Back to Shirtdresses

by Erin on April 30, 2008

mail order pattern 9120

I swear I was going to post about something other than shirtdresses today, but Mary Fran sent me the link to this one, and I could not resist. It's up at MOMSPatterns and it's only $8.50. (And it's only not MINE because it's a B39, and if there's anything I hate more than grading UP, it's grading DOWN.)

I love the little pointy collar, the front skirt seams just scream "pocketize me!" and those gathers at the shoulder just make me swoon. I should add "shoulder gathers" that to the list of my "triggers"β€”isn't it true that once you're aware of your triggers, you can change them (if you want to)? My trigger list would probably read "penny loafers, robots, sarcasm, Peter Pan collars, synthesized handclaps, Adidas Gazelles (on guys), books that smell like old books, red lipsticks (which I never wear) …" Actually, looking over that list, I don't think I want to change any of those triggers. (Except maybe to start wearing the damn lipstick.) Oh, well.

Before I forget I should let y'all know that Janet at Lanetz Living is going to Mexico. Why should you care that Janet is going to Mexico? Because she's using it as an excuse to have a sale! You can take 25% off on all orders from now until she comes home next Tuesday. The sale will end at Midnight (CST) on 5/6/08. Use the coupon discount code "Mexico25". It needs to be entered on the shipping page as one word. (If you try to put a space between Mexico and 25 it will not work.) And, as always, Janet offers free shipping with 3 or more patterns … and patterns will continue to ship out while Janet's on the beach.

Oh — I really like the idea of Sept. 1 being "wear a dress day," as proposed in the comments on yesterday's post. Let's start working on the logistics, people!

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Adaora A. April 30, 2008 at 11:50 am

Everyday is wear a dress day for me. Hense why this blog is to me like food for a hungry baby. Dresses, dresses, all the time.


melissa April 30, 2008 at 11:52 am

dammit! Ok – fess up, who bought it? I thought I’d be quick on the trigger and I’m a B38.5 I thought it was meant to be…But alas. Someone got there first.(I’m in love with the integrated shoulder-sleeve-pocket flaps. BWOF had a recent shoulder/pocket flap shirt, but this is an order of magnitude even better!)


Becky S April 30, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I love the idea of Wear-A-Dress Day, but you do realize that Sept 1 is Labor Day, don’t you? Not to be a wet blanket, but it might have more effect on Sept 2 unless picnicking, swimming, boating, parading, and conducting other traditional Labor Day activities in skirts appeal to you.


Stephanie April 30, 2008 at 12:57 pm

It was me! I got it! Long time reader, first time commenter. I am new to sewing, and when I found this blog, I was immediately hooked. I love the idea have having a wear a dress day!


Erin April 30, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Red lipstick might be a trigger for me, too, but I can’t wear it. It makes me look like a clown.


mre de famille April 30, 2008 at 1:32 pm

I love the idea of “wear a dress day,” even though I’m one of those heretical folks who often wears dresses over pants (hey, my legs get cold). But Erin, how could you have missed the opportunity to comment on how the woman in the pattern picture seems to be consulting with the Giant Shirt Dress Deity, possibly regarding something about which she is not pleased? I really think you should remedy this as soon as possible!


Theresa April 30, 2008 at 2:59 pm

I think should all wear dresses in dress prints…or maybe that hunky construction worker fabric… being that it’s labor day and all. (Think it’s a Henry Miller…Maybe Robert Kaufman. ) Anyone know what I am talking about?


Anonymous April 30, 2008 at 3:04 pm

And I thought I was the only one cheesy enough to admit to loving synthesized hand clapping.


Pencils April 30, 2008 at 3:14 pm

I’m going to be nine months pregnant on September 1st. Not sure I’ll have a dress that fits at that point. But I’ll do my best!


Allison April 30, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Sept.1 is my wedding anniversary, so an excellent day to wear a dress in my books. :)I’m still waiting for my copy of Butterick 4790 in the mail, but maybe I’ll have it made up by then. I do have to figure out how to add pockets though. Maybe patch pockets will be the easiest. I’d love to see some suggestions on this from more experienced seamstresses, since it seems to have been a very popular dress in the blogosphere.


Joni April 30, 2008 at 3:45 pm

If you’re into shoulder gathers, Butterick 5030 is a nice one…


Theresa April 30, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Here is the fabric I mentioned:, on the pockets for the Walkaway – I thought you could cut the circle part into 3, instead of 2 like in the pattern –and put one of those “mitten without the thumb looking’ pockets in the side seams you now have instead of the one center pack seam. I made a bad sketch of this idea and sent it to Erin eons ago. I could email it to you Allison, Maybe, if I can find you blog.


