Completed: The Tacky Shirtwaist Dress

2 Apr

I actually don’t think this dress is tacky at all – I think it’s kind of kitschy & cute! Landon however, hates the fabric – “that looks like a set of curtains my mother had” – which means that I’ll be wearing this dress a lot around him, just because. I’m a terrible person.

ANYWHO let’s talk about this pattern for a minute. This is Simplicity 2458, a sweet little 1958 shirtwaist pattern that includes a few different options. I went with option 2, but I cut the sleeves & hem significantly shorter than indicated by the pattern – the original hem came down to my ankles. Total frumpsville! I tried to take a picture for lols, but I couldn’t get the tripod far enough away to capture the true essence… so just trust me on this one. Anyway, the pattern was lovely to work with, although some of the instructions were a little dicey. A dress like this uses a LOT of fabric – I think I used close to 5 yards! Fortunately for meeee, this fabric was part of one of my ‘fill several giant bags full of fabric and pay $5 for all of it’ flea market finds, so this dress ended up being cheap πŸ™‚ I’m actually surprised at how well the pattern fit straight out of the envelope – the only sizing adjustment I made was to add about 1/2″ at the side seam under the bust dart. Everything else fits great! There are 10 darts in just the top of this dress – 4 vertical bust darts, 2 horizontal bust darts, and 2 vertical neck darts in the back. There are actually 2 darts in the skirt as well, but you can’t see them for all the ~soft pleats~ hovering at the waistline. Also, I think this dress really needs pockets. I’m not the kind of girl who things pockets belong in all dresses or anything like that, but I feel like this dress would have benefited from some deep side seam pockets. Maybe next time!

I actually really hate the buttons on this thing – I think they are tacky as hell & they make the dress look really cheap. I really need to find some nice turquoise buttons, but these’ll do for now – they were what I had in my stash (and I actually went to the store in search of buttons but WTF why are buttons so expensive?! It was like $3 for two buttons – and now I’m seriously regretting that I passed up all those pretty antique Czech glass buttons at the flea market last month. Dude wanted $1 a piece & I thought that was way too high, but looks like I was wrong. Ok enough with the button tangent.) The off-white belt is my attempt to pretend like the buttons were on purpose. That is all.

Dress with belt:
Shirtwaist Dress
Oh, do you see where the button placket on the skirt is kind of sinking into the folds? I clearly used much too heavy of an interfacing down there, and it is weighed down as a result. It’s a fairly sturdy, mediumweight sew-in interfacing – worked beautifully on the collar (so crisp!) – but it really doesn’t belong on the skirt. Especially since I’ll probably never unbutton those buttons.

Shirtwaist Dress

Shirtwaist Dress

Shirtwaist Dress

Dress without belt:
Shirtwaist Dress - no belt

Shirtwaist Dress

Shirtwaist Dress

this is me running back into my house to lock the door
This is me running back into my house because I realized it might be a good idea to lock the door.

Shirtwaist Dress - with petticoat
Came back with a petticoat!

Shirtwaist Dress - with petticoat
The skirt looked a lot more full in real life, argh.

Look, I made a new friend :)
Also, I found a caterpillar πŸ˜€
(sidenote: someone made a snide comment about my septum ring a couple of posts ago… good for you, lady, I hope this picture grosses you out lol)

Shirtwaist Dress

Shirtwaist Dress
Instead of a button at the waistline, there are hooks & eyes. This keeps everything nice & flat without gaping! Sorry about the yellow smudges – I tried to edit them out best I could. This is my tip for getting hooks & eyes positioned so they actually latch closed – sew on the eye, and then rub chalk all over it until it has a layer of powder covering it. Close the garment and press down slightly where the hook should go… when you pull the garment open, there should be a little dot of powder that is exactly where you need to sew the hook. So helpful!

