1960s Lutterloh

I have made a prototype of a 1960s Lutterloh shirt dress, testing the pattern for another make with some special fabric.


This is clearly not 1960s fabric but some Japanese Tana lawn that I bought at Spotlight a couple of years ago, and which I used for this blouse. In the ’60s I’m sure we called these dresses “shirtwaisters”, but it’s such a dowdy term that I’m happy to update it to shirtdress. I made the one on the right.


I made a simple leather tie belt to go with it, from pieces of leather donated to my stash by my friend Thelma. This is such an easy design that I might make more, but the leather needs to be quite thin.


The dress itself is a gentle A-line dress, with buttons to the waist and a Peter Pan collar. I added pockets. I had a bit of a drafting malfunction and somehow the front shoulders finished up being wider than the back. Instead of redrafting the pattern, I simply added tucks to the front shoulders. I don’t think I like it and I have since retraced the pattern. I also had to do a Low Bust Adjustment on the pattern, but didn’t bother on my prototype.. What is it with these vintage patterns? Every single one has to be adjusted. I am sure that I am not particularly malformed, but truly, the darts are always at least a couple of centimetres too high and they were 5cm too high on this dress! The tucks and misplaced darts might be the reason that the front of the dress is a touch baggy.


In a nutshell: Pattern is a Lutterloh shirt dress from the 1960s made from Japanese tana lawn from Spotlight. Buttons came from an op-shop in New Zealand. Belt is hand made by me.


21 thoughts on “1960s Lutterloh

  1. You are right about the name shirtwaister. I once had a 75 year old neighbour who had been a true home hostess back in the 50s to her director husband’s business clients. She always wore a shirtwaister dress and low heel court shoes (you should never wear slippers dear, they are bad for your feet!) for housework, gardening etc. and told me that had been a housewife’s uniform back in the day. Sadly, we have now lost touch somewhat, but as she approaches her 98 birthday in a care home, what’s the betting she is still wearing her “uniform”! Thanks for evoking some lovely memories with your dress! 🙂

    1. Thank you! It was interesting that my fingers just typed “shirtwaist” and I had to examine why. They were considered quite elegant back in the day!

  2. Right, Sue, vintage patterns require so many adjustments! I think women bodies have changed from these day, or at least our underwear did. These pointy bras certainly put their boobs higher than natural. Anyway, you did great with adjustments on this pattern and the fabric is gorgeous. Nice match!

    1. I love the 18″ waists we all had in the ’50s, and the patterns kind of go to a point in the middle. It’s why I want to make them all the time – never mind the pointy boobs, I want a pointy waist!!

  3. It’s like Helene said, we don’t wear bullet bras anymore. 🙂 Or girdles, corsets or….
    Fun dress! Hope you get the kinks worked out and it becomes a classic!
    I’m so jealous you get Japanese lawn at your local stores. From what I can tell Spotlight is like our Walmart and we never have nice fabric in ours.

    1. It’s so rare to get Japanese lawn in Spotlight, which is why I bought so much of it, which is why I shall have three garments all from the same, distinctive fabric!

  4. Oooh, I really like this! I’m always so drawn to shirtdresses, but would never wear one with a full skirt. I like this shape lots- it’s very wearable and looks so cute on you!

  5. I just found your blog. I sew almost exclusively with Lutterloh an love it! I have not sewn anythin g since I sold my hgouse in August, moved to a rental and embarked on building a new house. I live in La Paz Baja Californi Sur and also survived Hurricane Odile that devastated our region .
    I have promised myself to start sewing my summer wrdrobe on Monday.
    You are doing very well with Lutterlow, and I love the striped shiryt.

    1. Thanks Susan, I am getting more confident with Lutterloh, and have a large list of things that I want to make. Good luck with getting back to your sewing!

  6. dear Fadanista, Just spoke to Markus Lutterloh about the sizes diffrences between the vintagepatterns and the recent patterns. The ladies used to be slimmer, either through hard labour or special underwear! Your feedback about their patterns would be more than welcome, since they are working on this problem. I

    1. Thank you Sitien, I haven’t made any of the modern Lutterloh patterns for a while as I love the vintage ones. I think that if they reissued the vintage patterns their market would go through the roof! I really appreciate your efforts on my behalf, though 🙂

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