Sunday, July 23, 2017

Shirtdress fever

Before I take a leisurely water tour, I want to blog a few sewing projects.

Although I am a fan of 'blogging without obligation' and not writing about every single thing I make, I want to show my favorite make from 2016.  I made this dress July 10-16, 2016 and spent even longer planning it.

I had already been thinking about my favorite shirtdresses in the past, including this rayon challis number that had become horribly pilled and was subsequently retired.

I purchased many vintage and current shirtdress patterns over the years, studied them, and then drew up a list of likes and dislikes.  When the McCall Pattern Company blog announced the Shirtdress Sew-Along, I got serious.

 I knew that I liked the oversized relaxed look of the top of Vogue 1873, but wasn't so fond of the bulkiness of the gathered rectangle skirt. (User error made the skirt much bulkier at the waist than it should have been.)

I wanted to try the flared skirt of Vogue 1916 with those fantastic pockets.  The front kick-pleat also looked like fun.  I was put off by the fussiness of the front placket directions for V1916 so Frankenpatterning the two looked like a good plan.

Selecting the main fabric was easy.  I knew I wanted to use this cotton poplin purchased during a family Hawaii trip almost a dozen years ago.

I wanted contrast details, but nothing in my supplies was quite right.  I liked the look of this stretch cotton gingham, which was perfect in scale and color, but a bit thin and too stretchy.

I went shopping at Colorado Fabrics and bought small pieces of both of the middle prints.

I pinned them to my dress dummy and auditioned both of them for at least a day each.  They didn't sing to me.

In the end, I fused the gingham to soft tricot interfacing and the color and pocket came out well.  I did not fuse the bias bands on the sleeve, much to my regret.

You can't see it but I clean finished the bodice interior with all flat-fell seams.
But it is a minor quibble because I love the dress. It feels great, swishes in a satisfying way, doesn't get in the way when walking (even up and down stairs), and comes out of the wash pretty much wrinkle-free. (That's due to the tight poplin weave and good quality cotton--not a resin fabric finish.)

Front view

Back view

What a view!


  1. I love your shirt dress for all your reasons: comfy, swishy, easy to wash and get right back to wearing. Also bonus points for fabric with family souvenir status. It's lovely! Plus: gingham!

    1. Yes, I love the contrast of swirly lines with gingham. It's the quilter in me.

  2. Anonymous06:29

    Love all the pattern mixing options.....and the final choice. I almost never regret having interfaced something so I'm not sure why I don't do it more consistently?

    The view pictures are stunning....


    1. Exactly. Why, oh, why, did I not interface the cuffs when I had the interfacing out on the cutting table?


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