Seems as if I can't do anything without involving research...
Finding a Model
Because I'd like the option to dress up the shirtwaist with a "gathered blouse front", in the form of an add-on wide plastron, making a shirt front that's already rounded seemed to be the way to go.
Also, I wanted to wear something rather softer than the trim, masculine, sporting look or the officey look popular then. Here's a perfect example: man's turn-down collar, obvious buttons in front.
|FIT shirtwaist, circa 1894. From Adasha Moore, Pinterest.|
Eek, an Office Blouse!
I remember wearing blouses a bit like that tidy example above, with some nausea, from late 1980s-early 1990s daily to the office. Ugh! Those blouses. Either a bit of tight stand collar or a man's turn-down collar. Button-front sometimes, often a frill to each side or pleats, or buttoning in the back, which was a royal pain to get into. Tight sleeves, with earlier a wee puff at the top and later shoulder pads. Often partly dead-dino in fiber, or all cotton and needing careful ironing. Long sleeves, tight cuffs.
You tried to tuck the blouse carefully into your hose*, which would hold the blouse in place better than the waistband of your skirt would. If you reached for something on a shelf, or down into a file drawer, ten to one your blouse would untuck, and you'd have to quick-like-a-bunny tuck it in again before anyone noticed how blowsy you looked. By the end of the day the blouse bottom would be all creased and sometimes dirtied from hands which had been handling paper with carbon that came off, or pencil that rubbed off, or ink that...you get the idea.
*In New York hose were called stockings, and in Atlanta, stockings were called hose. As a child in Germany, I wore "Strumpfhosen": woolen red or navy hose, with braided patterns. They were cute.
Here's a sample style from about 1989. Oh boy. The models are even looking at an office folder just so you know it's office wear, and the lady on the right has her office jacket over her shoulder.
|Londas Elegant Creations - Basic Heirloom Options Blouse - #8902 - |
Vintage - circa 1989. On Etsy.
**Suits in various dead dino fabrics didn't breathe and tended to pill. I flat hated wearing those mobile saunas.
Here's a photo from the early 1990s, right before I abandoned blouses for cotton turtlenecks, another style phase. The tight blouse -- gee, I think it's a blouse -- is barely visible under the padded jacket. Do I remember feeling the collar every time I swallowed.
|My sister and I, big hair, big earrings,|
hose and all...
It must be the sleeves. It's 2019, after all, and sleeves have been a fashion focus for a year or two, and it's the year the 1830s became really fashionable in costuming, and the folks in New Zealand, Miss Temby and The Dreamstress among them, are making their turn-of-the-century fashions.
Back to Finding a Model
Where were we -- yes, looking for a better mousetrap of a shirtwaist design.
The young lady in the lower left corner of this selection of ready-to-wear shirtwaists struck me as wearing a specially nice one, at once simple and decorative.
|Jordan, Marsh and Cmpany shirtwaists. From "Gibson Girl Era Clothing | 1890s-1900s Fashion"|
The Met has a handsome example, part of an office suit. The only thing I am not fond of is the loose waist. Gathering all of that loose fabric in neatly, and keeping it tucked would have been a problem then, as it was for me just decades ago.
|Blouse from suit, 1892, Metropolitan Museum of Art; C.I.53.72.9a–c.|
Some examples use pleating at bottom front to confine the extra fabric. Here's one, from All the Pretty Dresses. This one has a tight lining, as some shirtwaists did, blurring the line between traditional bodice and blouse. Notice how the bottom is finished, in front and in back. Just stitching, no applied band to cover the stitching.
|Example of mid-1890s lined bodice, from "So cool! Same fabric, different shaped bodices from the 1890's", in All the Pretty Dresses, 02/28/2012.|
|Back of same garment.|
Aha: A Model With a Pattern
Also epic, another shirtwaist example, from my new favorite 1890s fashion magazine, the Illustrierte Frauenzeitung, published by Bruckmann in Berlin and Vienna. The neckline is smocked.
|Illustrierte Frauenzeitung 1894, Heft 14, p.159 Bluse|
Note that the front piece at the side is fitted to the waist, hence the acute angle. Both front and back would be gathered/pleated -- that's why they are so wide. The sleeve piece, marked "b" will make a very wide sleeve, but one without much of a pouf at the top.
|Illustrierte Frauenzeitung 1894, Heft 14, p.159 Bluse|
The text in German:
Eingereihte Bluse. -- Schnitt-Methode: Abbildung 19. Stoff: 4,50 meter, 52 cm breit. -- The jugendlichste, besonders fuer schlanke Gestalten kleidsamste Blusenform bleibt immer die eingereihte, aus nur einem Oberstoff-Theile bestehende Form, wie sie der 12 cm Breite schliest den Halsauschnitt, ein 20 cm breiter Guertelstreifen den Taillenschluss ab. b von Abbildung 19 lehrt das Zuschneiden des reichgerafften halblangen Aermels, der leichtes, enges Futter verlangt. Der obere Rand wird eingereiht, der untere, Stern auf Stern treffend, zusammengenommen und der Zipfel Doppelpunkt aus Doppelpunkt in de Hoehe geschoben. Einzelne Stiche unterstuetzen hin und wieder die graziose Raffung. Fig. 3 des dieser Nummer beiliegenden Moden-Panoramas zeigt die Ruckansicht der Bluse. Schleifenschmuck.
Lined blouse. -- Cutting method: Figure 19. Fabric: 4.50 meters, 52 cm wide. -- The most youthful dressy blouse shape, especially for slender builds, remains always the lined blouse, consisting of only one fashion fabric piece, as the 12 cm width completes the neckline, a 20 cm wide belt band completes the waist closure. [Drawing] "b" in Figure 19 shows the cutting of the plentifully gathered elbow-length sleeves, which require a lightweight, tight lining. The upper edge is to be lined up, on the lower [edge], draw up star to star [marking] together, and push up the colon marking to colon marking. A few stitches here and there support the graceful gathering [of the sleeves]. Figure 3 in this issue's enclosed fashion panorama [color plate] shows the blouse's back view. Trimmed with bows.
A run of Illustrierte Frauenzetung issues starting with 1885 is available on the Duesseldorf Digitale Sammlungen (digital collections) site. The magazine is fantastic. Garments and accessories are illustrated in gorgeous detail and frequently the same garment will be illustrated from several angles, and sometimes shown in the issue's color plate. Garments are carefully described and often include fabric needed and fairly specific instructions to make them. Most issues also include a small-scale pattern or two for garments illustrated. The patterns are quite detailed and if you have used patterns from a garment-cutting book, you will be familiar with the format. The magazine was nifty in that it included both fashion issues and Unterhaltungsblaetter -- entertainment issues, the latter with stories and so on.
Now I have models to help, I can tweak that shirtwaist.
Ciao until next time!