Or is it a bunch, a flock, a group…? It seems like this is the year of shirt dresses for me. I made four in the last month/six week, four… Sooo, this post is going to be really really long. It was written a few weeks ago, but we’ve only recently had good enough weather (i.e. not too much wind and some sun) to take photos. It’s been a time of lots of sewing and not much writing/photo taking… Here we go, epic post:
First, came the Matilda shirt dress by Megan Nielsen – although she took some time coming… mainly due to the hem and poppers. Matilda is described as a utility style shirt dress with classic tailoring techniques. What drew me to this pattern was its casual but not appeal. The big pockets and drop shoulders make it somewhat more casual but the traditional collar and skirt shape more “formal”.
I made a size S at the bust grading to size M at the waist and hip. I didn’t make a muslin, I thought if needed I could easily take in the princess seams and the sides, but no changes were needed. I bought a navy cotton rayon mix at the Fabric Warehouse specifically for this dress, it’s soooo nice, drapey, soft, just beautiful to wear. But it will wrinkle. Oh well.
This was my first Megan Nielsen pattern, and it probably won’t be my last. I really liked the instructions, I liked the instructions to notch the curved edges before easing them onto the other pieces, so much easier. I hadn’t seen that before, and it makes so much sense.
I’ve got at admit I’m not very good at rounded pockets, they just don’t come out right, no matter how careful I am. Note to self, only make square pockets or ones with angles corners…
I didn’t have enough fabric for the full-width breast pockets, so the pleats are a tiny bit smaller than intended, not that it matters I think. I also didn’t have enough for the full collar, but a smaller standing collar suits the dress just fine. I just took the collar stand and used that as the collar. Next time I’ll make the full collar.
Closeup of the pockets, sooo awesome (the colour is not quite right, it’s a dark/navy blue really).
I had finished the main body of the dress on a Saturday, with only the button placket and collar to do. I hung the dress on a hanger and that morning the button plaket notches did not line up with the dress at all, and I am usually very careful when cutting fabric. So it seems like this dress has dropped/stretched quite a bit already, maybe good that there was a natural stop prior to attaching the button placket a day later… What would have happened had I attached it? Not sure…
Salt and Pepper
Next up, Salt and Pepper by Lara Sanner. I was this dress while on holiday in Fiji and just couldn’t resist. I was sooo I intregued by the back, the shoulder flaps and the inset pockets, so cool.
I decided to make version 3, the dress version with the floaty skirt C with the sleeves in position 1, i.e. folded back onto the shoulders and the backless yoke version. This is size 40 and apart from making a small pleat in the lower back at the middle I made no changes. After sewing the back and sides, I noticed the lower back panel was too wide for me, it was hanging down a bit, but since I’m a lazy seamstress, I didn’t want to take the whole thing apart, so I just gave it a little pleat.
(The obligatory twirling photo)
I debated about what fabric to use, I wanted to use something from my stash, but the floaty skirt requires a bit of fabric. I bought this lovely Liberty cotton (poplin) from a Willson Trollope sale, and it was just enough even though it was oddly cut. It’s got gemstones on it, I love it. It’s the perfect summer dress. I cannot wait for the weather to be better :).
And here a close-up of the fabric 🙂
The instructions were pretty good, the drawings make it really easy to follow along.
I really wanted to use this striped fabric from my stash, I think it’s a poly crepe, gorgeous drape, somewhat seethrough, no wrinkles (hence I think it’s a poly). It’s so old I have no idea where I got it, but it seemed perfect for this.
