The Aeroplane Blouse

After I purchased some fun Michael Miller quilting cotton for the picnic dress, I quickly realized what fun garments they can become.  More on this in a sec as I explain from the beginning.

I am always lusting over new-vintage clothing and one of my favorite vintage repro companies is Jitterbuggin.  They have THE cutest air plane printed blouse:

I’ve been in love with this blouse for over a year now, but the $99 price tag always made me pause.  And no, I’ve never actually bought something from Jitterbuggin, but I would love to.

I sew my own new-vintage garments so I don’t have to pay the high prices of vintage originals or the repro prices.  (Although sometimes it is just easier to buy and I wish I had excess cash to do so…)

I don’t know what compelled me or where the thought first occurred, but I somehow got it in my head that I was going to search for some airplane fabric.  I got on google images and soon after, found the exact same airplane fabric!  I didn’t even know it was ‘purchase-able’ since I had always presumed that it was a custom print.

This airplane print is from Michael Miller called Wild Blue Yonder.

Of course it’s been out of print for some time, but I managed to find some still on etsy from Cotton Studio at $9.50 a yard.

I know $9.50 is a bit on the pricey side for a simple cotton, but with no more to be had & a mission to make  my own 40’s styled blouse, how could I resist?!

Seeing as how I had already stitched together a perfect 40’s style blouse with McCalls 7838 I figured why not refit this pattern to make it a a more fitted silhouette for the aeroplane pint?!

Version C is the one I’m using and you can see, the pattern is for a blousey-blouse with drapey fabric.  Seeing as how I’m using a quilting weight cotton the blouse needed to be more fitted in order to NOT look like a sack.

I ended up moving the armscye in about 3/4″ on the front of the blouse as well as taking the rest of the side seams in by 1/2″ at the hip to 1″ at the waist and 1″ at the armscye.

I have to tell you guys a quick secret of mine which I may be shamed on:  I never grade my patterns!

Before you start hunting me down with torches and pitchforks….

I should state that I’m not going up or down drastic amounts.  I only purchase patterns for 32″ to 36″ bust when my true full bust is 33.5″.  But vintage patterns have terribly small waists and I’m always adding fabric there no matter what.  And yes… I only add where I need at the side seams.

Full Disclosure: I’ve added up to 1.5″ at each side-seam with no issues.

I know the proper thing to do is add throughout the pattern.  But really I’ve never EVER had a problem just adding at the sides where I need it.  (Armholes and necklines is where you will get into trouble is you do this though.)

You can all shun me now if you need to.  But my finished garments fit me just fine and I would have not told you this if it were otherwise.

Since I copy all of my patterns after doing a muslin, this means I now have two handy patterns of my own for McCalls 7838; I have a blouse version and now I have a fitted version at my disposal (for version C).

I paired my aeroplane blouse with my red patent wedges and my Dubarry 5836 cream-colored linen skirt.  I did a victory roll in the front and simply bobby-pinned back the remaining front sections of my hair.

Hate to say it… but looking at this blouse image right after my white swiss dot blouse, it doesn’t look very fitted once it’s all tucked in.  But you’re going to have to take me at my word on it; I removed upwards of 3 inches of ease at the waist.

This blouse is quickly becoming a lovely staple pattern of mine and I intend to make the other two versions in the fall/winter, as time allows of course.  :)

I first tried this blouse on during an 83+ degree day and it seems a bit too hot for the high temps due to the tight weaved nature of the quilting cotton.  It’s going to be perfect for milder days and will be wonderful for pairing with cardigans in the winter.

Front bodice detail:

I didn’t bother attempting to match the pattern;  it’s far too busy a print to deal with matching.

I found & used some shiny blue buttons from my stash.  I was debating using some white ones, but when I saw that the hue of blue in these buttons matched the planes perfectly, they had to be used.

Back bodice detail:

You can see it’s not quite as billowy, but more snug (yet still has some room to breathe).

Land girl Liz:

Felix and I started to have some fun taking pictures.  I saw this compost bin close by and seeing as how I’m all decked out in my 40’s best (minus the shoes)… “land girl” imagery just popped into my head.  :)

But my favorite picture of the day is this:

Felix shot this as I was heading down the alley to the community garden where he was waiting with the camera.

Hope you like my re-mix version of the Aeroplane blouse & happy sewing, peeps!

In: Sewing

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

Comments (25)

  1. Ginger September 9, 2013 — 9:28 AM

    This is PERFECT! I’m so glad you splurged on the fabric– what a great little top you’ve made!

  2. Super cute! I’ve never bought from Jitterbuggin either because of the price plus I know it won’t fit right since I need an FBA.

    Psst! I don’t grade my patterns very often either! Since I have very narrow shoulders, I can get away with a 32″ or 34″ bust with an FBA and then just add width at the waist/hip where necessary. Every one in a while, there’s a special pattern that I’m willing to grade but mostly it’s just too much work!

  3. Michelle September 9, 2013 — 9:38 AM

    LIZ! This is AMAZING! My eyes are smiling over that airplane print. And you created a gorgeous blouse. This pattern is really pulling its weight in your pattern stash!

  4. Gail September 9, 2013 — 10:41 AM

    Darn – I can never find my torch and pitchfork when I need them, LOL! Seriously – I’m really glad you mentioned this – I feel like it lets me off the hook! I’ve been reluctant to just add on at the side seams because I think I’m not supposed to, but you’re getting excellent results, so I’m going to give it a try.

