Sunday, January 15, 2017

Two Shirt Dresses

Both of these shirt dresses were made a long time ago. Approximately six months or so ago in the summer.  These were the last two big projects I was working on before I got really sick with all my gall bladder nonsense in August.  I finished the multi-colored one back in July and hung it up in the closet.  It's never been worn.  The black and white shirt dress was finally finished a couple of weeks ago after sewing on and ripping off three different sets of sleeves/sleeve bindings.  I would have given up on it except I really loved the fabric.  And I did a pretty darn good job on that collar, if I do say so myself ;)  I also had already sewn a really nice, deep 3 inch hem.

The black and white shirt dress is McCalls 7314.  It is a pretty standard shirtwaist dress except it has a curved, raised waist seam.  The pattern calls for elastic in the back of the waist seam.  I did initially add the elastic but it made the dress look extremely maternity like.  In fact, this dress would be a really awesome maternity dress pattern.  I tried adding the elastic around the whole waist seam as well, but didn't like that either.  So I left the elastic off and was kind of digging the loose, Japanese sort of vibe I was getting.

I originally made this dress sleeveless.  But after finishing it, I couldn't get the idea of a long sleeved shirt dress to wear with tights and boots out of my head.  So I ripped out the sleeve bindings and added the long sleeves from the pattern.  I did not like them.  If I remember correctly, I then shortened the sleeves to be 3/4 length but didn't widen the cuff.  So I ended up with a really tight and uncomfortable shorter sleeve.  Then it sat on my dress form for a few months.  A few weeks ago, I ripped out the second set of sleeves and added the big, blouse-y sleeves from McCalls 7242. I had just worn my maxi shirt dress (which I am loving now, by the way) and thought the sleeves would be perfect.  I didn't do any measuring or anything to make sure it would work.  It was just a last ditch effort to try and save the dress.  So the armscye fit on this dress is pretty crappy.  Not only is the armscye all stretched out from ripping things out, but that sleeve head was not made to fit in to that armscye.  I made it work (hopefully?), but just barely.  Luckily the dress has so much ease that I didn't need a close fitting armscye anyway.  I also have lost a little under twenty pounds from when I originally made this dress.  It was already loose to begin with but is maybe even a little more so now. 

I don't love the end result, but I do like it.  I feel like it's a good teacher dress.  The fabric is fantastic.  It's a rayon poplin I bought from  It has the drape of rayon challis but has a tighter weave, so it seems more durable and is less see-through.  The crazy multi-colored fabric in my second shirt dress is also rayon poplin.  I bought several yards of some different prints at the same time.

The second shirt dress I made back in July is McCalls 7387.  I really liked this dress when I first made it but after putting it on for pictures now, I'm not so sure.  It's a funky pattern, which I like.  It is a very boxy shirt dress with a big pleat in the back and no waist shaping at all.  It has a covered button placket as well.  I spent an extremely long time cutting this out to match up stripes.  I also print mixed with some of the black and white spots from the other shirt dress on the placket and sleeve cuffs.  I'm pretty chuffed with my pattern placement.  The fit is off, though.

I did square the shoulder ahead of time.  And I'm not quite sure I did it right on a shoulder/sleeve like this.  I need to read up on it, I guess.  I still have some pulling from shoulder to the first button, which is what I'm trying to show in this awkward photo below.  Also, the covered button placket-- ugh.  I'm glad I did it because it was a good learning experience.  But it was a pain.  I've never done one before.  Not only that, but I couldn't make a button hole high enough on the placket because of where the covered part of the placket begins.  I had to scoot the first button hole down and it's too low.  I actually have it safety pinned in these photos and I'm planning to add a snap there.  I wouldn't do the covered button placket again.  I don't care enough about the look of it and my skills are lacking.

I like the overall shape of the dress and I love the unusual back pleat.  But, the back pleat is heavy and pulls on the back of the yoke.  The hem line is also dipped lower in the back, I'm guessing because of the pleat.  I don't mind it, but it's probably not how it's supposed to look.  I'm seriously thinking about chopping off four or five inches from the hem and turning this in to tunic to wear over leggings or skinny jeans.  I think it has too many fit issues for me to ever wear it comfortably as a dress. We'll see, though.  Maybe I'll let it sit in the magic closet for a little while.

Phew! Glad I blogged these two dresses.  Now onwards and upwards...