Shirtwaist Styling


Aldens Catalog Fall Winter 1953-1954

As plain as the shirtwaist can be it’s that simplicity that lends itself to styling, profiling, and embellishment of the dress.  This Aldens catalog ad catches my eye on many levels.  It features one of my favorite colour combinations:  red and white.  There are three versions of the oh so versatile shirtwaist dress.  And, each dress has different styling.  Dresses number one and number three are to die for.  They would go well with my body shape. You know I love vintage shirtwaist dresses.  When I saw these on Pinterest I just had to share.  The piping in the first dress, left side is on point.  I’m not so into the zippered front and the tie belt of the first view as I go more for a buckled belt; however, the pocket shape more than makes up for that.  Would ya look at the petal sleeves, please?  The interesting thing about dress number four [from the left to right] is the angle of the gingham – quite pleasing for a curvy gal like myself.  The pocket and yoke detail are exquisite.  I would want to replace the button front at the very least of the skirt section and maybe leave it on the bodice for ease of dressing. So much could be done there; i.e., embroidery or even contrasting fabric/colour.  This is why my hat goes off to pattern drafters.  In my head I know this dress is not difficult to mix and match pattern pieces but I am such a fraidy cat.  I suppose that’s what muslins are for though, huh?

Why can’t I find a dress like THIS on a gal like ME?

I’ve been really wanting a gingham shirtwaist dress but for some reason I keep thinking I am too old and too large to pull it off.  You know what, I have been searching for a photo of a curvy, big girl, like me, in gingham shirtwaist and I have yet to find one.  You betcha, good, bad, or ugly I will post a full length pic of me in mine, ha ha ha.  At the very least I will make one, wear it, and see what I look like.  Worst case scenario I can always wear it at the homestead when doing my chores.  Truth be told I reallly want to be cute in it and wear it out and about, to worship, shopping, or wherever else I choose.  I did find this brave gal, it’s the closest to what I’m looking for:

Welll, hubby says I’m not shaped like this . . . I’ll keep looking.

As I work toward building my vintage style wardrobe looks like I am going to have to invest in stylish belts like these from Hannah Jane Boutique.  Seems they were a fashion staple with this style dress.   There are so many cute ones patterned and colored!







Sobriety from electronic sewing machines since 2012


5 thoughts on “Shirtwaist Styling

  1. I love the looks on those women. I know that’s exactly how I’m going to feel and look once I get my shirt waist dress to fit. I’m still having problems with the bodice. I’m really narrow (and flat) in the chest and what a pain to get good fit. So I hear ya! What type of fabric Are you going to use?


    1. Hi there, Jilly:

      As it pertains to the shirtwaist I plan on making a slew of ’em. Being in a semi-tropical environ I tend toward cottons and cotton blends (any fabric that will allow this menOpausal bod to breathe, LOL). If I had personal income (which I do not) I would also include bamboo and linens in my fabric line-up. Here is the first vintage shirtwaist that I made . ..

      From recent readings it sounds like you are in the market for a small bust adjustment (SBA). Have you tried that?

      Thanks for stopping by.



      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jilly:

      Honey chile, that’s the only gingham I would consider donning on this big bod. The lady in my post has nerves of steel. I ain’t mad at her. I suppose there’s nothing like a big old heapin’ helpin’ of self esteem and she’s apparently got it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Marian Martin Shirtwaists – Sew Lyrically Vintage

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