Shirtwaist Dress
Lace at the hem πŸ™‚

That’ll be all, folks! πŸ™‚

Shirtwaist Dress - no belt


60 Responses to “Completed: The Tacky Shirtwaist Dress”

  1. Carol Carrier April 2, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    Since you save so much on fabric, you must be spending it on shoes! Good choices

    • LLADYBIRD April 2, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      Hehe, these shoes are actually from Target! But I’m not opposed to dropping a wad of cash on a nice pair of shoes… gotta take care of my feet πŸ™‚

  2. Tracy April 2, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    I like the fabric. Great dress Lauren!

  3. Emily April 2, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    So cute! I’ve always been scared of shirt dresses..and button holes, but this is just so dang pretty! I agree with the ludicrous price of buttons, might as well drill holes into actual money and sew them on, it would be cheaper!

    • LLADYBIRD April 2, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Ha! I would totally wear money-buttons! Someone find me a proper drill bit!

  4. Sue April 2, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    This is SO cute. I love the cuffs on the little sleeves, think the buttons add to (rather than detract from) the look, and am kind of surprised by how much I love the NON-curtain-ey fabric! Nice work (as per usual). πŸ™‚

  5. Heather (Fuss) April 2, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    Fantastic job!

    I love everything about this dress: the fabric, the style, even the buttons don’t really bother me (although I agree that turquoise buttons would be even better). I forsee a shirtdress in my future…

  6. Susie Homemaker, MD April 2, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    I love the fit and style of this dress. It is perfect and classic! You are churning out finished projects like it’s going out of style — I can barely get them started much less finish them but I definitely have a dress like this on my list πŸ™‚


  7. Maddie April 2, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Ooooo I love. Good choice to shorten the sleeves and hem. Way too dowdy! You need to show those knees!

  8. Michelle April 2, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    I really like the way this pattern turned out. The cuffs are adorable, and it fits you gorgeously. I do agree that the buttons should be changed out. I think I would like the fabric better if there were some beautiful buttons overshadowing….whatever it is going on in that print. πŸ˜€

  9. Fashionable Stitcher April 2, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    I think its so fabulous! The style and fit look positively charming on you! I actually LOVE the fabric – such a retro touch, even if Landon does think it looks like curtains. I would like to take that up a notch and say it looks like vintage curtains! So cute! I love it. I love how the skirt has pleats instead of gathering as I’m seriously have hard times with gathers at my waist and would love to try a shirt dress with some sort of “frilly” something at the waist. Great idea! Stellar creation Lauren – as ALWAYS! Love this!
    xoxo, Sunni

  10. BeaW April 2, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Lovely as always!!! Is there anything that doesn’t look cute on you?
    I agree tha button prices are crazy stupid high if you want something nice. Bummer!

  11. Sarah April 2, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Hi Lauren, I love it! even more so without the belt….I’ve just found your blog recently and I’m amazed by everything you have made. I’m new to sewing and have found all your creations really inspiring πŸ™‚

  12. Rochelle New April 2, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Duuuuudeeee soooooo freaking cuuuttee!!! Stop it! Just stop it!

    …no don’t. LOVE this dress.

    p.s. I think your septum ring is RAD and it makes me wish I still had mine 😦

  13. prttynpnk April 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    I have those shoes in the dark brown- now I need the dress to go with it, right? Lovely work- not a curtain in sight.

  14. misscrayolacreepy April 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Love the fabric AND the buttons!

    Your yard is so pretty and green, looks like spring!

  15. Sarah W. April 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Ooh, I love a shirt dress. Looks good!

  16. Roisin Muldoon April 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    I love this – I love shirtdresses and I think ‘that looks like curtains’ is actually kind of a compliment – but then I like quite loud and tacky prints, myself. Also, how adorable are you? (a lot) x

  17. gingermakes April 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Oh, this is way cute! I like the print a lot, actually! And it fits you so perfectly!

    What’s up with online haters? Don’t they understand that we’re just supposed to be pouring on the compliments all willy-nilly? It’s like 0.01% of the bloggy world doesn’t get it and wants to pee on our lovefest! Lame!

