I made this vintage-style shirtwaist dress form Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. Like my bow-neck blouse from the same book (and made from the same stashed cotton-rayon blend fabric, incidentally), I thought I didn’t like it as I was finishing it up. However, I find myself having worn the dress several times already, so, fortunately, my initial opinion has been proven wrong!
As I wasn’t thrilled with the dress as I was finishing it, I didn’t take the time for perfection. I hemmed the skirt and sleeves with a machine straight stitch. However, I did make bound buttonholes for all of the buttons. I chose to make the buttonholes just larger than the buttons and so did not fold back fabric for flaps in the bound buttonholes. In retrospect, perhaps I should have made the buttonholes larger as it is a major pain to unbutton each button through a tight front buttonhole and a back facing buttonhole. Fortunately, I don’t have to unbutton it to put the dress on and take it off as their is a shirred back.
Here is an inside look at the shirred waist. I used elastic in my bobbin to sew my shirring and I’m quite happy with the effect. It makes the dress very comfortable for all-day wear.
I sewed the dress with no changes to the pattern other than lengthening the sleeves and skirt a bit. I did make one major bonehead move while assembling the dress. Somehow, I got the pleats on one side completely off from the other. A simple fix with a bit of time with the seam ripper, but I remain confused as to how I managed to do it in the first place.
There are several changes I will make next time (and I think there will be a next time). The upper collar sits way too far back. The facings aren’t wide enough, especially through the open neck as they often try to peak out. I will lengthen the back bodice a bit and shorten the front so the waistband is a better height for me all the way around. However, I am overall quite satisfied with, comfortable in, and complemented when wearing this dress!