I’ve been aware of Emmy Design for a little while now, but I have never actually purchased anything from them. The main reason for this is they offer such a huge array of vintage style clothing that I’ve never been able to decide on the one thing I wanted to buy! So, when an email popped into my inbox from the company asking if I would like to review a garment from their current ranges I was super excited. Only problem was I had to choose that item. Cue hours spent going through their website trying to wheedle it down.
Emmy Design is a Swedish vintage production clothing company who cover the classic eras of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The company was started by designer and fashion design graduate Emmy Nilsson with a vision of creating feminine, well-fitted garments that embrace and enhance the female shape. And she’s certainly done that and more! Each range has something for everyone, from the 25 year old trendsetter to the 65 year old classic beauty and they all come in an amazing size range that stretches from UK size 6 to 24. I honestly don’t know any other vintage reproduction brand that produces that many different sizes.
After several days of popping back to the website and looking at everything yet again, I finally decided on the Hepcat Holiday Blouse in red floral from their Spring/Summer range. I was very drawn to this because it felt so summery and had a real late 1930s / early 1940s look which is just perfect for me. I could imagine it teamed with so many other separates I already own, including my navy blue wide leg trousers and a yet to be revealed turquoise 1930s style skirt.
In the end I teamed it with the white linen 1930s style skirt I made last year and my incredibly apt Swedish Hasbeens, which I’m still trying desperately to break in! I also had this great idea of creating a really fun photoshoot with lots of bright red balloons to match the blouse, but as with most great ideas it didn’t turn out quite as I had imagined it in my head. The main problem was that, because of the gorgeous weather we had over the weekend, there was absolutely no wind and the balloons just ended up looking sad and lifeless. Ah well!
From a distance the Hepcat Holiday blouse looks as if it’s just red and white, however the flowers also contain a beautiful pastel yellow and a light turquoise which is such a lovely touch. It allows it to mixed and matched with lots of colour and I love how they’ve teamed it with pastel yellow shorts on the website. As I don’t ever bare that much of my legs, I may have to think about a pastel yellow skirt, or maybe even a pair of super wide beach pyjama trousers.
The blouse also has loads of design detailing in it. On the shoulder there is a small amount of shirring which creates very period authentic gathering across the front panels. The sleeves are really big and puffy and are then pulled in with a pleat at the cuff of the sleeve to give it that perfect 1930s/40s look. And to finish off, the waist is pulled in to sit on your natural waist with a handy waistband.
I ordered the size 38, which in UK terms is a size 10. It fits really well all over, with the waistband not being too tight or too loose and the front button placket not gaping at all (that’s a relief!), however, I did have one problem and that was the width of the shoulders. Unfortunately they were a little wide and as a result the puffy sleeve head was sitting on the top of my arm and not on the edge of my shoulder as it should be. This didn’t deter me though and all I did was extended the shirring on the front so it went right under the collar and added a little bit to the centre back, just below the collar. This worked perfectly as it pulled in the shoulders just enough so the sleeve heads sat in the right place.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, that must’ve been hard and only experience seamstresses could do it. Well, actually no. I have an original 1930s sewing book and I had a look in there how shirring was done by the average homemaker at the time.
All you have to do is set your machine to the widest straight line stitch, sew five horizontal lines, one underneath each other and about 8mm apart. Make sure you secure one end and then leave the other end open, and with long threads, before cutting them. Once all five are done, pull the long threads through from the right side of the fabric, so all of them are on the wrong side. Evenly pull each stitch line so it gathers in the fabric and then securely tie the long ends and cut off the excess. Of course, this technique shouldn’t be used where the shirring needs to stretch but it’s great for detailing.
All in all, this is a great versatile top that can be worn with so many things and in so many ways to create different looks. It’s also great for taking on holiday (it’s aptly named!) as it’s made in 96% polyester and 4% spandex, so you can just throw it into your suitcase and it won’t need ironing once you’re ready to wear it. It made it all the way from Sweden to me and it didn’t meet my iron! It’ll probably well really well too, which is always a bonus.
Hepcat Holiday Blouse – Emmy Design
White 1930s Skirt – Made by Me
Red Clog Sandals – Swedish Hasbeens
1930s Style Sunglasses – eBay
1950s Red Patent Handbag – Poot Emporium, Frome
Red Seam Stockings – What Katie Did
Red Drop Earrings – Made by Me