How To… Draft a Shirt Waist (a vintage guide)

Hi, guys!  I have something fun to share with you today (if “fun” for you means learning about old-timey pattern-drafting techniques… and I think it might…)!  I mentioned a while ago that Man Friend’s great-great-aunt Cecilia was a seamstress who trained in Chicago in the early 20th century, and my mother-in-law passed along some of her notions to me.  In the collection, I found this little manual with instructions for drafting shirtwaists.  I thought I’d scan it in case anyone was interested!

I love the illustrations of the ladies in fine dresses measuring each other.  I ALWAYS wear my fanciest dresses at home when I sew.

Also, a 27″ waist with a 39″ bust?!  Holy cow!  Work it, girl!  (Also– I really like that she wrote down 25″ originally as her waist measurement, then crossed it out and wrote 27″… too many holiday treats?  Finally able to face the facts and report measurements honestly?)

I found this little guide pretty interesting.  I had never really thought about the fact that women drafted their own patterns to sew from– I guess I’ve always thought of pattern drafting as a more recent technique.  I did a little online research, but I couldn’t find any information about Miss A.V. Laird or her drafting system.  Anyone know anything about seamstress training at the turn of the century?

Hope your weeks are going swimmingly!  I have the day off tomorrow, so I’m planning to dig into the Burda dress fitting a bit more and see if I can’t come up with a solution for the weird fit.  What are you up to?  Any fun projects?

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