WWI Shirtwaist Dress

WWI Shirtwaist Dress

The Great War brought austerity, simplicity, and practicality to fashion.  A simple shirtwaist dress like this could be worn as a workdress or uniform.  Many women’s uniforms were made at home from widely available patterns.  Variations in material, decoration, and fastenings were seen.  These pictures are my friend Bethany wearing the dress at the Centennial kickoff event- a bit big on her but we see ladies during the war wearing both fitted and large uniforms.  This one fits a little closer than the work smock pictured on the doughnut girl because an original nurse’s uniform was used as the pattern.  Being in a time period with machine stitching and top stitching made this a quick dress to make.

donut-girlwwi-donut-girl

Historical Sew Monthly

WWI Shirtwaist Dress

The Challenge: Firsts & Lasts This was my first shirtwaist dress, copied from original nurse’s uniform but modified to match work smocks in tan with full front buttons.

January 2017

Fabric: Cotton/Linen light twill weave

Pattern: Copied from original WWI Nurse uniform

Year: 1917

Notions: cotton thread, metal buttons

How historically accurate is it? 100% given accurate materials, machine sewn with short stitch length and hand top stitched and finished

Hours to complete: 30 hours Total

First worn: January 31st, 2016

Total: ~$10 fabric remnant, notions from stash

Historical inspiration images…

1910s-uniforms

1910s-uniforms

red-cross-unifrom closest to the original I copied for this pattern

red-cross-unifrom closest to the original I copied for this pattern

sa-in-france-during-the-war-1917 Notice work smock buttons all the way down the front

sa-in-france-during-the-war-1917
Notice work smock buttons all the way down the front

a-woman-in-the-salvation-army-holds-up-a-mold-for-cutting-donuts

a-woman-in-the-salvation-army-holds-up-a-mold-for-cutting-donuts

WWI Uniform dress- notice officer has jacket but the rest are shirtwaist dresses.- these are probably wool serge.

WWI Uniform dress- notice officer has jacket but the rest are shirtwaist dresses.- these are probably wool serge.

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