  18. cationdesigns April 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Gaaah now I need to add a shirtdress to my ever-growing list of things I just must make! I actually really like that print, and who cares what other people say, but then I am also always wearing prints that my husband is skeptical of, so there you have it. Also, trolls need to get a life!

  19. Rachel April 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Your dress is ace! I like the buttons (but I reckon the right red could be cool too) and the septum ring. I wish I had the kahunies to do something like that… Crazy how different the dress looks with a petticoat.

  20. Rachel-Lou April 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Love it! if you can’t find turquoise buttons, i would go for a magenta colour, but then again I love contrasting (some would say clashy!) buttons

    • LLADYBIRD April 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      I did consider magenta when I was on the button-hunt, but I couldn’t find a perfectly matching shade. The hunt continues!

  21. Missy April 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    I have to admit I was skeptical about the fabric at first, but I actually really like it! It turned out really nicely. I suppose the occasional superficial negative comment comes with blogger territory, but fortunately that lady doesn’t speak for all of us. I think your septum ring is cool and if I were badass like you, I would have one too:)

  22. Handmade Jane April 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Oh I love this Lauren, I’m a little obsessed with 1950’s shirt dresses at the moment and this one is just extra fuel for my shirtdress fire! I agree about the lengths on vintage patterns being frumpy, I had to just hack off 6 inches from a 1950’s pattern to get it to knee length! Beautiful finish and fit too, I LOVE lace trimmed hems. x

  23. Fiona April 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Beautiful! I love the shape with the petticoat! Plus your shoes are GORGEOUS!

  24. Lakaribane April 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Love the fabric, love the pattern, ADORE the shoes and am in favor of the Eeevil Master Plan to Irritate Landon, LOL!

  25. sarah April 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    always hate to hear that people leave snide comments on blogs…don’t really understand the necessity to ruin other peoples day with stupid opinions.
    ANYWHO–dress looks amazing as per usual. i live in Asheville NC not too far from TN and short sleeves right now are a must! i might need to actually make myself a dress too.
    always love your blog πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD April 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      OOOH Asheville – I’m so jealous! That’s such a lovely area πŸ™‚

  26. Kerry April 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    I love shirtdresses and I love this, it looks great on you. You always look like you get great fit on your projects – I’m a little jealous! πŸ™‚

  27. Celine April 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Love the dress, great fit…also at thrift stores I keep my eye out for old cheap clothes with cool buttons… New ones are so pricey!

  28. Donna April 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    That’s a beautiful dress! It in no way whatsoever says ‘curtain’ to me!

  29. symondezyn April 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Great job! I think you wear this fabric wonderfully! Admittedly, on its own it’s unremarkable, but on you and in this style it’s positively charming! πŸ™‚

    The alterations you made really capture the innocent, feminine spirit of the style of dress well πŸ™‚

    What about self fabric covered buttons? I know they’re not cheap but having got the fabric for such a song, maybe it’s worth a splurge? πŸ™‚

  30. tigergirl April 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Not tacky at all. I really like it, fits you superbly and is so flattering.

  31. Marie April 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    OMG, how sweet is this dress!?! I lurve it so much and predictably the fabric is right up my street, despite what your boyfriend thinks! I’m so glad that we don’t pay too much attention to our b/fs comments ;o)

  32. April 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    This is so cute. You have such a great eye for fashion.

  33. Asia A. April 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    I’ve been looking for a pattern like this for all eternity and still can’t find one in my size. WAH WAAAAH.

    • LLADYBIRD April 3, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      Aw, what’s your size? I’ll keep an eye out for ya at the flea market πŸ™‚

  34. Laeh J April 2, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    This is really cute! I love the fabric. I just got Simplicity 2246; and it’s pretty similar. Now I just have to find some cute fabric. Just when I promised to stop buying fabric, I see this!

