Tuesday, 12 June 2012

1950s/60s inspired sleeveless blouse

One of my favourite shows is Mad Men. So good! And such beautiful fashion! I was superinspired and decided to make a 1950s/60s inspired sleeveless dress.

But...I think I need to spend less time watching TV and more learning to take pretty photos.

I spent 1.5 h trying to take pictures of myself for this post using the self-timer and having the camera perched on a stack of books that were swaying so much that every other picture was a complete impressionist blur, producing a huge amount of absolutely useless photos. Then the boyfriend came home and in 10 minutes set up the tripod and changed the settings on the camera and like magic...photos became beautiful. Well, one photo of the living room floor, because at this point I had exhausted my battery, as well as the available daylight.

Aaanyway! As promised, an easy tutorial for the perfect DIY 50s/60s inspired sleeveless blouse.

Find a shirt/blouse you want to do this to. I have this fantastic blouse from a favorite Swedish shop, light and airy and amazing material, but that I never use because it makes me look like I am 60 years old whenever I wear it.

You'll also need some 
  • scissors, 
  • pins 
  • sewing machine or needle and thread
  • about 30 min of time
  • some great music

Cut off the sleeves. The closer to the seams you cut, the more fabric you keep and the wider your blouse will be across the shoulders. 

Zig zag the edges (if you can be bothered). Fold in and sew in place. This is SO easy to do by hand if you don't have a sewing machine, not to mention that you will probably get neater results doing it by hand. If you don't know how to sew, learn it! It will be the best 1 min 25 sec you ever spend on Youtube.

Iron to flatten the seams. While you're at it, iron the whole blouse/shirt. You'll look so much more presentable! 

And that's your blouse all done! 

Style with pearls and lipstick for a retro look.

For an everyday look I'd pair it with a chunky necklace and skinny jeans.

Thanks for watching, folks!


  1. This is super cute! I'll have to give it a try! :)

    1. Thank you! Hope you have fun making it! :)

  2. I love this blouse. But I completely disagree on the gender roles thing... Women and men have very few things they intrinsically do better; we're just conditioned to want to do those things. Personally I think dividing people on those lines forces women to 'need' men to do those things for them, and vice versa. I think a complete human would have skills from both sets. And without that, I think it's impossible to claim equality, which in any case, we don't have yet.

  3. I agree with September. "Personally, I will always choose to bake cookies over fixing broken things around the house, killing spiders, taking the bins out etc." I do ALL those things, including moving furniture, installing car stereo systems, and changing car tires when we finally bust one thirty minutes outside of San Francisco after driving all the way from Seattle down the 101 (I don't even have a license...or a car). Self reliance!

  4. Thanks for your comments lades! :) I was not fully serious with the text above, I should have pointed that out in the post. I think it's really important that women today are independent and importantly self-reliant, as you so well point out Eglantier. I was just making the point that it's nice when men are gentlemen. ;)

  5. Totally love this shirt. Think I see a trip to the thrift store in my future to find a few shirts to do this with. It's also great for my teenager, classy and stylish for school!!!!

  6. I love your blog. do you have twitter??
    I let you my site

    1. Thank you. No twitter yet, alas, it's in the works. :)

      Just checking your blog out now, love it! Maybe I can pick up some Spanish too (studied it for 3 years, really shouldn't be this bad). xx

  7. Hey there! I've been trying to do this style with shirts for a good long while and I have a little trouble with the getting the sleeves to not look so sloppy. What did you mean by zig zagging the edges? Thanks again!

  8. Hey there! I've been trying to pull this style of with diy shirts for a long time. I have a hard time getting the sleeves to not look so sloppy. I'll have to try your method. What did you mean by zig zagging the edges? Thanks!

    1. Hi Aline, sorry to hear you've had trouble with the sleeves. What I meant with zig zagging the edges is simply to go over the raw edges after you've cut with a zig zag stitch so the fabric doesn't fray. It will also help prevent the fabric from stretching, which might cause a sloppy finished look.

      I've done this on quite a few blouses and it's been ok, but I'm not sure what the perfect recipe is. What works for me:

      - zig zag the raw edges, especially if your material frays or stretches a lot
      - If the material is stretchy, you might even want to sew around the raw edges with a straight stitch
      - If the material is stretchy, try not to stretch it while sewing
      - Press, press, press with an iron. I do this before sewing and after. It just makes the finished result look better

      An option if the whole folding in the raw edge thing isn't working out well for you is to use ready made bias binding to sew on around the arm holes.

      Good luck! :)