Call the Midwife Shirtwaister

I really love the clothes of Call the Midwife. I mean, not just the amazing full skirts that Trixie and the other nurses wear, but also the shirtwaister dresses that button down.


So, rather than try and find a pattern, I figured I would try and make a pattern for myself. I bought the fabric at the same time as my yellow jersey. It was 45″ wide, 1.5m long and required 10 buttons. Here are my sketches and initial plans for the shapes of each piece. I mostly ended up blocking out rectangles and tracing the shape  of the yoke from a shirt of my own and then pinning darts into the right shape.


The back was one piece, with two darts. The front was two pieces, with bust and waist darts.

I doubled over the front seam to an inch wide and sewed parallel rows as markers for the button width.

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The skirt was the width of the fabric halved. I did the same double seam on each side seam after double hemming the bottom. I like using rectangles for skirts because it makes it easier to hem, no curved edges! I had to shorten the skirt from the top because it was far too long, and looked a bit too period accurate!

I created a V-neck and used shop bought bias binding for the neckline and the sleeves. Accidentally didn’t buy enough, there was about an inch and a half on on of the sleeves when I ran out. However, I didn’t want to have to all the way to town and buy another half a meter for an inch and a half, so I just folded it over as if the bias was still there.


The last time I used the button option on my machine was before last christmas when I made a purple shirt for my friend. So, I had a funny old time on some scraps of fabric, trying to work out which tensions and options to use again before I went anywhere near my dress. But, while they aren’t absolutely flawless, the button holes didn’t turn out too bad!

I was sewing buttons on very late at night, in preparation for a trip to London to see Wicked with my sister the next day. After a day driving, walking and sitting on various transports, I can honestly say this is a very comfortable dress, but I think I need to add a popper or something at the very top of the front, to ensure the two sides stay together at all times.

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I have some stripy fabric from a double duvet that I want to do a similar outfit with, including the practice with the buttons!



3 thoughts on “Call the Midwife Shirtwaister

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