S in London April 30, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Yay! I have that pattern (or something incredibly similar). I love it. Do you think it is too complicated for a beginner? All I have made so far is a skirt, some aprons and an endless procession of shoft dresses.Sxx


astrojen April 30, 2008 at 7:57 pm

I am all for Wear A Dress Day, especially it being a holiday .I long for the day when dresses are the norm as casual dress;.it seems we have so, so lost such a wonderful age of feminine elegance. Personaly, I hate pants. Even for a picnic. Let ” Dresses, Dresses, Dresses ” be our mantra!Of course a cute skirt and top will work for me too :)Jen


lorrwill April 30, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Triggers? I gotz dem.Like raglan sleeves, forward shoulder seams, any kind of walking pleat (as opposed to an open vent), cute/retro hats (even though I don’t have any)…I could go on and on. Nothing to change here – heck I am just getting in touch with my triggers. We are still on honeymoon, y’all.And we could change the Dress Day to Dress Week or Dress Month, join in as you can (I hope to have enough skirts and dresses by then to make it a full month!)Dresses! Dresses! Dresses! Long live the FRA!


Kelly May 1, 2008 at 2:54 am

Thanks Erin for this great post today. I have only the skirt portion of this pattern,,and your post and Joni’s comment about the butterick pattern gave me the inspiration to frankenstien the two together. So I can actually make this after waiting forever for another McCall 7854 to show up. Believe me when I say it has been many many years waiting, because I really do not know how to draft a pattern. I know one is a wrap front and one is a shirt front.. but I will figure it out.. how hard could it be anyway. :) I dont know why I never though of it before. Thanks again!k


charlotte carroll May 1, 2008 at 7:57 am

Erin, in my recent attempt to sew for myself, I made New Look 6587 shirtwaist dress. I am now receiving comments from friends that I look like an Amish person or an 18th century peasant. I did lengthen the sleeves to three quarter length as it was for the winter and used a solid Liberty baby blue feather cord. What would be your response to this criticism?


charlotte carroll May 1, 2008 at 8:02 am

oh… re the a dress a day day…I am all about it. I love gardening, farming, playing sports, and doing anything in a dress. why not? YAY for Labor Day dress wearing. oh… Science of Sexy is a great book on how to choose a dress style that will compliment your body type… I use it while choosing patterns too. :)


Theresa May 1, 2008 at 8:12 am

Charlotte Carroll – I would say,”Oh Thank you!” It will confuse them.


Erin May 1, 2008 at 9:23 am

I’m with Theresa — I’d say something like “how kind of you!” Or “I can show you how to make your own!”


DivaJean May 1, 2008 at 10:22 am

I think I will wear dresses the whole first WEEK of September- just to make sure I prove our point.I have many of the same triggers- especially red lipstick- and I’m not afraid to wear it. Red and black are the most striking colors on me- and I work it baby!My other triggers would have to be: certain dolls (right now its American Girl, Sunshine Family & Kewpie dolls); redwork embroidery; lotions and skin care. I used to have a candle trigger- but with 4 kids under age 10, I only have a few candles in the emergency power outage box.


La BellaDonna May 1, 2008 at 11:32 am

Charlotte Carroll, I expect you look lovely in your dress!Depends on how snarky you feel about the person commenting. A polite “… And?” in response might be enough to puzzle them. Really, how are YOU supposed to take that comment? If you’ve heard it sixty-eleven times that day, a lighthearted, “You don’t get out much, do you?” might stop them. In point of fact, I’ve been at events where I’ve been more covered up than the Amish girls attending! I’ve also been either more covered up than the girls in their 18th Century outfits, or more showily dressed; I remember having someone taking my picture at a Civil War reenactment. I protested that I wasn’t in costume, and they didn’t care; it was just because they liked what I was wearing! Come to think of it, Theresa and Erin are right in there with a good response; at least the Amish girls and women, and the 18thCentury folks, look like ladies!In fact, you can always respond, “At least I don’t look like Paris Hilton!!”


Kristen May 1, 2008 at 11:53 am

I am so into wearing a dress on Sept 1! i’m telling all my friends. :)


Hana May 1, 2008 at 12:19 pm

September 1? Great; I’m putting it down in my day-planner. πŸ˜‰ By that time I will hopefully have finished at least one dress. πŸ˜€ And if not, I still have those I got from somebody…


charlotte carroll May 2, 2008 at 6:50 am

My first thought was, I like the way the Amish dress… Not necessarily figure flattering ..but they are wearing Dresses and they do look feminine. all great responses. I will put them to use immediately. Btw… the pattern turned out to fit my hourglass shape perfectly! Amazing how dresses just do that! and Paris Hilton’s type clothing DOESN’T unless you are shaped like a 10 year old BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not a woman who has birthed subsequent children!Thanks Erin and others for your comments. they are much appreciated. And! thanks for this fabulous BLOG! I love it.


vintage1960s May 4, 2008 at 11:56 am

Hello, this is a great blog, I plan to read more…does anyone know where I can buy cotton dresses that are new but are based on 1940’s to 1960’s styles? I would like to buy some dresses that have natural waistlines, short to medium sleeves, full or a-line skirts. They don’t seem to have them anywhere. I have seen some cotton dresses in stores recently but they all have spaghetti straps. I can’t sew. Thanks!


La BellaDonna May 6, 2008 at 11:49 am

Vintage1960s, I don’t know how much luck you’ll have with finding cotton clothes, but some websites you can go to are: for slightly earlier, but extraordinary: hunting!


Fashion Maze May 19, 2008 at 4:33 am

Hey I like that vintage pattern you have there. i just remember my mothers old dress she wear on her picture when she was just on her 20’s.


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