Edwardian Shirtwaist with Ruffles & Front Closure | Folkwear 205 Gibson Girl Blouse

I needed a "quick win" type project in the middle of some more challenging makes, and decided that an Edwardian shirtwaist with pintucks, bias details, and lots of pattern modifications would be relaxing. It was a challenge, but indeed relaxing!

I was inspired to copy the blouse in this photo of a young woman from Almeirim, Portugal. This photo is from the Arquivos do Povo em Portugal Facebook page, a crowdsourced digital archive of Portuguese music, clothing, and traditions. It's especially fun to see the intersection of clothing trends from English-speaking nations and national folk costume. 

For my shirtwaist, I used about 2 yards of a vintage cotton plaid fabric I found in my partner's parents' basement. It still had the tag from JC Penney on it! I had to navigate around some fading/stains, but still have enough fabric left over for a serviceable apron. It's a delightfully lightweight and crisp fabric, with an even repeat that made the details really easy to work on.

I started with my tried-and-true Folkwear 205 Gibson Girl Blouse pattern, and modified it to have a center front closure, longer cuffs, and pintucks at the shoulder line extending into the front without a yoke. I combined the front and side front pieces, eliminated the back yoke, and omitted the sleeve cuff opening/overlap.

I also drafted the bias ruffles, with the inner ruffle a few inches shorter than the outer ruffle. 

The bodice front left piece had an extra 4cm that was folded over to form that placket. 

There are 8 pintucks on each bodice front, and the pintucks face towards the sleeves. The pintucks are 1" apart from each other, but in hindsight, I should have made these closer together to urge the fullness toward the center front.

The blouse is assembled with french seams, except for the armscyes. I may finish those with bias binding at a later time.

What makes this blouse/shirtwaist stand out, in my opinion, are the details.

The buttons on the front placket are decorative, since I didn't see any buttonholes or shadows on the placket of the inspiration photo. The placket fastens with snaps. the collar is attached to half of the neckline, and wraps around the other half of the neckline, which is finished with bias binding. This was a common method used in 1890s-early 1900s bodices that gave a somewhat seamless appearance to the front of the bodice. 

The above screenshot is from Dressmaking Up to Date by Butterick, 1905.

I would date this style of shirtwaist to 1907-1909, and suspect the style existed for longer in rural areas. Below is a very similar shirtwaist from the October 1908 Woman's Home Companion magazine.

I also hemmed the bias ruffles by hand, and caught the outer ruffle into the bottom edge of the collar (even though it didn't appear to be attached in the inspiration image). Super proud of my teeny mitered corners!

I think overall, the blouse has too much fullness - in the sleeve, body, ruffles - compared to the inspiration image. I think it's fine, it will work well for both an Edwardian picnic or Portuguese folk outfit. If I were to make this again, I'd add the back yoke back in - I think it would help the blouse wear longer and strengthen that back neck area. 

Here's a quick video about the shirtwaist, enjoy!

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