My favorite thing to sew is the shirtwaist dress. Retro is in and the shirtwaist is timeless. The shirt waist dress entails a full range of sewing knowledge. I teach “continue sewing” to detail construction beyond what is written on the pattern guide sheet. I really was thrilled a tackle the challenge when McCall’s pattern company announced the Shirtwaist sew along.
The shirtwaist dress requires the sewer to take accurate measurements to get the right fit since there is little or no design ease in the pattern. Have someone help you take bust, high bust, waist, hip 7″ below the waist and 9″ below the waist. Measure the back waist length and the finish dress length. Reading some of the Facebook comments I can not get over the sewers who seem to ignore the measurements and go right to the cutting. Why do the work twice? Even when I was a teen and young adult I needed to always check measurement. I have grown so accustom to knits, I forget a woven is not that forgiving with fit. Take my advise here, follow the old carpenter rule. Measure twice and cut once.
A well fitting full shirted shirtwaist is very comfortable. I think a shirt waist dress length should just cover the knee to look proportional, especially with a full shirt.
The first thing you need to know is basic ease measurements when comparing your measurement to the pattern. Basic ease is the same on any pattern. 3″ at the bust, 1/2″ at the waist and 2″ at the hip. This ease let’s you move in the garment.
Fit with the bust measurement. The bust measurement is based on a B cup. If you are larger use the high bust measurement for sizing. Adjust your pattern to fit and cut out a muslin to try the fit before you cut into your fashion fabric. Here is the McCall’s fit blog link.
Need more help or a class? email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for date and time.
Check out the blog for McCall’s shirtwaist dress sew along.
Also go to the Facebook posts related to the McCall’s shirtwaist blog.
Enjoy the challenge of the shirtwaist. Make sure you see “Brooklyn” the movie for the retro shirtwaist vibe.