I bought this white blouse on my recent trip to north Sweden, in the Red Cross shop in Jörn, to be precise. There are very few shops in this small town but amongst them were several second-hand shops (“loppis” – I got some great stuff there too, more of which, later) and a rather fun charity shop run by the Swedish Red Cross (Röda Korset). I had a good browse and bought several pieces there. If you’re in the area, I recommend it. They have free coffee and everything.
I came across this 1980s white blouse in approximately my size. It has ruffles. I mean, a lot of ruffles. There are ruffles at the neck, ruffles at the shoulder, ruffles at the cuffs and even two big ruffles down the front. I love ruffles but this was a little much even for me.
I paid SEK 30:- which is about £2.60.
So anyway, I was looking for something especially Swedish to remake. I was delighted to see that the blouse had originally been sold by Swedish department store Åhléns. Thinking that nothing could be more Swedish I happily carried this home to England to be remade.
On closer inspection…..
The first step was to get rid of the shoulder pads.
I then cut off the sleeves and the shoulder ruffles. I didn’t want to cut off all the ruffles – that would be a real shame. It was a little tricky deciding which ones to keep though! In the end, the big ruffles on the front won, which meant all the others had to go.
Cutting off the strangluation collar and its accompanying ruffle was quite satisfying.
I turned the contrast up on the picture below so you can see the coffee stain at the neckline. I hadn’t noticed this originally as it was quite subtle; but it did dictate the choice of neckline for the final blouse. I had to cut it into a V.
V-neck isn’t always my first choice, but I thought it could work with the existing style lines which are already making a V-shape.
After trying the blouse on and marking the new neckline with pins, it looked something like this. I also took some width out of the sides and added a couple of darts at the armhole, which are covered by the ruffles when the blouse is worn.
Here’s the shape of the new neckline. Note that the darts are not visible.
From one of the sleeves, I cut some 3cm bias strips to bind the neckline and armholes.
Here’s a quick look at how I bound the V at the neckline. I folded the bias strip onto itself….
…so it’s effectively folded double on one side.
Here’s what it looks like once it’s sewn on – there is a sharp angle but the only bit that needed clipping was the actual blouse (not the binding).
This gives a nice sharp point at the corner of the V, once the binding is turned to the wrong side and topstitched.
I added one of the buttons and the loop back to the centre back neck. I actually could have just sewn the keyhole up as it fits over my head with the new neckline, but thought it might be nice to keep another original feature, and it wasn’t much work.
The final blouse was a vast improvement on the original. All I needed was something to pair it with… This polka dot 100% silk skirt came from the British Heart Foundation shop in Whitby, a bargain at £3.30. This had been in the wardrobe for years but I hadn’t worn it because of a rather noticeable stain on the front. Eventually I decided to take the plunge and put it through the washing machine on the handwash cycle. It came up a treat. Expect to see this a lot over the summer!
I was able to wear my new outfit to brunch with some good friends on Saturday. After brunch we took a walk through Queen Elizabeth park, part of what was the Olympic park in Stratford. It’s now a beautiful park and was full of families enjoying the nice weather. You can see the Orbit sculpture in the background – you can walk right up to it now! It’s pretty impressive from close up.
I actually really like the new V-neckline and am planning what else in my wardrobe could benefit from a new V-neck!
I think I’ve been left with just the right amount of ruffle – enough to make an impact, but not too many that it pushes it into costume territory.
Another great thing about Queen Elizabeth park is the wild flower meadows – they are absolutely beautiful at this time of year. I loved the colours and took far too many photos!