Second Chances Shirtwaist Dress







This is the shirtwaist dress project, round two. I actually started this project before Christmas, with the aim of replacing a shirtdress I already had that I liked the idea of, but didn’t really love. I’m a big fan of shirtdresses but good ones are hard to find – the one I had was made in a thin, flimsy cotton that was usually a wrinkled mess before I even left the house, and the skirt was much shorter than I preferred, so I have been thinking about making a new one for a while. After a disastrous attempt at Simplicity’s 3039 (from 1959) (don’t ask!), I decided the easiest thing would be to make my own pattern for it, so this dress is partly based on an old dress I had (the shirt part) with a full, knife-pleated skirt.

I really like the pattern and think this has the potential to be the shirtdress, but the fabric is still not quite perfect. The weight and drape is right, but it’s still a little too wrinkle-prone and dust-attracting. So the project continues, when I find the right fabric I will make up a version #3!

Category: sewing

8 Responses

  1. Tori Sellon says:

    I could see this looking really nice in a raw silk, or poly shantung (sp) fabric. Have you posted the pattern? I would love to make this. I’m a new nursing mother and looking for cute dresses with buttons down the front.

  2. tippi+ella says:

    That sounds like good suggestions! I find that picking out the right type of fabric is one of the most difficult aspects of sewing for me, especially since good fabric stores are hard to find where I live. I really need to familiarize myself with more fabric names and types so that I can order things online!

    I made the pattern for this myself and would gladly share it if I only knew how. ;) My suggestion if you want to make something similar is to try to make a pattern from a shirt you have that fits you well (even better if you have an old one that is worn out that you can pick apart and just copy). If you want a full skirt, mine is is basically just two rectangles, approximately 140cm each, with 1″ pleats. :)

    If you want to use a commercial pattern, I do like the look of Simplicity 3039. That’s the pattern I first decided on, after seeing a beautiful version on Burdastyle (here: As mentioned, mine didn’t work out, but I think it was mainly due to using the wrong type of fabric (a viscose that was much too soft and slippery).

  3. Laura says:

    What a lovely dress! If it’s cotton – cotton tends to wrinkle A LOT! For my skirts I like to use cotton+poly blends, they are much more wrinkle resistant. Good luck with the third one! :)

    • tippi+ella says:

      Thank you! :)
      Yes, cotton does tend to wrinkle a lot! Someone on the Burdastyle forum recommended looking into cotton sateen, I’m not sure if that will be too shiny but it might be a good option, otherwise a cotton/poly blend sounds like a good idea. ;)

      • Laura says:

        Cotton sateen is not even shiny if you compare it to satin. It does have a slight sheen, but I wouldn’t call it shiny at all. Mine even has a bit of stretch which is especially welcome for fitted garments. :)

        • tippi+ella says:

          Ahh, well see how much I know about fabrics and their names! I will certainly be looking into cotton sateen, thanks for the advice! :)

  4. Neeno says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Such a classic look, I adore it. You photos are amazing, you have a nice backdrop :) Please sew some more cos I am loving your style :)

    • tippi+ella says:

      Aww, thanks! I really enjoyed discovering your blog today and am looking forward to seeing more of what you make too! :)

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