Sunday, July 15, 2012

All about shirt dresses

Just as with wrap dresses, I often find myself obsessing over the perfect shirt dress. If I could get away with it, my entire wardrobe would consist of shirt dresses, wrap dresses and Wiksten Tovas. I've yet to complete a wrap dress. Not for lack of trying; my Colette Crepe is in my UFO basket waiting for me to acknowledge it once more.

I've just had better luck with the shirt dress. I have four in my closet at the moment with a fifth one waiting for a hem. Yet I want more. Many, many more. I find myself overwhelmed (as always) by my choices.

On my sewing table I have this lovely shirt dress offering from Simplicity/Cynthia Rowley:


It's a bit boxy but I managed to make it look cute. I'm quite proud of this one and I may actually photograph it and show it to you. Yes, I know I always promise photos and never deliver. I've felt a bit camera-shy for the last few months. But I digress. On to the next shirt dress.

I've mentioned McCall's 5801 before. It's one of my favorite dresses. It's out-of-print but still available on the McCall's website. It comes with pattern pieces for different cup sizes. A definite win for me.

The Lisette Traveler dress (Simplicity 2246) is one of my favorite patterns. I have View A cut out and ready to sew. I'm using my recent Liberty Lawn acquisition to make it happen.

However, before I sew it, I want to make another View C. This time I want to remove the collar completely so that it looks more like another shirt dress that I adore: New Look 6587.


This pattern hasn't garnered many raving reviews. Fitting seems to be the biggest issue. I have no desire to fiddle with a pattern that I already know will be difficult. Instead, I want to combine what I love about this dress (the neckline of View E) with a dress that I know already fits (Simplicity 2246 View C). I'll start work on my muslin sometime this week. I hope that it works out.

Of course there are more shirt dress patterns out there. I've barely scratched the surface. I'll continue this time. Perhaps then I'll have some photos to post.


  1. I've made that New Look dress and can recommend it, although you're right in that it did require some fitting. I made a muslin of just the bodice and seem to recall taking a fairly sizable wedge out of the center front because of neckline gaping. However, I think it was worth it to get a nicely fitting princess seam bodice, which I have since used as a sort of sloper for another dress.

  2. I feel you on the love of shirt dresses. I've made Simplicity 2246 View A (twice) and View C. I'm not sure I love the pattern, but its basic enough that I've used it to learn how to do pattern alterations, like the dreaded FBA. And the dresses are so wearable!

    I also own that New Look pattern, and I will make it. One day. But you know how it is - once you've started with one pattern, it seems easier to tweak it than to learn a new one all over again.

  3. Your shirtdress obsession is helping me so much! I went ahead and ordered the Lisette Traveller pattern after deciding that there is no way the Hawthorn (which I bought last year) will look good on me. I'm thankful after reading your reviews that I didn't spend time making it because I think I'd have the same issues with fit and dissatisfaction. I do think that maybe I should have opted for the McCall one because princess seams would be easier to fit with my ample boobage, but we shall see...

    1. The McCall's pattern I was thinking about is 5847 which has princess seams. I can't do the gathered at the waist style.

    2. The McCall's pattern looks great. I have a love/hate relationship with gathered skirts. I find that using a pleated skirt works better or using a flared or circle skirt.


Thanks for commenting with thoughtfulness and maturity.

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