  35. Molly April 3, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    This dress is adorable! Great work, like always.

  36. Jamie April 3, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    Really cute, dress, I agree though, different color buttons would make it look better, I have been tempted to try a shirt dress, but hemming it scares me, I don’t think I could get it right, got any tips for that?

    • LLADYBIRD April 3, 2012 at 8:38 am #

      Oh, I am probably the absolute worst person to ask this question to… I don’t make too much of an effort to ensure my hem is straight lol. Just flip it up & hand-stitch it down. The skirt started out as a rectangle (as in, it’s not a circle skirt), so the hem didn’t require any easing if that’s what you’re asking?

  37. sallie April 3, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    I just love shirtdresses and this looks FANTASTIC on you!! Hehe… I also really love the fabric … pfft! Curtains… silly boys…

    Someday I’d like to get a handle on interfacing – I still feel likes its a bit of a mystery to me. Lately I’ve been using some random silk organza I’ve had around as interfacing and I’m shocked by how light but sturdy it is! But really… I’m not going to keep tons of silk organza on hand just for interfacing so I’d really like to be able get a handle on the fusibles and other varieties out there…

    • LLADYBIRD April 3, 2012 at 9:19 am #

      I love using silk organza as interfacing, but you’re right, it’s not really feasible to keep a bunch of it on hand – it’s so expensive! I really want to try the stuff at Fashion Sewing Supply but my budget constraints mean I have to wait a few months, boo!

  38. leahfranqui April 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    I don’t want to talk smack about your boyfriend but he is wrong, this dress is fantastic, and everyone needs to know that. Also, woman who was anti your septum ring, what the hell? People are the worst. I like it. I think you look beautiful. And I love this dress.

  39. StephC April 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Great dress, I really like it. πŸ™‚ Not curtainy at all.

    Nuts to that lady who thinks she has the right to tell you what to stick in your nose. πŸ˜‰ I like it.

  40. beklet April 5, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    Damn, I’m jealous – I always think that sort of dress will suit me and look pretty, but I end up looking all frumpy and middle aged (yes, I AM middle aged but I don’t want to shout about it!!)
    I also wish I could get cool stuff from my local markets/charity shops – they are all somewhat lacking…
    s for the septum ring – really? Who the hell goes on a sewing blog and complains about that? She should be looking at the pretty dresses FFS (but it is pretty and I wish I had the guts to do it..I just have one in the side of my nose instead πŸ˜€ )

  41. Amanda April 5, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Your dress is so beautiful!

  42. Lavender April 6, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Ooh, love the tip for hooks/eyes. Brillz! And the dress, of course.

  43. wearinghistory April 6, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    This is SO cute!! I love the fabric,and thanks so much for sharing the lovely little detail shots πŸ™‚

  44. Tilly April 8, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Gorgeous, lady! Shirtwaist dresses are so awesome, I really must make one. Love the little rockabilly collar and cuffs. And the caterpillar πŸ™‚

  45. frk.bustad April 13, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    Great dress! The pattern is perfect, with the pointed cuffs and pleats. And the fabric kinda just works with this pattern! Good fit also.

  46. LizJane April 19, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    Hello??? I don’t think you are capable of sewing anything I DON’T like!!! Gorgeous. Your Pastille tipped me over the edge to buy the Colette book.

  47. zilredloh April 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I love this dress! The print is great, I have no idea what Landon is talking about. The pointed cuffs are the bomb.

  48. Nightowl_72 April 30, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Another fantastic, beautiful dress. I’m scared of patterned fabrics but you’ve shown me AGAIN how brilliantly they can turn out. Thank you for the inspiration.

  49. Ashley May 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    I heart this dress, so cute and not tacky at all!

  50. Dee Ann Guzman March 11, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    I like the dress, but think that in shortening it as much as you did, you lost a lot of the character of the pattern. However, I think down to the ankles would have been to long. It should be midcalf, IMHO.


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