The Shirt Dress Cometh

Thanks so much for your suggestions on what to do with my vintage buttons and buckle. The overwhelming majority vote was for a shirt dress. I’ve been scouting about and I think I’ve settled on the McCalls 4769. It’s another of those pattern shots where I ask you to ignore the heinous photography and concentrate on the line drawings!

By happy serendipity, my Cloth Club swatches recently arrived from Stone Fabrics. I seriously love these moments in my life! It is such a cute game to go through the swatches and imagine future makes. Here are some of my favourites in the latest batch:

Top left: deep red polyester double crepe, machine washable

Top right: blue polyester Georgette with Carousel horse print, machine washable

Bottom left: Ted Baker ‘Ladies and dogs’ brown and blue designer cotton

Bottom right: Aubergine polyester corduroy (non crease)

I could definitely squeeze another V1247 skirt out of that cord, and that colour is one of my favourites. Don’t you love the prints? So cute! Now, the red crepe… Would that be too much with the black of my buttons and buckle? A combination too obvious, too (shush) vulgar?

Red is one of my favourite colours in the whole world. I love wearing it. Yet I’ve steered a lot of my sewing away from this colour, for fear of over-egging the pudding. Well, sod that! I am going to embrace this colour more. But do say if you think it’s wrong with the accessories. Is crepe even suitable for a shirt dress? I’d love your opinion!

In other news, do you enter blog giveaways? I stopped entering for a good year – unless it was something I REALLY wanted. Why? I am the unluckiest person in the world. If there’s a pub raffle, you’ll guarantee I won’t win it. So I gave up. Then after my little sulk, I decided to start entering giveaways again. Come on – the odds are way better than the National Lottery. Finally, my ship came in! Can you believe what I recently won from Mika of Savory Stitches:

I feel very privileged to even have these in my home. I must make items worthy of their beauteosity. Decisions, decisions…

Thank you, Mika!

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41 Responses to The Shirt Dress Cometh

  1. Sewing princess says:

    Nice fabric choice. If you choose crepe, you’d have to line it. I’m making a burda dress with the same front darts… You’ll have to be patient when sewing them (email me if you need info). Now red and black is great, certainly bold. Try and drape it on you and if you like it… Go for it!
    Cute buttons! I was really lucky recently and won 2 giveaways… But doesn’t happen often

  2. I don’t see any reason why you could not use black with red – it’s a lovely combination, always classy – nor do I see any reason why you could not make a shirtdress using that crepe. It will drape beautifully. And, ooh, I love those sailboat buttons! Well done.

  3. Fiona says:

    I really like the red and black combination, I think it will make a really striking shirtdress. Plus I just really love crepe! Looking forward to seeing the finished dress, I’ve had a shirtdress project on my radar since I started sewing and got into Mad Men…just need to find the time to focus on it properly!
    P.S. Those buttons are gorgeous!

  4. alibobs says:

    I too love red and black, it all depends on the balance. I also LOVE that shade of purple and am tempted to get some for an autumn skirt. Non-crease surely means no ironing so it would be very practical, yes?
    Th buttons are lovely 🙂 It is always hard choosing the best project for buttons, but I guess if you have a better project you can always snip them off and put them on something else.

  5. Bridget says:

    have you seen the line drawings on the pattern? One of them is red with a black belt! I bet you didn’t even notice that. But I think red and black are a fab combo, although you must be careful not to wear it in December, for fear of looking like Lady Christmas. Just a thought 😉

  6. Pendle Stitches says:

    I love red and black too. And thank you for the link…I’d not come across Stone Fabrics before…I’m off to check them out!

  7. Pella says:

    Red and black usually works well. Would you sneak any white trim in to echo the buttons? As in black belt piped in white, or something.Which version are you doing by the way?

  8. Curious Gem says:

    I read somewhere recently that women who wear red are more successful – considered more attractive, capable at work etc. Google it 🙂

  9. I love red and black together – wintery but cheerful. I only enter giveaways if I know I’ll use the prize. If it’s for, say, a vintage pattern that would have to be graded then I don’t enter because the pattern would just languish in my stash.

  10. I absolutely love the combination of classic shirt dress, red fabric and vintage black buttons! Do it Karen! I’ve used that pattern before and the result was perfect, just ignore the old frumps on the pattern envelope and you’ll be fine! I think crepe is an extremely classy fabric for a shirt dress (why didn’t I think of that?!) My only experience of sewing with crepe is that it’s a bit scratchy, I underlined my wool crepe skirt, but you could always just wear a slip underneath. x

  11. I tried sewing that shirt dress and all went swimmingly until I got to the instructions for the collar which were pants. However, I’m sure you’ll have no trouble because you’re a much more experienced sewist than me. However it is a lovely pattern and it will look very chic in red and black.

