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This is a fun, easy-to-wear shirt dress pattern design for girls ages two to 16. My introduction to this classic shirt dress style was when I donned my first uniform in the 1970s as a “Brownie” in the Girl Scouts. I still remember that nut-brown dress with buttons marching down the front and its matching belt—and how special I felt wearing it. It was modeled on the 1940s shirt dress that emerged during WWII as a practical, utilitarian garment without frills that used less fabric but still had a distinctively feminine shape to it. As the style morphed over the coming decade, it became one of the most recognizable icons of fashion history, worn by everyone from glamorous Grace Kelly to thrifty TV housewife Donna Reed. The New Look ushered in fuller skirts and feminine frills, and, while the more angular look of the 1960s pushed it out of the limelight for a while, it was still a wardrobe staple on into the 1970s and right up to the present. My favorite versions, by far, come from the decade of the 1950s and have inspired this pattern with its fuller skirt.

  • All sizes from 2-16 included in one envelope (note that this overlaps ladies’ sizes 6-12, so if you are petite, there is no need to wait around for the ladies’ version to hit the presses!)
  • Illustrated instructions make construction easy!
  • Bonus instructions in the appendix for creating a full-skirted crinoline petticoat.
  • Download the yardage chart for this pattern.
  • ePattern available for instant download.
  • This pattern is rated experienced beginner, as a new seamstress will have little trouble putting it together (no zipper!).


7 comments on “Girls’ Classic 1950s Shirt Dress Pattern”

  1. Hi! Is the epattern something I can download and print out, or is it supplemental? I’ve been searching for hours for the perfect dress, and this one looks do-able and not too frilly! Your site is awesome, and your family is beautiful!

    • Hi, Laura! You download it and print it out at home. There’s an instruction booklet included that explains how to use Adobe Reader to “poster print” into tiles that you piece together. I hope this helps, and thanks for the kind comments!

  2. Hi! Is there any way I can make this dress for women’s sizes? I am a size 4 US and have been looking for a pattern just like this for myself! help! 🙂

    • Hi, Amal! Are you a 4 off-the-rack or a 4 in pattern sizes (there’s a difference!). Check the yardage chart for this pattern against your bust and waist measurements (link in the bulleted list above). I’m betting you can make one of the teen girls’ sizes for yourself (I shared photos on Instagram and Facebook of a customer who made mother-daughter dresses for her girls and herself). The ladies’ pattern is set for publication in April 2017 if all goes according to plan, but this version fits petite ladies just fine. 🙂

      • I am so glad you will be coming out with a ladies version. I see so many vintage patterns, but I know I’ll get the right fit with yours.

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