Shirtdress #3

by Erin on February 28, 2008

When you make the same pattern multiple times you really begin to understand how a few small changes will change the look completely, to wit:

Liberty Corduroy shirtwaist

This is Liberty babycord (sometimes called Kingly cord; I'm not sure if that means they think kings are big babies, or what); as usual, I forget the style name. I went to eBay to see if I could find any and ended up buying four more meters of a *different* print, so I think I'll leave it as unknown for now, thank you!

The buttons are olive plastic (all the buttons on these three dresses have been just standard off-the-revolving-rack ones from Hancock's Fabrics; I have tons of vintage buttons, of course, but not TEN of any one kind, which makes it a bit difficult to use them up with shirtdresses). I also had a set of bright teal ones under consideration for this dress, but they were a little headlighty against the swirly print.

The cuffs were actually not as much of a PITA as I thought they would be; there's a slight bobble on one of them where the brown ribbon that edges the placket meets the cuff proper (which of course I didn't think to take picture of). But considering I move my hands so much when I talk, no one will ever notice.

Here's a slightly better look at the fabric:

Liberty Corduroy shirtwaist

I also have a midriff-y dress made in this same colorway, only in lawn. I can't remember if I've ever posted it, though. Right now it's waiting for a button fix, sadly.

Sewing with Liberty cord isn't hard; it's very fine and lightweight, not bulky at all. The print obscures any nap problems and the wales are so fine that you don't get that weird separation you sometimes have at the seams with wider-wale corduroy. Also, it is sooooo soft, like very thin velvet. If you wear Liberty corduroy, people WILL pet you. Be prepared.

I used sewn-in organza again for the interfacing; worked fine. It helps the collar keep a soft shape without me having to mash it with the iron (not good for corduroy). And this one, unlike yesterday's version, is VERY warm and looks good with a (cream-colored) t-shirt under it, too.

To answer one of the questions that came up yesterday; these are all throw-in-the-washing-machine dresses. If I get to the washing machine before Mr. Dress-A-Day does, I hang them up when they're damp; otherwise they go in the dryer, too. (Since we both work from home, we tussle a bit over who gets to procrastinate by doing the laundry. My office is closer to the machines, but he can actually remember when the cycle is up, so he usually wins.)

More shirtdresses/shirtwaists are in the works … watch this space for further installments!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

alilizbeth February 28, 2008 at 6:52 am

Oh, this is my favorite of the shirt-dresses so far. (It might have something to do with 17 degrees F right now). It just looks so warm and snuggly. And I love the print (though I might have gone with the teal buttons). Brava!

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andreahg February 28, 2008 at 7:27 am

Another lovely creation! I’m so jealous of the fabric. I’m always on the look out for printed cord, but other than children’s prints, it seems to be hard to come by.

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oracle February 28, 2008 at 8:23 am

I like this one best, too; it might have to do with the print.I once made an 80′s style shirtdress in a lovely solid salmon-coloured cotton, which needed lots of buttons. The front hung straight down (no darts or anything) from the shoulders (which were dropped) to the mid-calf and its hem curved up to meet the side-seam. The back had a waist seam which secured a big, gathered rectangular skirt panel whose straight hem made right-angled corners when it went upward to meet the curved front hem at the sideseam. So, hem squared in the back; curved in the front. It was a Vogue Individualist something or other. Like a huge smock, sort of.The point is that I had all these different single plastic buttons in versions of salmon, coral red and even clear ones, and sewed them on against the plain salmon fabric to provide a kind of whimsical finish. I’d been inspired by having seen a rural hippie Qubcoise woman wearing a charming cotton dress she’d made where she’d used several different oversized buttons to close the bodice. My creation didn’t work out as well as hers, though. Oh, well. Perhaps it had something to do with my being Anglo-Canadian.However, Erin, if you ever decide to try mixing all different buttons on a shirtdress, I’d love to see the result. I’ll bet YOURS would turn out pretty neat! And if not, you’d write a great blog about it.

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Ladygrande (Texas Marie) February 28, 2008 at 9:09 am

This, too, is my favorite so far! I prefer these sleeves. Grannie Rie

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Anonymous February 28, 2008 at 9:10 am

Liberty is on the corner of Kingly Road in London – maybe that’s why the fabric is called Kingly?Dunno – just a guess!

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bani February 28, 2008 at 9:22 am

My fave too! *love*And in the DRYER? *aghast*

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libby February 28, 2008 at 9:27 am

Erin, do you have a favorite eBay store for Liberty prints? Seems like slim-pickin’s there right now.