I made a size M and this was just not quite enough fabric to match the stripes. I was so disappointed, but then though most store-bought shirts would be exactly the same and told myself to get over it. Not easy… 😉 You luckily cannot really see it, but I had to piece my front band together, out of two pieces, I just didn’t have enough fabric. At least that pattern matching went well 😉
I was a bit lazy and just used my pinking shears instead of the overlocker or making French seams. Not my best ideal, this baby is unravelling… So I may see what it looks like when I overlock this with white thread…
Apart from that, I followed the somewhat short instructions mostly (I stitched the collar in the ditch and top-stitched around the collar stand). It’s a fairly quick make. long seams though 😉
I’ve been wearing this three times in the last two weeks already and utterly love it!!!! Had a god number of compliments 🙂 Definitely will make another one or two… Maybe in black linen… or something else slinky…
Le602 Asymetric Shirt dress
And it seemed like that wasn’t enough yet, so Le602 was next. Le 602, Long Asymmetric shirt is by DP Studio; it’s described as an oversized shirt that can almost be considered a coat dress. It comes in two versions, a shorter shirt/tunic version and a longer dress version. I made the dress version, a, in a little bit bigger than a size 40. My measurements are a tiny bit bigger than size 40, but smaller than a 42, so I was just a bit more generous with the seams allowance (1.3cm ish instead of the build in 1). What drew me to this shirt dress was the curve of the hem and the difference between front and back.
(Can I just say perfect stripe matching? There’s a yoke at the back, can you tell?)
I went through my stash several times to find the right and enough fabric and in the end found this lovely silk (I think, it could be a cotton or linens silk blend) that I bought from the Fabric Warehouse sale at some point. I think it was 3m, maybe 2.5m and just not enough for the full pattern, hence the sleeves are a bit shorter and the cuff is slimmer and the inside yoke is made of a different fabric. Actually, the inside yoke did not come up in the instructions at all, but it is in the cutting diagram… I ended up top stitching the inside yoke instead of using a burrito style as I didn’t think I could fit the whole dress inside the yoke. It worked well and given the other topstitiching, it seemed to fit well.
And here word with a belt (somewhat better I think):
I have to admit I struggled with the instructions for the pocket. A lot. It just did not make sense to me. I ended up making it in a somewhat roundabout way that I thought could work. It looks ok and I can use the pocket (well initially I accidentally stitched it shut by hand when. I stitched the front strip down in side), but I surely won’t make it like that again. I’ll possibly use one long inset rather than three. I’m not sure if I understood what the front is meant to be like. The images on the website are great, but the white does not lend itself to seeing the detailed of the front. Anyway, I just made it in a way that would work and looked ok, I think… I did have to unpick the front band three times in different places around the pocket. Not something that’s super easy with this loosely woven fabric.
I am proud of the stripe matching, hence it needs to be word at least once 🙂 and I still like some of the details, that button detail, the curve on the hem (May need to make a Kalle Shirtdress soon). Here in windy Welli it will probably never be worn without a belt 😉
(Perfectly matched buttons, pilfered off an old white cardigan from Esprit, they say Esprit on the official front, but the back matches perfectly 😉 Waste not want not)
I also struggled with the instructions for for collar – well there were none really… I put the collar together no problem (see above, done enough of those), but the installation of the collar when the front overlay is already finished was a mystery to me.
I’m not totally sure of this one, the wrong fabric I think… But I’ll give it a try and will see… it may just be an at home dress, although the other half doesn’t really like it 😉 I was thinking of using black gross grain ribbon as a belt and for the sleeves, but haven’t got any, hence no proper photos yet.
All are very different from each other, different times to wear, very different fabrics. And I like them all. I’ve worn the Sahara several times already and will definitely make more versions. I’ve worn Mathilda too and got lots of compliments, looking forward to my next version of that. The others have not been worn yet, Salt and Pepper is more of a summer dress and sadly summer is not quite here yet (it wasn’t all that warm in those photos, even though it looks nice…). But soon, soon…. Can’t wait to wear it. Le602.. we shall see.
Favourite? Not sure, Mathilda is gorgeous and so it Sahara…
Isn’t our garden gorgeous this spring? Can’t wait for the summer. This is hopefully and a bit sadly our last summer in this house, next summer we should be in our new house, with a sewing room – we are building not far rom here… probably more to come on that.
Up next… Wrap dresses, I’ve got Orsola sitting ready to go and Linda as well… It’ll be a summer of dresses it seems.