A long-overdue Shirtwaist re-do

My interpretation of this months challenge is to finally get around to revisit a design/pattern you’ve made once, and keep telling yourself “I reallly should try making another one!”. In this case, I also wanted to improve on the original dress.

I made the “original” shirtwaist about 7 months ago, from Gertie’ Shirtwaist pattern from her book (see the blog post here). I love love loved it, but actually there was a lot of fitting issues – the back was extremely unflattering and the darts were way too high. I do still wear the dress and get lots of compliments on it, but I wanted to make a shirt-dress that fitted perfectly. And I think I’ve almost done it!

I drafted this pattern with the help of several patterns: the Gertie dress, the La Sylphide bodice, my princess seam bodice sloper, and Colette Negroni. I made up a muslin and ended up adding a bust dart and fiddling a little bit, and have resulted in a pattern that I LOVE (except for the collar).

It’s different to the first version by a few features

  • It has no yoke. I was going to put one in, but then asked myself why? In a mens shirt, a yoke is used to shape the back and make sure there’s no darts (I think. That’s my impression anyway). I would be using a well-fitting bodice back anyway, and Mrs. C told me I wouldn’t be able to get rid of the dart. The original pattern had a yoke and gathers to make it comfortable, but I’m very comfortable in a well-fitted garment anyway.
  • Gathered skirt – ideally I would prefer a pleated skirt but I didn’t have enough fabric (this was a narrow 112cm yardage). The original’s pleated front skirt is lovely, but the back gathers are extremely unflattering. When I get some more tracing paper I’ll trace off the pleated version and use it for the front and back, as I think pleats will give it a classier look (the gathers are a lot more casual).
  • No sleeve bands – purely because I didn’t have enough fabric
  • Only buttons to the waist – because I couldn’t be bothered, haha. And I quite like the look.

This was also my first experience pattern matching, and I think I did pretty darned well!


Thanks TMS for making me get around to making this! I love it. As usual, I have more information and pictures on my blog, www.tworandomwords.wordpress.com

9 thoughts on “A long-overdue Shirtwaist re-do

  1. I love it. I have made this pattern and enjoyed it but there are a few fit issues. Your fabric is fantastic.


  2. This looks lovely. I looked at your original, and agree that while that is also great, the second one is much improved. The fit is perfect


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