A shirtdress MADE OF SHIRTS

by Erin on August 15, 2014

So as you all already know, I love shirtdresses. Love ‘em. Buy tons of shirtdress patterns! Which then languish, mostly unmade, in my sewing lair.

Because, as it turns out, I love shirtdresses, and I really really love shirting fabric, but I am not really enthused about:

  • sewing buttonholes
  • making plackets
  • creating collar stands

So a while back I saw a really cute project where someone (uh, Martha Stewart) had used an old men’s shirt to make a dress for a little girl, and I thought, “Hey, what about …”

Shirt-shirtdress front

Behold, a shirtdress made of old men’s shirts. Here’s the bodice, which uses the collar and placket and sleeves of a man’s shirt.

Shirt-shirtdress bodice

I kept the collar buttons for the center skirt piece, because: why not?

Shirt-shirtdress skirt front

The sleeves are bound in bias tape made from (you guessed it) shirts.

Shirt-shirtdress sleeves

Different bindings for each sleeve. Note the visible french seam here in the bias binding, I really liked it.

Shirt-shirtdress sleeves (#2)

The skirt is an adapted BurdaStyle Heidi skirt! And as you know, I think you can never have enough pockets:

Shirt-shirtdress shirt/skirt pocket

I originally made this too long, but I really liked the effect of keeping the shirt-tail hem as the “skirt-tail” hem. So I just cut the hem off, then reattached it with more “made from a shirt” piping. (I very rarely meet a seam that is not improved by piping.)

Shirt-shirtdress hem & piping

Here you can see the color-blocking of the different shirting patterns, and the SECRET POCKET inside the pocket.

Shirt-shirtdress pocket and skirt (with bonus pocket)

Each pocket has a secret pocket. Oh and I piped the pocket edges with more bias trim made from a shirt, because why not?

Shirt-shirtdress side pocket and skirt with bonus pocket

Here’s the (inexpertly-ironed, it was late) back view:

Shirt-shirtdress back

I wore the longer version of this last weekend and loved it. SO comfortable and fun to wear (although the previously very long length made it more difficult to walk in, and weirdly made it feel slightly more “Japanese designer” than my usual efforts). Thus the skirt-shortening.

Because I like how this turned out so much, I plan to make another one (or possibly two — I bought a lot of old shirts at Goodwill!) and post a full tutorial. You know, the kind with instructions and pictures and everything. (I have a few tweaks I’d like to try, like maybe doing tucks instead of darts in the bodice and making the skirt fuller with a wider center panel.) This is really ridiculously easy to do, once you have the model of how it should work straight in your head. (The tricky parts to figure out were how to bodice-ize the shirt and how to get the skirt hems to line up nicely.) Everything else is a “simple matter of engineering”, as they say.

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