Gertie’s Shirtwaist Dress


May 25, 2014 by thepolishedbutton

I have been busy trying to update my wardrobe with some breastfeeding friendly outfits – all the off the peg items are so dull (and expensive!) so I’ve been enjoying the challenge of finding patterns that have buttons. poppers. straps etc.

So, first up is one of the many patterns that I love from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing.


If you have read Gertie’s blog you’ll know there is a heavy 50’s influence, combined with well written instructions and inspiring ideas. ( can you tell I’m a fan?)

Anyway, here are my shirtwaist dresses – the first is the basic pattern, and it sews up pretty nicely. The only alterations I made were for a better fit, although surprisingly I didn’t need to do a FBA, which I was pleased about (because I’m lazy!)

It is made with this fabric which although cotton, feels almost like a fine wool and is beautiful to sew with! It has vintage bobble buttons too! I wore it to a family lunch and it was spot on!



The second is the 40’s zip front version which is also in her book, and I made a few small changes – no pockets in this version, and I also didn’t change the bust dart and gather it at the shoulders – it looked rubbish when I did it on my muslin so I stuck to the original pattern. I love the tulip sleeves (although be careful to stay stitch the shoulder as they stretch really easily). I used this leopard print cotton – it feels a little like crepe and hangs beautifully, although is prone to being a little slippy. I trimmed it in this black lace and used a standard zip at the front. My favourite bit about both of these dresses is the shirring at the back – it is so satisfying to do and as Gertie says, it makes for a soft yet fitted shape. I wore this dress to a wedding and got lots of compliments!





4 thoughts on “Gertie’s Shirtwaist Dress

  1. craftsonsea says:

    They both look amazing, as do you!! Wish I could see that well, I’d love to do a dress one day.

  2. Two gorgeous dresses!

  3. Honor Needham says:

    Ooh, lovely dresses. And a suggestion for birthday book pressie. Thank you x

  4. Helen says:

    These both look amazing! It’s hard to find nice breastfeeding appropriate clothing, so these are a great idea.

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