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.)

16 thoughts on “It's another shirt-shirtdress!

  1. Oh, that is FUN! I couldn’t see the Flickr-hosted pics – was that just me…? Met a Japanese upcycler a while back whose speciality was making a skirt out of (I think) 8 men’s striped shirts, possibly just the backs. Resulting skirt fairly full with just a simple elasticated waist. Looked amazing.

    Haven’t landed here in an age for a slew of reasons (filed miscellaneously under ‘life’) and feel horribly neglectful. All the dresses I’ve missed… Will you accept a sick note? :-/


  2. Love this idea. I’m sad that I don’t like dresses much (really, it’s my legs I don’t like), but I could just about see me wearing something like this on holiday in Spain (it’s too cold here in the NE of England for most cotton things without an added layer somewhere). BTW I just finished reading your book The Secret Lives of Dresses. In spite of soaking 3 hankies, I read it through in less than a day and loved every bit of it. Well done!


  3. Please do a tutorial! This is too wonderful. Can you tell us how to place the darts and maybe even give an elementary lesson on piping?


  4. I have an addiction to shirt dresses. There is something effortless chic about a collared dress. You can throw on a jacket, sweater, or heels and it instantly changes the look.


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