It's another shirt-shirtdress!

I finally found the right old shirt to complete this particular shirt-shirtdress: shirt-shirtdress

I’ve made this particular … can’t really call it a pattern; let’s call it an agglomeration, okay? twice before. (This one I blogged about.)

Here’s the back:
shirt-shirtdress back

I made the back panel wider this go-around, and used the same shirt for the back side and pocket panels (and you can see that there are three different sizes/shades of gray gingham here, and no, I didn’t match any of them):
shirt-shirtdress: I put pockets in my pockets

My favorite, favorite part of this dress is putting the front shirt pocket as the pocket panel. For some reason this just pleases me all out of proportion to how much use that little pocket will actually get. But EVEN MY POCKETS HAVE POCKETS, y’all.

I also like making sure the front center skirt piece has a pocket in it. I have put back otherwise lovely shirts at Goodwill if they lack this essential element:

shirt-shirtdress: lotsa pockets

The piping above isn’t made from shirts, it’s some bought-in-NYC Japanese piping I had left over from a gray chambray Simplicity 2389 that I don’t think I’ve posted about yet. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. The buttonholes didn’t really line up well at the center front (you can see here how one buttonhole is actually caught in the waist seam) so I just made a new one (that’s the second buttonhole down). No worries.

shirt-shirtdress rebuttonholing

My second-favorite bit of making these shirt-shirtdresses is unpicking the front pocket, sewing the darts, then sewing the pocket back down over the darts. Which you can’t really tell from this picture, but that’s what I did:
shirt-shirtdress dart and pocket

Matching the shirttail hem is also very satisfying — especially at the sides:
more shirt-shirtdress hem

And, of course, using some of the shirt fabric to make bias tape to finish the sleeves:
shirt-shirtdress sleeve

(The sleeve opening is actually a bit too wide here — next time I’m going to see if I can actually shorten the sleeve and gather it into the sleeve cuff from a different shirt. We’ll see if I can find some XXL shirt with big cuffs to go around my biceps …)

Fabric-wise, this dress took 2 extra-large, 1 large, and 1 medium shirt (for the bodice). The extra-large shirts really make it easier to match up the side panel hem curves without having to use part of the sleeve underarm (never the best part of a secondhand shirt!) at the top of the skirt side panels.

I have one more of these cut out (in different shades/sizes of *blue* gingham) and I hope to take some construction pictures to roll up into an eventual tutorial … these are really not hard to make. (The hardest part is finding the coordinating shirts.)

A shirtdress MADE OF SHIRTS

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.

The Hundred Dresses: Day 77

Today’s dress is another Simplicity 5232, in a Liberty print that I don’t know the name of. I don’t know why I don’t make this more often …

Liberty print Simplicity 5232

Oh wait, maybe I do … it’s a pretty labor-intensive dress.

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 bodice

Yellow buttons again. I really like yellow buttons.

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 buttons

Towards the end I realized that the buttonholes were going to need more reinforcement than the Liberty Tana lawn was capable of, so I quick-and-dirty basted some silk organza down the front facing:

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 organza reinforcement

This dress is five years old, and the bias tape I used to finish the collar was probably about fifty years old, going by the original packaging. So it’s showing its age a bit:

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 collar binding

I topstitched the collar, for pretty much no reason:

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 back collar

The funniest thing about this dress: I’m pretty sure I put in that back bodice piece upside down. I just eased it until it worked. Oh well!

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 back bodice

I don’t have a full-length back picture of this one, for some reason.

The Hundred Dresses: Day 47

Here’s Simplicity 6894 again, in the better red than dead edition:

red poplin Simplicity 6894

I really love the IDEA of this particular dress, but the actual instantiation of it is problematic. Mostly because this fabric wrinkles like a Shar-Pei. It took all my weight on the iron to get it as smooth as it is in these photos:
red poplin Simplicity 6894 bodice

The pleats turned out well, though, didn’t they?
red poplin Simplicity 6894 bodice 2

And the side zip?
red poplin Simplicity 6894 side zip

More evidence of the essentially wrinkly nature of this dress:
red poplin Simplicity 6894 back 2

And the back:
red poplin Simplicity 6894 back

I’d like to make this dress over again but I’m thinking I should go more Classic Villager and do it in some teeny tiny prints. I just bought some Japanese Liberty from Jones and Vandermeer (on sale!) that might be a good candidate for this pattern … or maybe in red again, so I can salvage those buttons, but something not so crinkly. Thoughts?

