Tuesday, September 9, 2014

DRESS-OF-THE-DAY 9: Nurse Uniform (via Call The Midwife)

In celebration of NATIONAL SEWING MONTH (here in the United States), I've decided to do an intensive blog series (well, intensive for me who obviously does not always make the time to blog), featuring a dress (or two, or a style) each day, not previously presented on this blog. Some will be my own creations, whether I used patterns or designed them myself. Others will be pieces I admire. Either will include an analysis and maybe some sources, history and tips. (At least, that's the goal.) I also have some guest bloggers scheduled (exciting!)

And now on to the Dress of the Day!

If there's one thing the BBC does extremely well (I would argue there are many), it's period dramas. Call The Midwife is a program I stumbled upon on Netflix and wait with eager anticipation for each new series to be posted (Currently, they still haven't gotten series 3, but lucky I found it at the library -libraries rock!). At any rate, the show takes place in the East End in the 1950s, and not only has very poignant stories about life in general, the specific sort of lives lived in the impoverished regions of London during this time, but is also fun for its costuming. From the sister's habits to the nurses' uniforms to the poor housewives and more stylish women, the costuming adds a very visual layer to establishing the setting of this piece.

So, about the Midwives' Uniform. It's style/cut is the classic nurse's uniform that comes to mind. It's basically a shirt-dress, with that fun little belted waist feature, which is reminiscent of its military origins in WWII. Only, the Nonnatus House midwives wear a blue version with white peter pan collar. And don't forget the red cardigan and white apron (for when jobs get messy). 

Here is a nifty little article about the Evolution of Nurse Uniforms in Call the Midwife, which discusses the uniforms in the series and a brief overview of the Nurse Uniform through history. I disagree, however with their assessment of the Nonnatus House uniforms as 'awkward and dowdy'.

For a bit more of history, here's an article about the woman whose life's work was inspiration for the series.

Okay, onto the How To...

The  Classic Nurse Uniform is basically just a shirt dress. So, any shirt dress pattern could easily be adapted. They do tend to have slimmer skirts (likely due to the influence of WWII rationing) than in the contemporary shirt-dress patterns I could find. The other option is to find a shirt/blouse pattern with appropriate characteristics and lengthen it. The best match I think for the Nonnatus House midwife uniform (out of readily available contemporary patterns) would be Butterick 6097, with peter pan collar and separate bodice and peplum which could easily be extended into a skirt length. Just swap the sleeves out for short ones and add a belt/tab at the waist and pockets.
Whilst searching for some pattern for classic nursing uniforms, I came across this forum that I had to share, with its layout for lolita pattern drafts, including a nurse one.

Links HERE and HERE
And now that you've successfully navigated this blog entry, here's a reminder about the Steampunk Apron/Bustle Mini-Sweepstakes (details here).

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving this series of yours. I like when shows take the trouble to do costumes right. They add verisimilitude.