I’m happy to share this retro shirtwaist dress with you! This dress is inspired by this lovely striped shirt dress worn by Jenny Lee in Call the Midwife. I couldn’t find any photos online, so these are screen captures from season 3.
I used Simplicity 1459 to make my dress, along with a navy/white striped stretch cotton sateen from Fabric Mart. I previously used this pattern to make my last shirtwaist.
I went old school with this and finished the facings and seams with pinking shears and covered the buttons. I had planned on covering the buckle as well, but I didn’t have one the right size. The covered buttons are actually vintage 1950’s ones from my grandma’s stash. It would have been cool to use one of her vintage buckle sets, too, but I didn’t want to a belt that narrow.
I also made another cardigan! Instead of a pink one like Jenny Lee’s, I made a dark red one reminiscent of the ubiquitous cardis that the midwifes wear.Mine is made from a dark red merino wool jersey that I snagged from Fabric Mart. I used my staple cardi pattern — Simplicity 2154. When I make this cardigan, I shorten it as it’s pretty long, otherwise, I pretty much follow the pattern instructions.
I finished the button placket with a polkadot grosgrain ribbon. The pattern calls for ribbon, and in the past I’ve used satin ribbon. The grosgrain works far better! I forgot to pick up ribbon at the store when I was buying bias tape (for the neckline) and buttons, so this is one I had in my stash.
I do have all of the stripes lined up on the bodice, but they move around with the big buttons. I also had sewn the buttons so that the stripes were lined up, but the move around…. oh well — at least the line up on the side seams! I’ve been thinking about adding a couple of snaps to make the placket a little more stable, but it doesn’t really bother me that much.
This sateen is a bit stiff and heavy, so its perfect for a full skirt. I do have my cotton petticoat on underneath, which makes it a little fuller.
The pattern calls for a ribbon belt, which I made for the last version of this dress, but I like self fabric belts better. This one is interfaced with a lightweight fusible interfacing. The fabric is a little thick and heavy, so it didn’t need much (if anything) to stabilize it. Other times I’ve used heavier sew-in interfacing, horsehair canvas or belting.
Doc was hanging out here looking picture perfect, so here’s a few photos with him. 🙂
Also, it’s not really warm here as my attire might lead you to believe…. It was about 50 when I was taking these.
I’m also pleased to say that I’ve finally had time to follow through with a sewing challenge! Although this dress has been in the planning stages for a few months, I made it just in time to include it as part of Mary’s Autumn of 1000 Shirt Dresses! Yay!
- Dress: Simplicity 1459 in navy/white stripe stretch cotton sateen, made by me
- Cardigan: Simplicity 2154 in dark red merino wool jersey, made by me
- Shoes: LK Bennett
- Jewelry: Bauble Bar