A 1940’s Embroidered California Poppy Blouse
I’m very happy to share this project! It’s one that’s been in my dreams for a while and now, it’s finally become a reality.
I love to take plain fabrics and transform them into something unique. This blouse was just a simple white cotton lawn before I embroidered it. Now, it’s a bespoke beauty showcasing my love of our state flower — the California Poppy.
For this project, I used a vintage 1949 McCall’s pattern. First, I re-sized the pattern to fit me using the slash and spread grading method and then transferred the embroidery design to the pieces before I started working on them.
Ordinarily, I would have chosen a poppy color from the designs on the pattern envelope, but after seeing some beautiful custom California Poppy chainstitch embroidery by Tina Vines, I was inspired to turn the poppies into the golden colors of our native wildflower.
Embroidering this piece was actually a “fast” project with the satin stitches and my heavy handed embroidery. It took me a little over a month, but I only worked on it for a few hours a week. It took me much longer to embroider my past pieces which feature freehand embroidery designs.
After I finished embroidering the yoke and sleeve pieces, I sewed the blouse together, which was the easiest task of all! I used some vintage cotton lace on the neckline and made self fabric sleeve bands for the sleeve hems.
Generally, I would think of a plain white fabric like this lawn as a lining for another garment as I’m very into colors. But when you add embroidery, a solid fabric becomes a canvas for a one-of-a-kind wearable masterpiece.
The white cotton lawn that I used for this blouse is unfortunately no longer available on the Cali Fabrics site, but Cali often has an array of lawns and shirtings that would work wonderfully for an embroidery project. Some of my favorites available on the site right now is this lovely Sunshine Yellow Swiss Dot Cotton, this Yellow Cotton Oxford shirting, and these lovely Greenwich fine chambrays. They’re all wonderful candidates for blouses with embroidery.