Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shirtwaist Primer



I do like shirtwaist dresses as they are so practical.  

How do you choose the best shirtwaist for yourself?

There are many options you can cycle through to figure out what you would like and what would look best on you.

  Shirtwaists are a classic style.  Be careful not to use faddish ideas as those don't last more than half a season sometimes.  This includes the trends that are popular now:  short skirts, tight bodices, cap sleeves,  odd colors, flashy fabrics, overpowering prints or designs to name a few.  Basically, a shirtwaist  that incorporates a classic style and a complementary color in quality fabric will make it a worthwhile piece in your wardrobe.

Decide what BODICE style you  like.

  • fitted with waist and bust darts--allow body  measurement plus wearing ease plus design ease for comfort
  • semi-fitted with slight waist gathers and bust dart--will work well for large bosom, large hips, long waisted, and skinny frame (pictured right)
  • blouson with loose fit and no darts--flattering to the large bosom, large hips, long waisted,  skinny frame
  • yoked bodice with gathers or pleats--good for small bosom, narrow shoulders
  • forward shoulder seams meeting gathers on front bodice--good for small bosom and narrow shoulders
Vogue 9000

Decide what COLLAR style you like:

  • shirt collar, no band--good for short neck, broad shoulders, large bosom on short frame, small bosom on tall frame
  • shirt  collar with band, tailored (or stand collar) --flattering for long neck
  • peter pan collar--not recommended for tall large frame
  • wing collar--flattering for broad shoulders
  • shawl collar--flattering to  large bosom also for a small bosom on tall frame
  • no collar--good for short neck
Vogue 8829

McCall's 6696

 Decide what SLEEVE style you want:

  • long for winter and heavier fabrics
    • cuffed--flattering  for thin or heavy arms on short frame
    • long with button on fold
    • long and fitted --no cuff or button
    • 3/4 sleeve
  • short-- good for transitional seasons to add sweater or jacket
  • the less  arm exposed the more feminine the appearance--includes  thin, heavy, and the older one gets the more it should be covered.
  • some patterns have a raglan  or dolman sleeve styles
McCall's 6891
Vogue 9051

Decide what SKIRT style you like:   these can be either buttoned to the hem or made without buttons.  Please do make the skirts to come below the knees so that it is flattering to the feminine figure.

  • A-line--flattering to all figures
  • gathered
    • slightly--more A-line shape with some gathers
    • full gathered--these are flattering to the long waisted and small hips
  • gored--flattering to large hips
  • flared (4 sections to skirt)--flattering to large hips
  • single front pleat--very flattering to short waists
  • double front pleat-- good for all body types
  • pleated is flattering to small hips
  • yoke--flattering to short waist on tall frame

    McCalls 7084

Then, there are the styles that are truly cut in ONE PIECE so it includes the bodice and skirt.  Some are straight and others are slightly flared.  If it is cut with princess seams as this one pictured below the skirt can be cut flared.
McCall's 5847
  If the shirt is just extended to the hem length then a little width can  be added at the sides.  If adding width to the front it would take more effort to make it flared with buttons to the hem.  It would be easier to not have the buttons but make the buttons come down to the waist and put in a placket or make it wide enough to go over the head and put a belt on and /or add elastic at the waist. 

There are so many interesting  VINTAGE SHIRTWAIST DRESS PATTERNS that offer a wonderful variety of styles.  Vintage dress patterns have more details with bodice styles and offer interesting variety as opposed to the simple styles in the major pattern books this year.

 Even if there aren't any patterns satisfy your needs you can always combine a top with a skirt to make it a  one piece dress.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What can you do with a shirtwaist dress in winter?

A Winter Outfit

I find the shirtwaist dress a wonderful wardrobe addition. It can be made in a variety of colors with darker jewel tones for winter wear.  There are infinite styles available for choosing one that is the best suited for the different  body types which makes it a most practical item for the wardrobe.


The above photo shows the various ways of combining tops and accessories to make the shirtwaist versatile.
For a winter shirtwaist, corduroy, wool flannel, wool knit, cotton flannel, and weights of mid to heavier fabrics would keep one warmer.  Having turtle-neck or a higher-necked under-sweater or even adding a vest to the combination would be comfortable.  Leggings and boots would keep the legs warmer.  Winter is a good time to wear longer skirts as it keeps the wind off and insulates the legs.  I would add a few more inches to the skirt of this shirtwaist pictured above as it is much more flattering and femininely pleasing to have the skirt come to about mid calf length.  It just balances that  wonderfully feminine look.

Here are some other ideas for interchangeable ideas for winter wear.  I cut these pages out of a magazine years ago as I liked the ideas shown.  I can not remember the name of the  magazine but it was aimed at Christian women.  I hope you can read the fine print.

Here are some simple ideas from vintage patterns that would add a little interest to the neckline.
Clever things to do with the neckline.

Then there are also a variety of scarves on the market to add color  and  versatility to your shirtwaist.