I love a good challenge and Monika of Rocco Sienna, Sarah of Sew Sarah Smith and Suzy of Sewing in Spain have not let us down with this one. The challenge: sew a shirt dress of our choice for summer and post it before midsummers day (21 June) – love it!
Earlier this year I bought the Sew Over It Shirt Dress ready to add to my summer wardrobe – the challenge was just the nudge I needed to sew this up pronto. I bought the perfect olive green cotton fabric from Adam Ross Fabrics when I visited in March – it would look gorgeous as a sleeveless shirt dress I could wear for the office or at the weekend.
When I traced and cut my pattern I decided to lengthen the skirt a little so it was more appropriate for work (yes, I know I also wear my mini skirted Pick Your Pockets Skirt for work but I justify that with opaque black tights…the shirt dress will be a natural tights or bare leg job!) I wanted it to sit on my knee as opposed to above so I added a couple of inches on – lazily you’ll see I cut the pattern as directed but just shifted it outwards when I laid it out; this means I can make a standard length dress when I make my next.
The main construction of the dress is pretty quick and it feels like a dress very quickly. In my eagerness, I forgot to stay stitch my skirt pieces waists…as I found out when I came to attach the skirt and bodice pieces. On one section my skirt was a little bigger than the corresponding bodice piece. I’ve now got a slight ‘tuck’ of fabric as a result, although it’s very well hidden in the side seam; even I won’t remember it’s there when I’ve added my belt – no-one else is likely to notice regardless!
When you add the collar and facings you really begin to feel like your dress is coming together. I don’t like an open facing (even though I rolled the seam, and for most people this would be entirely adequate and certainly didn’t look unfinished) so I used Wundaweb to attach this to the dress front. You’ll notice this also annoyed me with the Morris Blazer pattern and I Wundawebbed this closed too.
I was concerned my fabric was too heavy to make bias tape from so went for a slightly lighter khaki bias tape. Although there isn’t a colour match I actually like the two shades of khaki together (I also toyed with contrast bias tape but couldn’t decide on a colour). If you make the sleeveless option, I would recommend finishing the arm holes with your bias tape before sewing your bodice sides together (I didn’t think of this at the time!)
Instead of buttons, I used more plastic snaps – you’ll see I used these for my Deer & Doe Datura and I was really pleased with the outcome so I’ve used them again.
I’ve got to say, this wasn’t the most successful of projects; in short it was a slog! Everything that could have gone wrong practically did. On so many occasions I nearly chucked the half finished dress in a dark cupboard never to see the light of day again but I got there in the end. Don’t be put off my this, it’s a relatively straightforward make, I just didn’t gel with it for this particular making of the dress. I’d still love to make another though, I’m sure on a different occasion it would go together like a dream! Have you ever had one of those projects?? I know I won’t be alone here 🙂
If you like this dress, you might also love my Simplicity 8041 Shirt Dress.
If you’re loving the retro vibe, why not fast forward slightly to the 1960s and check out my Swing Dress.