The Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress was nearly my New Year’s Eve dress. Then I recognised the ridiculousness of a self-set deadline and put this to one side. Didn’t I already have a wardrobe full of dresses waiting to be worn? Why sweat over a sewing machine when I could be popping a cork?
Instead, I climbed into one of my successful makes of 2015 – a 1960s pattern that has proved to be wearable beyond belief:
But back to the vintage dress in question. It’s made from a polyester something bought from Oxford Street John Lewis at £12.99 a metre. I can’t recommend this fabric enough. It’s warm to the touch, submitted to a 40 degree wash, benefits from a press, yet barely creases with wear. Plus, the print suited the pattern. The holy grail of fabric?
In terms of construction, I lengthened the skirt pieces by two inches and … that’s it. I cut true to my size. This pattern is known for being roomy in the waist and I’d urge you not to second guess that drafting. There’s a reason shirt dresses have loose waists. They allow you to sit down without buttons straining. Don’t judge a dress by how it looks in blog photos; judge when you gaze at your own navel after eating a large meal. Fitting ease is there for a reason.
Because I chose to work with a synthetic, drapey fabric I needed to pay careful attention to skirt hem trimming and stitching. The dress hung a lot lower at the rear. I also learned that trimming a back bodice does not by default necessitate the trimming of a front bodice. Particularly, when you have a sizeable chest. (Oh, how I now laugh in the face of all the teenage boys who once laughed in my face. If only they’d been looking at my face back then.)
But mostly, I judge this dress by how it’s performed after I made it. It stood up to a relaxed afternoon, sipping wine with friends. I never found myself tugging on the front, wriggling in my seat or sitting extra ram rod straight.
The dress also stood up to reinterpretation of its original era, teaming well with my Converse, to channel that early 1990s combo of sun dresses and Dr Martens.I like this dress. Do you? Actually, scrap that. I LOVE this dress. Isn’t that what’s sewing all about?