  12. Carolyn says:

    Red crepe with black buttons and belt buckle will be an awesome combo. I have that pattern too and also feel a bit embarrassed over the horrendous illustrations they used on the front. Looking past that though, the line drawings do show a lot of potential.

  13. redsilvia says:

    I don’t know what over egging the pudding is, but you’d look gorgeous in that red fabric. Go ahead and live on the edge, mix those buttons and fabric and own it. Do I sound like the Gok Wan dude?

  14. Olivia says:

    Ooooh, lovely pattern. I like the beige line drawing! And if you like red so much you should absolutely make red clothes and wear them and be happy! You have my blessing. And heidi’s. Not that you needed it, of course.

  15. danac2012 says:

    A classy look! Yes, it will look stunning. Red is a strong color and with your hair color and skin tone you can wear it well. Color is in and orange is the new Fall color, reds not too far from that. I do say I have to agree with Pella though, with the piping to the belt, it’s just the subtle surprise you want….the unexpected. Looking forward to seeing your finished product….also with the belt I’d use a belting rib (bone casting works great). Just a side note, the bone casting (it’s a firm material) to keep your belt sturdy and will stop it from rolling. Have fun!

  16. Suzanne says:

    I love red! I steered away from it to…for a while. I really like the Ladies and dogs print.

  17. I just got my samples from Stone Fabrics too and that red crepe is gorgeous. I see no reason why it wouldn’t work with black at all. I do wonder if it might be a tad drapey for a shirt dress though. Maybe with a good interfacing for the placket and collar?

  18. Ruth says:

    I have made this one – beware Karen the skirt really is as full as the photo – the line drawings are a little deceiving on that bit. Red is just gorgeous

  19. Rachel says:

    I don’t know anything about the suitability of crepe, but congrats on the giveaway win! I only enter ones i really want too.

  20. punkmik says:

    I love commenting and talking to people anyway so I have maybe even unconsciously entered into give aways! lol! but congrats! those are great buttons!
    I have never won anything apart from once which was to attend a conference for my line of work (i love my job so this was a treat)!
    I made my shirt dress out of cotton and do not know much about crepe fabrics. But I surely cant wait to see how ur getting on!

  21. LinB says:

    I’ve made that pattern a couple of times for my busty daughter. It is an excellent draft, and required little in the way of alteration to fit her hourglass figure. I dimly recall something odd (but easy to sew) about the button placket … I think that, on the second make, I eliminated the front facing and attached a standard button band down the front. Red suits you. Make a red dress.

  22. sue says:

    That “ladies and dogs” cotton is TOO adorable. I love the shirt dress pattern you’ve chosen – can’t wait to see what you end up making. 🙂

  23. Erika says:

    Red with black is a given favorite! I also adore red, and there’s no reason to avoid it. It’s a colour most people find “season bound”, but really, when one think about it, it works the year around. Fall leaves, Christmas, Valentine, spring red roses, summer strawberries… Only thing I’d be a bit hesitant about is using a polyester fabric, but that’s just my natural fabric preference speaking =)

    Congratualtions on the win! I only enter giveaways I really want to win, and I can see how these buttons have found the perfect home with you =)

  24. Zoe says:

    Red and black! Red and black! DO IT!!!!! Congrats on the buttons win, you’ve clearly been putting some good sewing karma out there and it’s rightly come back to you xxx

  25. susew says:

    Oh yes that is a great pattern!!. I have made it up twice- love having a button band, pockets and the sleeve has a great shape and fit- a high armhole, slim sleeve with enough fullness in the cap to fit well. totally forgot about that pattern. The red crepe with black buttons and buckle will make a wonderful outfit.

  26. Regina says:

    You are going to love McCall’s 4769. I have used it several times to make shirtdresses for myself and my daughter. Happy sewing!

  27. grenouille78 says:

    I made this pattern, too! As someone else mentioned, the collar is… interesting. I wrote about it on my blog here: And then the following post has the finished dress.

  28. tinygoldenpins says:

    I love that fabric with the ladies walking the dogs. It’s so elegant! And I am seriously in love with those little teardrop? leaves? black bakelite buttons. You are very lucky indeed (and I see the buttons on the lady/dog fabric….)

  29. symondezyn says:

    I’m glad you decided to go with the shirt dress! And you know what? For the longest time I thought I had to force myself to wear colours and patterns I didn’t love just because people would comment how I always wore the same colours… then I made my Bombshell dress in my favourite colours – black and red – and I adored the making and wearing of it so much because it was ME!! I say, embrace the love, make what you love, wear what you love… and I’m a red-lover right along with ya! ^___^

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