YAS (yet another shirtdress)

by Erin on March 28, 2008


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I just bought another shirtdress pattern. If this goes on I will soon have every button-front dress with a collar EVER MADE. This one came from Out of the Ashes; I guess that means I can stop my eBay search for it. Possibly not. I could try to corner the vintage-shirtdress-pattern market … [insert evil laugh here]

I bought this for the yellow version, but I have a sneaking suspicion the red might get made, too. Aren't those neckline pleats lovely? Not so sure about the one in the middle; it looks a bit fussy to me …

There's a back view, too, and I think — I'm not sure, but it's entirely possible — that the collar is constructed with a diagonal seam at the point. I love collars like that. Of course, I could be totally wrong — it has happened, oh, once or twice before — but even if I am it's a lovely, lovely dress. (Even if it is virtually indistinguishable from the last five shirtdress patterns I've bought.)

Of course, I still have to figure out where the pockets will go. I think that I will have to recut the skirt so that the front piece doesn't have a center front seam, but instead two offset front side seams, and put the pockets there. (This also has the advantage of not having to make sure that center front seam is both physically and optically in line with the bodice buttons!)

Linktastic Friday will be back next week, by the way. Possibly on Wednesday or maybe even on Monday. As all the psychologists know, intermittent reinforcement is the best way to keep people's interest up …

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Mcfilibuster March 28, 2008 at 8:44 am

Ooh, very nice! When you make your dresses, do you usually use the recommended yardage of fabric? I end up using at least a yard less! I’m not sure why, as I only shorten the hem, but otherwise follow directions!

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Julia March 28, 2008 at 8:52 am

How do you physically get into a dress like that yellow one? If the buttons only go to the waist, I don’t think I’d be able to get it over my shoulders. Are those buttons just for show? Is there a side zipper? Does anybody else have any idea what I’m talking about?

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MadeByAmanda March 28, 2008 at 9:04 am

Julia: My guess is that there is a side zipper on the yellow dress. Nancy: I usually use less, but not a whole yard less on most patterns. Seems to be more around half a yard. My theory is pattern companies call for a little extra yardage just so when someone messes up, they’ve got a little extra to make a new sleeve or whatever, and they won’t somehow blame the pattern co. Also I find that some of their layouts are wasteful, and if I lay them out as makes sense to me, I use less fabric.

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tea March 28, 2008 at 9:13 am

The red dress! Yes! Totally 100% love it. Nancy: Me too. Sometimes I just ignore what they tell me and try to fit the pattern on whatever I have in my stash. Other times, I have enough extra to make a jacket or handbag or reserve for the hypothetical quilt stash. madebyamanda: Yes! That’s it exactly. It seems the pattern companies lay out things in a very fabric-wasting kind of manner. I can always conserve a bunch by just rearranging my layout to the most intuitive fit. Especially since I sometimes have to alter things to the extent that the patterns are no longer the size or shape they were printed to be. I think, though, some of it may have to do with lining up the fabric’s print. If you’re working with stripes or checks, for example, you need more room to spread out the pieces. So maybe they’re accounting for that and don’t want people to get mad about that sort of thing.Julia: Maybe there’s a secret invisible zipper in the front seam of the skirt, just below the buttons?

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Mad Fashionista March 28, 2008 at 9:16 am

Dahlings, I leave that to my seamstress.

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Anonymous March 28, 2008 at 9:18 am

I love the yellow version, too. I think the pleats on the red one would drive me batty, though. I don’t like having flounce on my chest. Back when I first started sewing vintage patterns, I attempted a blouse with a diagonal back collar like that. I couldn’t figure it out to save my life. Perhaps I should dig it out and try again.–Lydia

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Nora March 28, 2008 at 9:35 am

Gosh, is it Friday already?Weird, I’m sure I was watching this very pattern on eBay a couple of weeks ago – wonder why it didn’t come up in your search? (though I have missed some Claire McCardell items that way…) I love every version, but especially that neckline on the red one (I have a narrow upper chest so I’ve been eyeing patterns with that sort of design feature). Please post a picture if you make it, so we can see how it looks on a real human.

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Anonymous March 28, 2008 at 9:53 am

The red one is just adorable! I don’t need chest pleats, but they’d be cute on some folks for sure!Monique in TX

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Rebecca March 28, 2008 at 9:56 am

Julia – Every shirtdress I’ve made (with a fitted, vintage silhouette) has a side zip in addition to the button front.Erin – I love every single view on there! I’d made one of each. And probably in those same colors. That shawl-ish collar on #2 is fantastic.

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Doris March 28, 2008 at 10:07 am

I LOVE the red version, and now, I may have to track down this pattern for myself. I bought the one you posted the other day from Miss Helene’s–you are not helping my budget, Erin. And, perhaps you only think the middle one looks fussy because Miss Middle has a “fussy” pose going on.

