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Pattern Review: Vintage Shirt Dress by Sew Over It

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

Last year, during the summer there was an Instagram challenge #sewtogetherforsummer and it entailed to sew any shirt dress in any fabric.

The pattern comes in sizes 8 to 20 (UK). I made a size 14 in the bust and graded to a size 16 in the waist and hip. The dress is a tight fit but feminine shape due to flattering pleats in the bodice and skirt on both front & back as well as gathering at the shoulder seam on the front bodice.

This shirt dress comes in both sleeved and sleeveless version. The fabric recommendations for this pattern are light to medium weight woven fabrics such as cotton, cotton lawn, seersucker, broderie anglaise, rayon, viscose, crepe or lightweight wool.

My toile version I used a green linen (was in the remnants bin at my local shop and very cheap). I tried the version with the sleeves. It is super light to wear. Here comes the BUT, after attaching the collar & lapel facing, you have trim the seam allowance & snip into the corner between the collar and lapel, and I cut into my fabric. Immediately, I consulted Instagram and went to the local haberdashery to get fry spray (or similar). I also interfaced the area but couldn't rescue my work. At the same time I also purchased a smaller pair of scissors which I know only use for grading seam allowance as well as snipping round edges to be on the safe side and avoid cutting into my stitches. Despite the mistake, I try my toile on and realized the green didn't suit me unless I want to wear if for Halloween as a surgeon :D

Despite the initial fail, I decided to be brave and cut into my actual fabric. Inspired by the garment sewn up on the pattern, I choose a white suiting cotton for the bodice and a magenta light weight cotton for the skirt. This time, I chose the sleeveless version because it is hot in Dubai most of the time, and if I get cold in the malls I always have a cardigan with me.

This time, I was so careful when clipping & grading and all went well. I love this dress and have worn it a few times. I made a small mistake when finishing the armholes which I could correct some time in the future (if ever no projects are lined up). It would be a great dress for work however due to the subtle magenta, I don't feel comfortable wearing in our office.

Hence, I made another one :) This time in a Swiss Dot cotton in white & navy. The fabric I bought during our Christmas Holiday in Scotland at Holm Sown. It seems she still has some of the fabric left: navy & white but there are even more color ways in her shop - so go check if out! I love this version even more. The fabric is so soft & light.

It seems like, I cannot make a garment without mistakes - I guess that makes them unique. I placed the buttonholes on the opposite front piece, sewed on the buttons and tried it on, realizing that something is different compared to other shirts I own. Well, you try & learn.

Both versions have self-covered buttons. While they look great, I think bought plastic or wooden buttons might be better as they are smoother and get it easier through the buttonholes.

For my second version (white & navy) I changed the vintage collar - which is round - to be pointy. While I love the first version (white & magenta), I feel more comfortable in the navy one and can identify myself better. It was actually quite easy to change the existing pattern, I simply extended the pattern lines and that these lines cross.

As there are quite a few technical skills needed, I would recommend this pattern to an intermediate sewist. You will practice pleats, learn to sew a collar, adding facings and stitching buttonholes. If you have made a few fitted dresses and know how a pleat is constructed, then this could be a great start into your first shirt experience.

This was also my first collar & lapel experience. This month, I wanted to dedicate to making only Shirts & Shirt dress for myself but also my partner. But time wasn't on my site and I will try it next month.

Did you see what the ladies from #sewtogetherforsummer have thought out for this year? It's a wrap dress ... I already made a wearable toile and hopefully will be faster in writing a review.

Thanks for hanging out with me.

Maria xxx

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