Days of Wine and Roses – Gertie’s shirtwaist

The Christmas before last (2011), those fabric enablers known around here as Mum and Dad gifted me 3 metres of this beautiful print:

Roses fabric

Look familiar? You may well have seen it already fulfilling its Summer dress destiny on the blogs of Karen and Lizzy amongst others.

For me 2012 was not so much about sewing as about gearing myself up to sew and precious fabrics like this one were much fondled and sighed over, but never actually cut into for fear of either cocking it up or deciding halfway through that I wanted to make something else instead.

Christmas 2012 came around and this time I received Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. In between the cooking and the snoozing and the game playing and the movie watching and the relative visiting that is Christmas I poured over that book, drooling over each and every featured garment.

Now, given that the shirtwaist pattern in the book is made up in a beautiful rose covered Liberty tana lawn it did not take a great leap of imagination for me to believe that I may have found the right pattern for my treasured fabric. Up until then it had been an unrealised button up maxi skirt, but now it was an unrealised shirtwaist dress. And so it remained for a month or so more.

But eventually the plaintive cries from my fabric stash grew too loud for me to ignore and I had to help this fabric become what it wanted to be.

Gertie Shirtwaister 3 Gertie Shirtwaister 1 Gertie Shirtwaister 4

It has taken another few months for me to actually wear the poor thing, so when I finally decided to put it on I grabbed JB and once again dragged him into the garden to snap some pics.

This dress presented me with many new challenges. It was the first time I: made a collar, used sleeve bands, made bound buttonholes, used shirring… Fortunately Gertie’s instructions and tutorials are very clear and easy to follow, so I did not encounter any problems.

Gertie Shirtwaister 8 Gertie Shirtwaister 10 Gertie Shirtwaister 12

Now, this puppy ain’t perfect, but I love her.

  • Despite making a bedsheet muslin which clearly illustrated I needed to take an inch or so our above the waist shirring at the back I chose to ignore that, so I sometimes get a bit of blousing above my derriere if I don’t regularly pull it down.
  • My bound buttonholes are not exactly flawless:

Shirtwaister bound buttonhole

  • And the eagle eyed among you might have spotted that I put my buttonholes on the wrong side, so it buttons left over right, like a man’s shirt.

But these are all faults which I can live with. The won’t be noticed by others unless I point them out and they are all a part of me learning the craft.

I feel surprisingly comfortable in this dress – I worried that I might be a bit self-conscious   to be so chintzy, but I took it out to lunch, into town and to the supermarket and nobody seemed offended by it running up to them and shouting ROSES in their face.

This is another pattern I plan to make again. I have a plain green cotton sateen that has been muttering under its breath for some time now that it would like to be a shirtwaist, so one day I will get around to realising its dream.

In the meantime, though, here’s a final couple of pics of Tigga accessorised by overly floral female human.

Gertie Shirtwaister 16 Gertie Shirtwaister 17

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3 Responses to Days of Wine and Roses – Gertie’s shirtwaist

  1. sewbusylizzy says:

    Oh I love this fabric. I just wish I’d purchased the entire bolt!

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