As we’re in the midst of the “Shirts and Shirtmaking” theme for the #CurvyYearofSewing, it seemed apropos to share one of my latest shirts with you. I’ve been working on my fall/winter vintage casual wardrobe for some time and this shirt fits right into it. It’s still a bit warm where I live in California, but this short-sleeved shirt will be a great transitional and layering piece for me as we move into cooler weather.
Pattern Name: Decades of Style #4008 1940’s Rodeo Gal Shirt
Size Range: Bust sizes 30″-46″
What size did you make? Graded up to 1-2 sizes (The new Decades of Style patterns have an increased size range, but this pattern is an older one before the size increase)
What are your…..
Body Shape: Pear-ish/Spoon
Bra size: 44D
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
Aside from grading up, I did a full bicep adjustment, which I do for nearly every pattern with sleeves. I added some extra ease to the side seams and omitted the back darts. This is a fairly fitted shirt pattern and I wanted it to be roomier. I also lengthened the shirt, but ended up cutting down the length as I used vintage snaps and didn’t have enough for the longer altered length. None of these alterations took much time.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
This was a fairly simple shirt to construct. The western yokes do take a bit of time to complete, but the instructions are well written and easy to comprehend which helps ensure that you can complete the task. I added piping to the yokes which I think helps to make them easier to sew. I wasn’t sure how to finish the yoke seams, so I hand sewed rayon seam binding. I need to work a little on mitering the corners of my piping, which I actually did with the western shirt that I made after this one from a vintage pattern. Aside from the fancy bat wing yokes, the shirt construction is similar to other collared shirt patterns.
How did you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think that the design works well for your body shape
I like the fit after the alterations that I made. I didn’t want it too fitted as I like more ease. I think it looks good on me and achieves the mid-century western aesthetic that I was going for.
Will you make this pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
I’m sure that I’ll make this shirt again! I will probably add more embroidery and breast pockets. The original pattern from 1946 that this pattern is based on (which I have in my collection) has embroidery on the sleeves and long sleeve cuffs, plus the arrow slit welt pockets. I imagine that those are not included as those features look rather daunting and I’ve only seen one version of this shirt where it was embroidered, so perhaps most people would not embroider it, therefore Decades released a simpler version. After I made this shirt I sewed a western shirt with arrow pockets and although they were a formidable foe, once I figured it out, it will be easier to do next time and I’ll be adding them to a future Rodeo Gal shirt.
As far as alterations go, I will once again add ease and length and next time make sure I have enough snaps so I can keep the longer length. This shirt is made out of cotton chambray, which is a go-to fabric of mine for shirts. Next time I’d like to make one out of worsted wool, which is the traditional fabric for shirts like these.
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources or materials that helped you sew this piece up?
If you don’t like a fitted shirt, I recommend going up a size or two or simply omitting the darts and adding a little to the side seams. A quick search for other versions of this shirt will find Rodeo Gal shirts without embroidery. This pattern looks good with or without embroidery, so don’t think that you have to add it, nor does it need to have piping — those are optional features. However, you can always add machine embroidery in whichever design you like and I promise you that although hand embroidering a shirt might look daunting, it really isn’t. It just takes time and before you know it, you’re finished. I do most of my embroidering while watching TV or when riding in the car with my husband. 🙂
Pattern adjustment tutorials you might find useful:
Pattern Rating (1-5):
Size range: 4
Construction process: 5
Final fit: 5
Overall rating: 4.75
Overall, I just adore this shirt! It was my first foray into making fancier mid-century western shirts and I’m very pleased with the outcome. I look forward to making more with contrasting colors and patterns and of course — more embroidery!