Hot! The “Lady of the Summer” Ensemble

The Facts
Fabric: 2 1/2 yards yellow and white seersucker from, $10, for pants; 1 yard floral cotton voile from Gorgeous Fabrics, $16, and shot cotton scraps from the living room curtains
Pattern: Simplicity 3688 (1940s Retro) and Consulting Dressmaker Sisters of Edwardia Blouse
Year: 2007/40s and 2012 inspired by 1910
Notions: interfacing and invisible zippers
Time to complete: a week
First worn: 6/10
Wear again: yes
Total cost: about $12 for the pants and $18 for the blouse

I was excited for the chance to make StephC’s Sisters of Edwardia Blouse, inspired by Lady Edith and Lady Sybil of Downton Abbey.  I have to admit, I haven’t seen the show yet!  I’ve been wanting to watch it for a while, but I’m both monogamous and minimal with my TV viewing.  Right now I’m deep into Friday Night Lights on Netflix and trying to keep up with Mad Men.  That’s more than enough.

Steph’s pattern is beautiful and precise but for some reason I was cursed in its making.  I swear I had to redo almost every step.  When I recover from my trial and make another, I’ll do a couple things differently.  Like go up a size in the waistband and make sure to adjust the gathers more to the sides than I managed here.  I hope those changes will make the blouse a bit easier to get on and off.  I’ll also add seam allowance to the bottom of the blouse and the top of the waistband, so that I can do three lines of basting to make prettier gathers and not have to worry about the edge of my fabric unraveling as I work.  At least I could cruise on the pants, since I just made this pattern.  Love them.

I’m happy with my vintage-inspired ensemble, even if I’m not sure what vintage it is.  I think 1910 works with the 1940s in this case, don’t you?  I feel all ladylike and proper without any sacrifice in comfort.  (Excepting the shoes.  I always twist an ankle when I wear these extremely modest wedges.  Don’t know how you girls do it.)  The fabrics are perfect for hot weather, and so is the blouse design– lots of air circulation in the underarm area.  I’m glad those blasted gussets are good for something.  Seriously, they’re a smart design feature, and I’m sure with a little practice they’ll be less frustrating to sew now that I’m not a gusset virgin anymore.



Lee is a highly educated stay at home mom with a lot of projects. She lives in New York City.


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  1. I haven’t seen the show but your blouse is lovely.

  2. Hi Lee, what beautiful fabric, the top is beautiful on you and it very modern looking. I always enjoy Steph’s pattern, theirs always an extra detail that set it apart from typical garment design.

  3. You look gorgeous! I have the same issue with heels as you. I think 1″ would be the maximum for me, though I like the idea of heels.

  4. Oh my gosh! Mikhaela told me she saw this at sewing club, I was hoping you’d blog it soon! It looks great. :) Well done, especially conquering the gussets.

    AND you made the pants this week? Very nice. I like this top with pants cut that way, it’s a really cool look. :)

  5. Very pretty!! Sybil and Edith would probably fight over your blouse. :)

  6. That’s a beautiful outfit and so flattering to your form. Nice job!

  7. I love, love, love the blouse! I don’t think it would look nice on my figure, but for you it is stunning.

  8. This is such a lovely outfit! I absolutely love the blouse fabric and the two pieces go so well together.

  9. Really, really pretty summery outfit. I love the fabrics you’ve chosen and colour contrasting. I know the trousers are more 40s but I’m sure Lady Sybil will be wearing them by Season 4 (as we’re now up to 1920 at the end of Season 2)….we’ve already seen her in pantaloons much to her father’s annoyance.

  10. The whole outfit looks beautiful and timeless. You could be anywhere in time between 1930s-2012! And the fit is fantastic on the trousers, if you won’t mind me oggling your behind.

  11. Your blouse is divine. I would love some of that fabric but couldn’t see it on the Gorgeous Fabrics website – has anyone else seen it anywhere?

  12. I love the colours in your blouse – I wish I could wear them like you can.

  13. I;ll have to try this pattern. I haven’t really ventured outside of the usual stuff or trying to draft my own. I also love the blouse fabric and I think your whole outfit looks great.

  14. Did you mention where to get this pattern? It’s so pretty! I love the colors in the floral and the matching contrast pieces. You look so stylish in this blouse and the pants fit perfectly. Great job!

  15. Love the whole thing. That blouse is a beauty~