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Jen - The Alien Spouse March 28, 2008 at 10:15 am

Love this! I look forward to seeing which fabric you choose for it.Also, I think this pattern shows the dress being modelled by a novelty singing acts beloved by fifties TV audiences. “LadiesandGentlemen, The Singing Cappelli Sisters! Aren’t they love folks? And they made the dresses themselves!”

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Theresa March 28, 2008 at 10:24 am

I am with the red crowd – probably because I never have had a colar turn out right yet. Of course they are all loverly.

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Latter-Day Flapper March 28, 2008 at 10:31 am

Oh, no–I like the middle version. With the right contrast fabric for the collar, it would be adorable, and it would showcase a novelty necklace very nicely.

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Anonymous March 28, 2008 at 10:40 am

I think the issue with cutting out layouts is that pattern companies frequently show just one layout for several sizes and an intuitive layout that might work for one size of a pattern wouldn’t necessarily work for another.

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Hyena In Petticoats March 28, 2008 at 10:43 am

LOVE the red one – and being of the less-endowed chest variety, the more fuss up front, the better! What is it about centre front seams on dresses? I can’t stand them – and I always end up doing the side seam/pocket thing too – very smart idea, I say. Nice pick! Leah xx

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Anonymous March 28, 2008 at 11:02 am

I think the middle one is looking fussy because of the patterned fabric the illustration shows – I bet if you made it in a plain fabric, or a less busy patterned one, it would look just as nice as the other two!

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Renee March 28, 2008 at 11:39 am

I was looking at this pattern the other day – ( though I’ll have to grade up mine ) and it has a short side zip in the bodice half, and snaps below in the skirt, all in the side seam. As for laying out, my mom taught me to rearrange the pieces so that I could “save a few inches” of fabric. I can’t let go of that habit, and now 30+ years later have boxes full of ‘inches’. And of course not what you’d combine into a quilt.

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Miss Kitty March 28, 2008 at 11:47 am

These shirtdresses are KILLING me, Erin. Now I’m on a yard-sale and flea-market treasure hunt to find old patterns for a 38 bust. [sigh]

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tcarole March 28, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Vogue Patterns just reissued a new dress that is sort of “mock shirt dress” but with my fave – pin tucks. http://www.voguepatterns.com/item/V1044.htm?tab=whats_new&page=1I thought of you. I try to buy vintage patterns when I can because $16.50 is a bit steep for a pattern but for an uncut pattern you can get in any size you want, not too bad.

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Cookie March 28, 2008 at 12:14 pm

The red one is perfect for a patio party! (I think some old fashioned fabrics was manufactured narrower, as well, so you needed to make up for that in length.)

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RachelMM March 28, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Oooh….I love the second one. I would probably put a little cap sleeve on it to soften it up a bit. I think the neckline is really sharp.

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Theresa March 28, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Miss Kitty! Born too Late Vintage – she has busty patterns.

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Wendy March 28, 2008 at 1:11 pm

The red one is perfect – I’ve seen two blouses with that exact neckline on television – can’t remember who now – and thought I’d love to make something like it.

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Roberta J. March 28, 2008 at 2:42 pm

As a shirtdress lover myself, I simply adore when you post your purchases!!! I think that every single one of these versions deserves to be made, but the yellow one is a true gem! Lovely!

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Toby Wollin March 28, 2008 at 2:47 pm

You are evil, Erin – after reading, I went to the site and snagged the B38 shirtwaist with the two different skirts.http://risingfeenix.com/inc/sdetail/18328 No pockets that I can see, but…hehe…that never stopped me before.

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Jessica March 28, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Can anyone wear a size 14? There is a copy on ebay right now. I considered it but I’m not sure I want to mess with grading it up two sizes.http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=190209279917&_trksid=p3984.cWAT.m240.lVI

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Anonymous March 28, 2008 at 8:49 pm

These comments raise a good question – how much can you alter a pattern? I need that 38 bust, too, but say I really really want this yellow dress and it’s only available in a small size. Then what? What’s the most you’ve ever (successfully) changed a pattern?Dawn

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Anonymous March 28, 2008 at 9:16 pm

As I was clicking on your site was literally thinking, “Wow, it’s linktastic Friday already!” Then I was a little freaked to see it wasn’t a linktastic…I was worried that it wasn’t really Friday. AHHHH! Okay, I’ll survive now that I’ve read that it is indeed Friday. Whew!JenL

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lorrwill March 28, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Dawn go to http://www.sensibility.com/pattern/resizepattern.htmThis might help. I have not used this yet but I have 2 patterns I have to grade (1 up and 1 down).hope this helps!

