Subversive Femme

FO: The Emergency Bolero (Pauline Pattern 2217, c. 1940s)

How many times have you opened your wardrobe, and realised that you don’t have X,Y or Z to complete your outfit?

1940s 1950s wardobe style idea miss l fire shoes
What a mess! And I think I have a ‘Miss L Fire shoes’ problem…


























That was me, the day before the Fifties Fair – even after ransacking my wardrobe twice.
I was looking for the perfect jacket, bolero or cardigan to match my 1940’s rayon dress, and everything was either the wrong colour or the wrong cut.

I had Pauline 2217 sitting on my sewing table to make up shortly, and thought it might solve my bolero-emergency.






















I love all the details on this bolero – the winged collar, the strong shoulders, the faux pockets. The pattern is from the later part of WW2, with the focus on the military-inspired shoulders. It’s economy standard, i.e. no seam allowance, no facing pieces provided, instructions printed on the back of the packet.

Pauline sewing patterns are by far my favourite brand – I wish I could find more out about the company though.

The pattern only took 1.3 yards (1.2m) for the bolero, and I had some spare navy gabardine laying around – perfect!























Ouch, this pattern was hard to put together.
The instructions consist of two sentences, basically: sew the pocket flaps on, sew the side seams together, attach the collar, set in the sleeves, face the edges.
Not a pattern for the faint-hearted!














My first step was to make a muslin, and put it together how I thought it should go.
It fit perfectly straight from the start, so there was no need to do any adjustment mods (that’s rare for me).














I used purchased shoulder pads instead of making them as I was running out of time, made self-covered buttons and lined the bolero to give it some body.

If you do decide to add a lining to an unlined jacket don’t forget to add your ease pleats to the centre back, or you may have trouble lifting your arms. You can see in the photo below at the lower centre, I’ve stitched down an ease pleat.

1940s repro sewing pattern free lining navy gaberdine jacket bolero














I also hand-stitched the pocket flaps to the body to make them sit nicely (otherwise they stuck out strangely).














And that’s it!
The bolero complemented my outfit perfectly!














Will you see this bolero pattern again? Yes indeed!

I’m about half way through sewing a 1940’s Wearable Wardrobe – complimentary 1940’s pieces (jacket, dress, skirt, bolero and blouse) that work well together – so you’ll be sure to see it again in a different incarnation.

Hope you have a fabulous week!

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No Comments

  • Reply
    Jessica Cangiano
    August 28, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Wonderful job!!! I love a great, classic/vintage bolero, too. They're usually very flattering on my short, curvy figure, which is not something I can say of many longer/modern toppers.

    ♥ Jessica

  • Reply
    August 28, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I love this bolero. I am keen to see what else you wear it with, I am sure it will be very versatile.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Love your bolero, but I'm positively drooling over your phone cord purse!

    You guys looked fabulous!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Waow, I would like to be able to do that…. some items are just so hard to find in vintage, but I'm always so dissapointed with repro! I would like to be able to sew something just as I want… I love the colar of you bolero, nice pattern!
    I have the same Miss L Fire problem… and I have just received 2 more pairs: the alpine boots in red and white and the tartan heels! I'm ready for winter!!!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    This is such a great pattern and it goes so well with your dress. I am very impressed that you were able to make it up the day before you needed it.

  • Reply
    Tam Francis
    August 29, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Amazing job. I know what you mean with patterns with no instruction. They hurt my brain. Sometimes I have to think about it and sleep on it, for the brain to come up with an order to put it together in.

    It turned out amazing. What a wardrobe. You sure do know how to do it there!

    ~ Tam Francis ~

  • Reply
    September 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Absolutely love the bolero! It has such wonderful design details. The dress from the same pattern looks lovely too. I've never seen a Pauline pattern before, very interesting!

  • Reply
    SJ Kurtz
    September 7, 2014 at 3:26 am

    I came wandering over here to inquire about your hair color product and instead am all over this bolero. Oh thank you so much – i'll be drafting the pattern tonight!

    And your hair is wonderful!

  • Reply
    September 14, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    eeeeek, this bolero is wonderful. i love it's details … it looks gorgeous on you …
    i can't wait to see it on you again!

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