 

The Hundred Dresses: Day 46

You’ve seen this dress before … it’s Simplicity 6894:
brown roses Simplicity 6894 front

This dress was the trial-run version of this pattern. I believe I altered it to include pockets (which are very hard to see in this busy fabric, but there’s a picture in the link to the previous post) and (of course) adjusted the waist measurement. Also I knew I was going to need practice with these tucks:
brown roses Simplicity 6894 bodice

After making this I got a great tip from readers of this blog: make the tucks in the YARDAGE first, then cut out the pieces (with the tucks folded up on the pattern piece) on top of it. It’s so much easier! (And of course, with that method, you can do tucks on just about any pattern that you like, as long as you allow for dart placement, etc.)
brown roses Simplicity 6894 bodice

This is very old vintage fabric — I believe it was 36 inches wide — and I didn’t like it much to start with (thus its role as trial-run fabric) but it’s really grown on me. I love that dark gray and camel combo. I don’t love so much the sloppy collar points:
brown roses Simplicity 6894 collar

The side zip is okay. (For those of you asking “WHY ALL THE SIDE ZIPS?” I will do a post about that soon.)
brown roses Simplicity 6894 side zip

And … here’s the back.
brown roses Simplicity 6894 back

This dress turned out slightly over-large, but that makes it pretty comfy. (And easier to ride a bike in than it may look.)

 

The Hundred Dresses: Day 45

So this is the same dress as yesterday (SimplicityVogue 5121), but was made earlier … this was the trial run:

floral Vogue 5121

Does anyone have a favorite source for inexpensive, brightly-colored buttons? My local fabric stores tend toward the bejeweled and the overly-representative (cats, soccer balls, etc.) I was hoping to find turquoise buttons but I like the yellow more now that I see it in the photo:
floral Vogue 5121 front bodice

The zipper. Semi-related question, if anyone knows: when you’re altering a bodice to allow for more … padding … in the waistish region, occasionally I feel like the sides of the bodice slope down a bit more than they ought. Anyone have a link to a good tutorial? My cursory investigations have only gotten me so far.
floral Vogue 5121 side zip

This collar was made before I read Kathleen’s instructions. See the difference? See that roll in the wrong direction? It’s terrible. (Luckily it’s at the back of my neck so I don’t see it very often.) I would take it off and redo it … but … (looks off into the middle distance, whistles).
floral Vogue 5121 rolling collar 2

Sleeve finished with bias tape, as per usual:
floral Vogue 5121 sleeve hem

The back view:
floral Vogue 5121 back

This is my absolute favorite kind of fabric for a trial run. First, it was cheap. (I think maybe under $3/yard? Might have been a dollar-a-yard wonder, even.) It’s also a nice mid-weight poplin, so I don’t have to worry about fabric being too lightweight and floaty or too stiff and unyielding. And most importantly, it is SO BUSY that I could have created & mended a giant triangular tear in the front of the bodice and you wouldn’t even notice from further than a foot away. Cheap and busy are probably the most important criteria for “wearable muslin” first drafts with new patterns, in my opinion. I mean, there’s a center-back seam in that picture right above, and not only did I not try to match the pattern, I’m not sure if it would have made any difference if I had …

 

The Hundred Dresses: Day 37

Let’s take a quick break from Vogue 9929 for a blast from the past: Simplicity 5232!

This one was the first one I made, and I still take it out every once in a while, even though it doesn’t fit quite right (I shortened the bodice too much, so the waistline is a bit high):

gray Simplicity 5232 front

I used some rickrack on the collar (don’t worry I still have plenty left):

gray Simplicity 5232 collar

Here’s the back, I really like the yoke although of course it’s like five “extra” steps (when compared to a yokeless dress):

gray Simplicity 5232 back bodice

Slightly closer look at collar/yoke:

gray Simplicity 5232 back collar

 

I put cording in the front seam, for no good reason other than because I felt like it:
gray Simplicity 5232 front piping

And the full-length back:

gray Simplicity 5232 back

This was part of my fabric haul from Japan. I still have several pieces from that haul I haven’t even sewn up yet … and one I just used a couple of weeks ago.

Looking at this dress again makes me want to make another Simplicity 5232 … it’s going on the list.