1914 Waists (Blouses)

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, March 24, 1914:  Finished my waist today. Got a birthday present. It came a couple of days behind time, but really doesn’t make much difference.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1914)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

We now know that Grandma was making a waist when she wrote the previous day:

Got a streak of sewing today. . .

Waists is an old-fashioned term for tailored blouses or shirts. They were also called shirtwaists.



10 Responses

  1. I wonder why the late Birthday present didn’t make much of a difference? Did the Birthday not mean much, or was it a gift that she really didn’t like or want?

  2. My comment was going to be similar to the previous reader’s thoughts….

  3. Those blouses are beautiful. I can’t imagine being able to sew that well.

  4. I love seeing the vintage clothing!!!

  5. I thought she meant it didn’t make much difference that it was late! I need to set up my sewing machine and do some sewing. I remember when I was growing up wearing shirtwaist dresses but none so glamorous as those! I love how billowy they are. If they were hip length, they would be perfect for my billowy figure these days. I guess these were inbetween corsets and bras.

    • I read somewhere that longer shirts are the latest style this spring. I agree that it’s a style that is flattering for those of us who are no longer young.

  6. I’m with you guys. I think the lateness didn’t matter. See how important grammar can be.

  7. I sense a bit of excitement in Helena’s nonchalant diary entry.

  8. I love the old blouse (waist) photos you found Sheryl! I think that Helena meant she didn’t mind the gift being late too.

  9. Your Grandma must have been a very accomplished seamstress, these ‘Shirt Waists’ are very pretty and detailed. Did she have a sewing machine?

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