1940s · Simplicity Patterns · Tops and Blouses

Completed: 1940s Shirt Simplicity 1554

Here it is, my third and final plaid WIP of the summer, done! The first WIP was my gingham 50s bathing suit and the second was James’ Negroni. This shirt was from my HSFN 2014 list of 1940s patterns I was aiming to sew up. I’m extremely pleased with it, I think it looks very Nancy Drew indeed.

I started this before leaving for Chicago. I was hoping to get it done as a second Sew For Victory project, but I’m glad I didn’t rush it. I used Lauren’s visit to NYC as motivation to finish it, and I think I styled it in a way she would appreciate, Keds and all!
It features back darts, a camp collar, kimono sleeves with a deep armscye and shirred panels on the front shoulder line.
I have a somewhat funny anecdote about it, I always “christen” my garments shortly after completion. Not on purpose, but something always gets spilled on them because I’m clumsy. This time, however, it wasn’t me! I was in NYC, waiting to cross the street when a drop falls on my chest. Assuming it was beginning to rain, I reached up to brush at it, only it wasn’t rain, it was pigeon poop!

Simplicity 1554 (1945)
Size: 16, B34
Rating: 3/5
Fabric and Notions: 100% cotton lawn shirting from Mood Fabrics, 1 yard ($12/yd), thread from stash, #16 snaps from Snap Source ($1.75)
Needle Size: 10 ($.80), stitch length 2.5, tension was just over 2
Cost: $14.55
Time: 3 months
  • My pattern was missing the front facing so I copied the one from a similar shirt pattern. It wasn’t perfect but it did the job, I just had to shorten it by 1″.
  • 1/2 seam allowance was used on all seams, although the pattern called for 3/4″ on the side seams. Other than that I made no alterations to the pattern.
  • The shirring is done in a way I’d never seen before. You create the rows of shirring and then fit them to a panel applied to the back.
  • The directions for attaching the collar and facing are very strange. Rather than enclosing the whole raw neck seam in the collar, you clip it and half lies under the front facing and the rest gets tucked into the collar.
  • The buttonholes are marked 3/4″ from the front edge, but all my RTW shirts are 1/2″ so I used 1/2″ instead. This is why the plaid no longer matches up at the front.
  • I used Sunni’s button placement guide and it is WONDERFUL.
  • I wasn’t sure about my fabric and snaps combination, so I interfaced the front facings. The snaps still feel much too big and sturdy but if I unsnap them carefully I don’t think I will risk ripping the lightweight fabric.
  • The shirt is very short, even for my 5’3″ height. It generally stayed tucked in, but even with the tiny hem I gave it, I think that next time I would add some length.
  • I had just enough snaps, but I did one wrong and wrecked the snap. Fortunately, the “sample” that came with the pack was purple, so I just used it at the very bottom where it gets tucked in anyways.
Pro Tip: Buy a proper snap die setter and have a nice therapeutic hammering session, don’t even bother with the cheap plier-type-setter you get at chain craft store.

7 thoughts on “Completed: 1940s Shirt Simplicity 1554

  1. The pigeon poop made me laugh, too! I've had that happen and it's gross!

    I love this new shirt and the skirt is fab, too. The colours are really flattering on you, my dear 🙂


  2. Hahaha. EWWW. Pigeon poo. The blouse is adorable. And, I love the way you styled it! Also, Liz and I are making a day trip to NYC on October 4. Not sure how much of a hike it is for you, but We're planning to have a fabric shopping adventure in the garment district.


  3. Ick Pigeon Poop?! In Chicago I don't even think I've ever been pooped on by a Pigeon. *Knocks on wood* Hope I don't get bombed on my day trip to NYC.

    Will you be able to come and meet up with us?! Would love to visit with you again.


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