In Vintage Inspiration

Sew Inspired: Vintage Western Wear

I just got a new pattern in the mail (the 1940s Rodeo Gal), so this week I’m gathering inspiration to recreate a vintage inspired western shirt. I’m drawn to the contrasting fabrics and yoke details, as well as the saddle stitching and pearl snaps. There’s a wide range of western styles to draw inspiration from including the more elaborate, rodeo-ready looks all the way down to the plain ol’ cotton chambray shirt varieties.






I’m conflicted because I love the look of the bold contrasting colors and prints with the piping and yoke embroidery, but I also really love the look of a classic, plain chambray western shirt too. Well I think the only logical thing to do is make multiple versions of western shirts in both the festive rodeo prints as well as the plain fabrics. Am I right? I mean, a girl can’t possibly have just one western shirt! Especially when you live in a sleepy country town like I do 😉

Have you ever sewn a western inspired shirt before? I wanna know all about it!


  • Ashley P

    I have sewn a western dress before! From an early 60s pattern. A blue-grey cotton, with coordinating tiny-floral-print piping on the yoke, collar, and cuffs!!

    And then a couple weeks ago I used a wonderfully adaptable 90s pattern and made a western-ish rockabilly-inspired red bandana print blouse with black rickrack on the collar, that ties at the waist. The short-blouse-with-waist-ties was a bit of a mistake though, because at just two months after giving birth to my son, I am in no shape to show even minor glimpses of my belly. Maybe next summer, right? It actually makes me happy enough to see that glorious bandana print in my closet.

    I am obsessed with 1950s kid cowgirl costumes too, and have collected patterns for my daughter (currently two years old). Hopefully she’ll be OK with it. Haha!

    I’m looking forward to seeing where you go with this. You’re so good at what you do!

  • Please please please make one with fringing on it? you would look amazing and it would be totally awesome!
    I so enjoy these posts with all the research on them, I love all the tiny details and how you can get so much out of the images. So much fun.

  • Oh yes, I wear and love my western shirts!!! I have found all of mine at thrift shops. Some have needed modifications, but some are great as is. I do have one that I have worked on several times and never could get to fit right though.

    I am super excited to see the many new western shirts you come up with. :o)

  • jane

    More the merrier I think! I really like the one in the black and white photo with the contrast yoke and contrast top of the pockets, nice details. Can’t wait to see what you sew.

  • Victoria

    I love vintage western wear! When I first started sewing I mostly made western shirts, on of which I embroidered the yokes to be like my wrist tattoo with stars and rockets on it. The top stitching was so crooked thought that I got rid of it. I’m looking forward to hearing about how the pattern works out for you because I would like to make some more western shirts.

  • zilredloh

    This is just so you! 😀 Can’t see your made up version with some prints and contrast piping.

  • I definitely think that you should make several different versions! For sure! 😉

  • misscrayolacreepy

    I have never made a western shirt before, but your posts are making me reconsider it!!!

  • That would be my first choice for a solution, too. I have a total inner cow/farm girl, though not living on or near a pastoral setting myself, she usually only gets to come out when there’s a rodeo to attend or I’m headed to the prairie provinces. She’s always at the ready though and flipped for these great vintage western wear images.

    ♥ Jessica

  • knitbunnie

    I made one of my dear grandsons a western shirt in a teddy bear cowboy , flannel fabric, and used red pearl snaps on it. He looks so darned cute in it. I buy a lot of vintage patterns to sew for my grands, and I also use patterns that I sewed for my kids, and even patterns that my mother used for my sister and me. Plus, I buy on Etsy, Ebay, and a few online shops.

    I don’t know if you have a good place to get those pearl snaps, but Snap Source has a lot of colors of them, and the snaps have longer prongs than most, so they stay put once you apply them. The little gizmo to set the snaps is only a few bucks, and it works great. I get them online and have nothing at all to do with the company other than being a loyal customer.

  • smorean

    Yes! The reason I started sewing garments (instead of quilts) was because my husband really wanted a cool Western shirt. Ones at the store were so expensive, and never exactly what he wanted, so I bought a pattern, adapted it for him, and we’ve collaborated on a few shirts together. He picks the cowl fabric and I help through details like piping or matching it to main body fabric. Sometimes he cuts fabric, and I do all the sewing. It’s a fun way to display cool prints on quilting fabric that wouldn’t otherwise make it into a garment. Tips on adding piping, examples:

    Have fun with it!! Make one cool Western shirt, receive compliments on it from strangers FOR LIKE EVER. People are really dazzled by one-of-a-kind Western shirts.

  • I completely agree with you! And now I can’t wait to see what you come up with and to make my own one day.
    I also love that you included the kids versions with Dale Evans. My 6 year old is a big Roy Rogers and Dale Evans fan and someday I want to make her a western outfit like those.