    This is adorable, of course, as your makes always are. You guys got some really great pictures too!

    1. Liz September 10, 2013 — 11:56 AM

      heh Lucky for me you’ve “misplaced” your pitchfork. :D

      Back when I first started sewing, my mom was like “Why don’t you just add to the side seam?!” I thought this was sewing blasphemy at the time. But also.. in time I’ve come to realize there’s really nothing wrong with taking width out (or adding it) where you need it. The easiest is the side seams.

      Now I do try to make sure my side seam is actually at the true sides of my body and that it’s perpendicular to the floor.

      It’s great to remember there are really no RULES just guidelines. heh I’m a sewing pirate.

  5. Sarah September 9, 2013 — 11:28 AM

    I love Jitterbuggin, too, and the price tags put me off, as well. Your blouse is amazing and looks terrific on you!

  6. Kara September 9, 2013 — 11:36 AM

    Hi Liz,

    the grading out at the hip/waist sounds a lot like the nancy zieman pivot and slide technique to me. which seems somehow quicker than the cut and slide technique of grading plus none of that cutting into the pattern you’ve just traced. Just timesaving and not pitchfork worthy ;)

    Also should add that I like your make very much have been lurking sewing blogs for a while and always look forward to seeing your makes, the quality of them and the trouble you take over them is very apparent.

    1. Liz September 10, 2013 — 11:52 AM

      Thanks Kara. It does look a lot like the pivot & slide method. I think the pros to using the P&S technique is that it keeps the length of the seams intact if you’re just retracing the original pattern but in a different place. (Ie looking at this post:

      When I increase/decrease my side seams, I need to be sure that I also alter the sleeve & any other joining pieces to ensure they all still fit up together.

      But really, this is the same way to add width.

  7. joelle September 9, 2013 — 1:45 PM

    this is a GREAT blouse! the print is just perfect. i need to get me some quirky prints and make some blouses. but then i’d need skirts too ;)

  8. Tasha September 9, 2013 — 3:51 PM

    It’s super cute, looks great on you! That fabric is awesome. I definitely need to get a few more novelty prints into my blouse wardrobe. I bought some quilting cotton for summer playsuits but now that summer is waning (okay, only if you’re in the a/c reading this today :P), so now I’m contemplating using them for blouses instead.

    It’s a wonderful feeling to have a real ‘staple’ blouse pattern, isn’t it?? I’ve sewn mine up 3 times and plan to make plenty more. In fact for my Fall for Cotton project I was tempted to use it and modify it, but when I started tinkering with tissue the pieces started resembling the original pattern I was going to use so much I decided just to use it. :P Yay for a great repeatable pattern!!

    1. Liz September 10, 2013 — 11:41 AM

      Thanks Tasha! I don’t do many novelty prints, as a little goes a long way, but it does freshen up *blegh* days.

      Yes for staple patterns! I think this year is my year of multiples, too. I am finding myself making up the same pattern a variety of times, this blouse being one of them.

  9. Squee-tastic! Looooooooove it!

  10. Uhg I wish you didn’t tell me this because now I have yet another project to add to my ever growing list of “to-sew” things. Pfft, who am I kidding, THANK YOU for pointing me directly to that fabric! I too have been lusting over that amazing blouse and would just love to make one of my own. You always have the best outfit styling, complete with perfect hair and shoes! You’re a real peach :) …and obviously an amazing seamstress.

    1. Liz September 10, 2013 — 11:39 AM

      heh No problem! I’m always happy to help with fabric acquisition. It took me far too long to realize that the airplane fabric was available for purchase, everyone should snag some if they’re able. :D

  11. Lauren September 10, 2013 — 10:39 AM

    Pretty sure I like your remix better than the original :)

  12. Sandra September 10, 2013 — 4:00 PM

    Very cute blouse, You did a great job.

  13. Ellen September 10, 2013 — 8:17 PM

    Lovely, Lovely. I agree that your alteration method mimics the Pivot & Slide method ~ it works????

    1. Ellen September 10, 2013 — 8:19 PM

      ..??? Glitch in punctuation above.

  14. Erin B September 11, 2013 — 1:17 PM

    Love the airplanes. You rock that look so well it makes me jealous! You’ve said before you rarely remake a pattern but isn’t it so nice to have a TNT that you can just pull out and have it ready to go without messing with adjustments and muslins? I have two of almost pattern I love for this very reason.
    BTW, I finally started my own blog after stalking around here for ages. Drop by and visit me. I’m working on an Advance pattern from the 1940’s that’s just your taste. I keep thinking of you as I’m working on it. :)

    1. Liz September 11, 2013 — 2:13 PM

      Oh yes! It’s wonderful to have a go-to blouse pattern. Sleeves and armholes are tricky to fit for some reason, so I love having it all done after making this blouse twice.

      Yay to you for starting your own blog!! Will totally hop on over to check out the 40’s goodness.

  15. Kerri September 15, 2013 — 12:18 AM

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog thus i came to “return the favor”.I am attempting
    to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use
    a few of your ideas!!

  16. I can’t even say how much I love this whole outfit! It looks fantastic and I love love love the airplane print! :)

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