When full, puffy sleeves returned to fashion in the late 1930’s, the “peasant blouse” reappeared. This Hollywood pattern from the Commercial Pattern Archive for a peasant blouse is from 1938.
“Tyrolean” hats, ski clothes, and embroidery were briefly popular in the late thirties, until WW II tainted anything German or Austrian for U.S. consumers.
Wool embroidery decorated this Companion-Butterick Triad pattern for schoolgirls.
The difficulties of travel during the Second World War led many Americans to seek sunshine and a complete change of scene in Mexico, resulting in a fashion influence which lasted for several years after the war. I have already written about Mexican embroidered jackets …
Some peasant blouses incorporated smocking and embroidery:
The smocking resembles the pattern on this blouse:
This smocking pattern, 1315, was featured in the same issue as the “fiesta-mood” blouse, pattern 1317 :
For those who were willing to embroider a blouse, but not to smock it, McCall 1386 offered the option of shirring the blouse and applying very fine rickrack to imitate smocking.
We tend to think of 1947 dominated by Dior’s New Look, but comfortable, unstuctured casual clothing was still popular in the pattern books.
Smocking continued to be associated with high-end clothing for girls. So did the peasant look:
I went looking for a forties’ photo of my mother in a peasant blouse and found a “twofer:” She’s wearing a peasant blouse and skirt, and I am wearing a smocked dress!
Although this 1950’s pattern for children is not “peasanty,” it can be smocked.
In fact, McCall 1402 actually is a smock — a painter’s smock — which reminds us that embroidered smocks were originally worn for work by shepherds and country folks — peasants.