This is quite an important post as I feel like my sewing has come full circle.
Back when I started sewing, one thing I desperately wanted to make was a shirt dress. I had been inspired by a Gothic looking dress online, one that a) didn’t do my size and b) even if they did I bet you my boobs would make a bit for freedom out the front buttons.
So I set about with a McCall’s M6696 hoping to recreate this ‘simple’ shirt dress. The material I chose was a purple stretch fabric, the colour was called Damsel… And it was a disaster… Everything from the fit, to the collar, to the fabric was just awful. I didn’t even finish it with buttons and a hem I hated it so much. I brushed that Idea away for more than a year… then I met the Pauline Alice’s the Cami.
Pictures from Pauline Alice Website, Showing the 3/4 length sleeve version I made.
Having a fair amount of reservations on any shirt dress pattern after the first attempt, I at ignored it. But make after make just kept on popping up on my Instagram feed. All EXACTLY the shape and style I first wanted back when I started the disastrous damsel piece.
Firstly, It wasn’t in my size. This posed an issue in that I would have to enlarge the pattern somehow. My skills in this department were almost non existent. But after a few YouTube tutorials, I grabbed some Swedish Tracing paper and ended up with a PERFECT fit (including the boobs)
The second slight issue was when I discovered that the skirt was just two rectangles. I cant say I wasn’t disappointed at first… one of the selling points of this pattern was how everyone’s Camis I saw online had the best shaped skirt. I was mistaken in my thinking that there was this holy grail of skirt making that I was chasing… In fact this was a lazy hack I used myself on some of my patterns… normally on the patterns I end up loving the shape of the most. So I learnt that sometimes the most simple techniques are in fact the best.
So How Did It Sew?
Date Completed: 5th August 2017
(Sorry for the slight bleaching out in the pics, but flat black matt fabric is a pain to photograph)
The main challenge of this was not the sewing, but making it a size bigger. This was surprisingly easy, and dare I say actually quite fun. I simply laid it on top of a piece of Swedish tracing paper and systematically went around the pattern pieces and extended it and various points. It was a simple case of measure, do the math, place the dot, repeat that step loads, then join the dots. I honestly urge you to try it, even if you are not plus size, try it on a size too small vintage pattern… I know you have lurking in your collection somewhere (i know i have!) One thing I didn’t change was the length of the bodice, despite having a long body, I felt confident in the length of the pattern. The collar stayed untouched and I was conscious of this when sizing up the pattern around that area.
I went for a soft Peach Skin Black. I love this fabric, I paid a bit extra for it in my cheap shop, but at 2.95 a metre, it’s still a bargain. I bought in bulk and have more than enough left for other projects. It has a beautiful matt finish and is the perfect light/medium weight.
Overall this sew is incredibly simple, the instructions are absolutely Beautiful. I love the little button dots and the beautifully illustrated front and diagrams. I love how its been kept in theme of the website too. Putting it together is super easy, I would totally recommend anyone making the jump from beginner to look at this pattern. Other than that this may be the perfect go to shirt dress pattern I have seen so far. I highly recommend it as part of your wardrobe if you haven’t already got it.
I definitely need a patterned one now, to maybe challenge myself more in matching it up. And despite winter, I quite fancy a short sleeve one. Plus do check out the other patterns, I know I will.