I was going through some patterns to list in my etsy shop today and ran across this 1980s wonder, McCall's 2070:
All that Dress for Success wonder! The shoulder pads! The pleated jabot! The bows! But what really intrigued me was the note written in the bottom right corner:
"Collar is large Blouse is short" -- clear enough. But then...
"True Blouse Not Shirt"
This gave me pause. What did it mean? I've always considered "blouse" to be a subset of the larger category "shirt." If you asked me to define a blouse, I'd say it was a woman's dressier shirt made out of woven fabric.
But could something be a blouse and not a shirt?
I don't have access to the full Oxford English Dictionary Online, but I looked up "blouse" at AskOxford.com.
• noun 1 a woman’s upper garment resembling a shirt. 2 a loose smock or tunic. 3 a type of jacket worn as part of military uniform.
• verb make (a garment) hang in loose folds.
(Ask Oxford also informed my that in Britain "big girl's blouse" is a phrase meaning a weak, cowardly or over-sensitive man. I'd like to work it into my vocabulary, but it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue: "Stop your crying and cook me some dinner, you big girl's blouse!")
Anyway, the Oxford folk seem to be defining "blouse" as something different than a shirt. What's your opinion? Is a "blouse" actually a different item than a shirt, or is it a kind of shirt? What is the meaning of "True Blouse Not Shirt"? And am I spending too much of my time puzzling over other seamstress' cryptic notes?
Scratch that last question! No pattern mystery is too trivial to pursue. In fact, I may have to kick this one over to wordsmith Erin at A Dress A Day for answers!