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Erin February 28, 2008 at 9:29 am

Libby — make sure your preferences allow you to see international eBay sellers (if you’re in the US); most of the stuff up now is from UK sellers, unsurprisingly. (And OUCH, since the pound’s so high against the dollar …)

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Anonymous February 28, 2008 at 9:50 am

My mom used to make us dresses when we were little out of all her scraps. The sleeves, the yoke, the skirt, the back, the collar would all be different fabrics. My favorite part, though, was always the buttons down the front because they were all different from one another.

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anthrokeight February 28, 2008 at 9:53 am

I have a white on navy polka-dot dress from one of GB’s Big Discount Retailers that looks startlingly like this pattern. It fits well (except the sleeves have that Retro-Puff thing going that’s not good if you have broad shoulders). But the construction’s pretty shoddy, demonstrating that you *so* get what you pay for.These pretty variations on a pattern theme are making me want to rip that dress apart to use as pattern pieces and make it up in a more long-lasting version.BUT! First, I have a Walk-Away beta to finish, then a Walk-Away Final. So the Frankendress project will have to wait. (Or maybe my plan is the dress equivalent of the Waking Up In A Bathtub Full Of Ice But Missing A Kidney urban myth? Poor polka-dot dress!)

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Nora February 28, 2008 at 10:02 am

Hmmm…I really like them all. It’s great to see how different the same dress looks in different fabrics.I love the crazy button idea, for a solid-color dress; must file that one away (I have lots of random vintage buttons too).

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Anonymous February 28, 2008 at 10:37 am

this is GREAT. and really “in” too, in terms of print and cut. i love it.

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Eva February 28, 2008 at 10:38 am

That fabric is gorgeous!

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Mcfilibuster February 28, 2008 at 10:55 am

Very nice! I agree with Nora about a solid color dress with crazy buttons. I think I might do that on my next dress. A am currently making a reversible weskit/waistcoat/vest; one side has three matching army buttons, the other has three odd rhinestone ones.

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Beth H February 28, 2008 at 12:28 pm

I’ll have to echo what several have already said: You might enjoy a dress with all different buttons. Try it and let us know!

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Xstpenguin February 28, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Hat-trick!Well, I love’em all, but I have to agree that the 3rd is my favourite too. Teal, cord, long sleeves. Can’t beat it. Well actually I can – mine! I haven’t any decent pictures, no dressform and on me I look kind of erm… grumpy, so need to do something about that.And *I* didn’t make it, my lovely friend Liz did. And it’s not from a vintage pattern, it’s from a favourite old denim shirt made into a pattern by my lovely friend’s talented daughter. However, I did buy the fabric myself! 70s. Lots of orange and brown, so I had similar button issues. My solution, pay extra to have custom covered buttons (7), not the usual kind with the plastic back, covered all round and sew through!But you still get the prize for the hat-trick.Cheers,AJ

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Heather February 28, 2008 at 2:14 pm

I think I need an army of shirt dresses. I should quit being so afraid of my sewing machine. ;)

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Theresa February 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm

I love it too. I would have never thought to use olive buttons on it and they look great. Number 2 is still my favorite.

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La BellaDonna February 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Erin, a thought: Kingly cord = King’s Cord = corde du roi. Or, Corduroy.I do love the shirtdresses. For those ladies who despair of finding the right shirtdress patterns for themselves, I would point out that it does, in fact, consist of a shirt. Combined with a skirt.Any blouse or shirt pattern can be combined with any skirt pattern to make the shirtdress of your choice. If you already have a shirt or blouse pattern that you love, which fits, and a skirt pattern ditto, you can just combine the two for a highly personalized shirtdress. I made a gorgeous blue corduroy shirtdress, combining a fitted princess top with a shawl collar and modified leg o’mutton sleeves which I drafted up from a Vogue jacket pattern (Belleville Sassoon), and a half-circle skirt that I roughed out. I used plain little black buttons (military surplus!), and I had to piece the left sleeve, because I didn’t have quite enough fabric. It was awesome. Alack, I lost a bunch of weight, eventually, and gave it away. Twelve years later, and I’d like it back, please. *sigh*

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ladypuppy February 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm

I inherited an obsessive love for fuschias from my grandmother, and I actually have an awful dress made by my mother (must cut that up and reuse all that yardage) in this print but with a grey background instead of brown in satin. We got the fabric at Jo Ann’s. I was so happy to see this dress– absolutely beautiful!

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Domina March 2, 2008 at 7:51 pm

I’d love to see a photo or two of how these dresses fit – I too am short waisted and have a terrible time finding dresses or patterns that are appealing.

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Nan and B.A.G.S. the pug March 2, 2008 at 11:08 pm

I LOVE IT… I hope this will work on me – I just found a size 18 online – uncut even! I so wish Liberty’s sold their fabric in the USA. *sigh* I am so glad I found your blog! Btw – could you tell us what type of dress form you have? I am debating if I should get an adjustable one or go all out and get the one that is made for the sewer…. THANKS! Nan

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