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India March 29, 2008 at 1:29 am

Oh, I do like that red version (having a little neckline pleat obsession, myself)!Also: Hello! (standing up from my folding chair) My name is India and I am a Compulsive Pattern Layout Compressor. I sometimes arrange the pattern pieces so tightly that the seam allowances overlap in spotswhat’s a little uneven seam allowance, here and there? I usually save about half a yard, I thinkbut I still always buy slightly more fabric than the pattern calls for. Just. In. Case.

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Anonymous March 29, 2008 at 6:45 am

Lorrwill, thanks for that link. I’m going to try that method on a blouse pattern I have that somehow “shrank” in the last few years, then I’ll know if I could do it to other garments. I guess for a vintage pattern you’d want to trace a new one and then cut that instead of cutting up your valuable vintage one, wouldn’t you. Hmmm…this might be fun, actually…sort of like big paper dolls. Thanks!Dawn

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Meg March 29, 2008 at 8:02 am

Red dress is darling. All three are quite lovely. How do you keep up with all of your patterns? I’ve recently scanned and put mine in an album using ThumbsPlus. Not as satisfying as holding it in your hands and checking the instructions, but it’s oh-so-quick.

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Anonymous March 29, 2008 at 8:48 am

The red dress is lovely! Maybe you will need a change from buttons some day… Some of us with very wide hips value center front seams as they break up the broad expanse…

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jenny March 29, 2008 at 11:48 am

I love the red dress, myself… I bought a very similar Spadea pattern a couple of months back; I’m pregnant so I won’t be making it right now but can’t wait for next summer…

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Shay March 29, 2008 at 1:30 pm

go to Google Patents and type in “Design Cashin.” It will return several pages of line drawings for patent filings on Cashin’s dresses. Many of them shirtwaists.

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Kristen March 29, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Hyena: i also do not love the front seam on dress bodices. I just saw that New Look (i think, oh i hope i’m remembering right) has a dress with the EXACT same neckline, but no front seam. *heaven* so i’m thinking i’ll get THAT one, and then try to add the full skirt from one of my vintage patterns. yay!

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Nancy Bea Miller March 30, 2008 at 7:52 am

Adorable! What about the yellow dress style made up in red?

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Jen March 30, 2008 at 11:34 am

I think that modern stretch wovens would have been perfect for that generation. When an illustrator shows a kimono sleeve with such a perfect fit, I know something’s up.Especially a kimono sleeve without a gusset–it’s gotta be looser that that! Never mind the smooth, molded bodice, yea right!red dress: If you can’t wait for this pattern in your size, not to mention grading up for your ‘real girl’ dimensions, maybe McCall’s #5466 will do it for you: http://www.mccallpattern.com/item/M5466.htm. It does have pleating around the neck in front, and you could go from there to make it sleeveless with a gathered skirt.other sizes: You could try to grade those vintage patterns to your measurements, or make your own block to fit, then “super-impose” the details like those collars onto your block. Butterick 5746 and McCalls 2718 would be good to start with. When you really look at the pattern designs (especially the back views are most informative), you can see that most shirt dresses and others come from that basic block. Give it a try. (the red dress is derived from pivoting all the darts up to the neckline, hence the oddly arched bodice pattern, it’s really fun to make this pattern from scratch).right?

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La BellaDonna March 31, 2008 at 12:10 pm

This is just a Courtesy Reminder:If your bust measures 38″, and your cup size is MORE than a BCup (and NO, I don’t mean a “38 B” or a “38 C”), you do NOT want to buy a pattern that says “Bust 38.”That bust is for a B Cup, which measures 38″ around the full bust (across the nipples, around the back). Who wears a 38″ around the bust, B cup? The woman who wears a 36 B Bra. And that, of course, depends on whether or not you’re wearing the right size bra (measure around the ribcage, under the bust; if it’s an odd number, like 31, add 5 to get an even number = 36; if it’s an even number, like 32, add 4 to get an even number = 36; the CUP is the number of inches difference between the final underbust measurement, approximately an inch per cup (not counting A and AA) so if you’re 38″ around the bust, and 31″ or 32″ around the underbust, and you wear a B cup, YOUR bust is the one that’s designed to wear that size 38 bust pattern.If you’re ANYTHING ELSE, it’s math time; you measure by your upper chest, not your full bust, and you buy your pattern AS IF that number was your bust. If you’re a 34D, you’re NOT buying that 38 pattern, because it will SWIM on you. Buy it by your chest measurement, and make a FULL BUST ADJUSTMENT – if that’s the only place your figure is bigger, that’s the only place to make your pattern bigger, otherwise it will NOT fit, and you’ll think something’s wrong with you, or you can’t sew – neither of which is true.

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Beth April 3, 2008 at 9:42 am

I love the center dress most of all! That pattern is so great because it has three really distinct designs.la belladonna: great advice!

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