 didn’t have invisible zippers.  Luckily, 2012 does and it worked beautifully in the waistband piece.  The pattern needs a smidgen of tweaking, but I like this blouse and plan to wear it.  I won’t be able to help myself, it’s a gorgeous piece of fabric and the cut is so comfortable I forget I’m wearing clothes.




Stephanie mothers, writes, and teaches sewing in Brisbane, Australia. She blogs about sewing, drafting, vintage style and sustainability at 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World.


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  1. Gooorgeous! I’ve also been fond of this DA blouse. I’ve been on the lookout for a fabric that matches the lavender/cream one. I love the boldness of yours.

    • Thanks. :) I want to make another one in colors/fabrics the Crowleys would never have touched… I don’t know that I can pull off the subtle grace of lavendar and cream like Sybil.

  2. What a wonderful print, and a very feminine blouse, lovely Steph.

  3. This blouse shines in it’s simplicty…and that fabric, it’s like some sort of artistic forest fire…I dig it much. Especially your gusset ingenuity.

  4. Will you be offering a pattern of this lovely blouse?? Hope so!!!!

  5. So pretty and you really do photograph well. I confess I do not know what a gusset is and am too lazy at the moment to figure it out. My husband suggested I watch Downtown Abbey-maybe I’ll start this week.

    • Thanks. I hate doing photos, so I’m trying to learn to take better ones and make the process less of a pain.

      DA is a great show to watch, even if they sometimes slip into using words that might not have been in circulation in 1912… ;)

      A gusset is a diamond shaped piece of fabric that helps the underarm area become more 3-dimensional so I can move my arms around.

  6. What a beautiful blouse and a great modern interpretation of Edwardian fashion. I am such a Downton nut and now my husband loves it too!

    • Thanks! I keep wishing I could wipe my memory of the show blank so I can start over and re-watch them… I’ve probably already watched them more than is sane or healthy, I like the show and the characters, but even more I’m in love with watching the clothes walking and moving and living…

  7. Just lovely! I like the the soft look of the pattern and your coordinating fabric for the bands looks like you must have bought it to match. Great discovery in reusing a previous blouse. Well done. I’m also waiting for you to share that pattern. ;)

  8. I love the simplicity of the blouse and ow it’ paired with an intricate fabric design. So beautiful to wear.

    • Thanks, Krista. I’m a pretty big fan of simple cuts, I think that’s why I liked the blouse on the show so much. :)

  9. That is the perfect fabric for this style blouse. It looks exactly right–pattern and drape and everything. Beautiful!

    • Thanks. It was pretty dreamy to work with, too. Very very drapey. I’m working on this blouse in a gingham, I wonder if it will work out…

  10. The color is great on you, and I love your modern interpretation of the Downton Abbey clothes! It’s a great piece!

  11. This blouse is amazing! What a gorgeous piece of fabric to use on such an special design. Who doesn’t love downton fashions?!! :)

  12. I LOVE THIS!!! This should totally be your next pattern! I would buy it in an instant!

  13. that’s is a great way to get the look you love without having a dated look. The richness of the colour is fab.

    • Thanks, Jen. :) I think the next one will be raspberry cotton gingham… Waaaaaay too tacky for the Crawley sisters, but I think it will be fun.

  14. Abolutely gorgeous!

  15. Just looking at the pic I thought ‘Downton’ your version is really perfect, I love the colours and that blouse really is wearable, so much so that both sisters had one heehee!

    • Yay! I like to hear that it made someone think “Downton” right off the bat. :) It’s funny, as much as Sybil and Edith wear this one, I haven’t seen Mary wearing one…

  16. Love this! I love the vintage feel, but it’s also very current. The colors are divine. :D

  17. I love this simple, chic shape and I would buy the pattern in an instant too. The color and print make it modern and suit you beautifully. I have to start watching the show.