Another Shirt-shirtdress

Remember my erstwhile obsession with making shirtdresses out of shirts?

It’s back.

I started this time with (again) the Seamwork Veronica, because it’s easy to make and to wear, and the panel version (for subscribers) is a perfect target for weirdnesses such as this:

shirt-shirtdress blue gingham

This particular dress is made out of (I think) four men’s shirts of varying gingham and stripe patterns (I tried really hard to find all different ginghams but ended up with the stripes, which I think worked out okay).

I thought about trying to cut the waistband so that it too would unbutton, but the placket width was slightly off (and I was more than slightly lazy).

But I remembered to take construction pictures this time! So here’s how I cut out that center front skirt panel from the front of a shirt—I extended the front panel to include the curved hem.

shirt-shirtdress construction center front skirt 3

Here’s a closeup:

shirt-shirtdress construction center front skirt 2

Basically, I created a new pattern piece for the full center front panel (since it’s too hard to put buttons on the fold) and drew a line to mark the CF, which I could then line up over the center of the buttons in the shirt. (I did the same for the CF bodice and CB bodice & skirt pieces [not pictured]).

For the CB, I was able to keep the locker loop and yoke, which I always like (but not enough to go out of my way to sew myself, oh no):

shirt-shirtdress back bodice with locker loop

The pocket backing is cut on the bias from the sleeve (men’s shirt sleeves have a lot of fabric in them):

shirt-shirtdress construction pocket facing cutting on bias

Here it is, constructed:
shirt-shirtdress pocket + piping

A little in-progress view of the bodice:
shirt-shirtdress construction

This is right after I resewed the front pocket to overlap the side bodice piece — I usually use washaway tape to hold the pocket in place while I sew, because otherwise things go badly.

Here’s the full back view:
shirt-shirtdress back

You can almost see that there’s a shirttail hem on the back, to mimic the one on the front—here’s a closer photo of that:
shirt-shirtdress curved hem piecing

And the piecing of that, since I couldn’t get the curved hems on the shirts to match up well with the pieces I was cutting. (I actually like how this turned out better …)

I just took the curved hem bits I had left over and eyeballed how they should match the front skirt, like so:

curved hem eyeballing

Then it was just a matter of making sure I had seam allowance on the other side, too:

shirt-shirtdress curved hem construction pinning

Finished result:
shirt-shirtdress curved hem construction

Unless you already have a lot of old men’s shirts lying around, making a shirtdress out of shirts is not that much less expensive than buying yardage (at least not in SF, where a decent shirt at a thrift store will cost you $5-9, depending on condition and whether or not it’s on 50% off sale that day). It takes 4-5 L or XL shirts for one dress, and I try to limit myself to shirts that are unwearable as shirts when I can—ones with stained cuffs, frayed collars, or minor holes that I can work around. I hear tell there’s a Goodwill warehouse in Burlingame that has a ‘pay-by-the-pound’ sale, but I haven’t gone yet—if you’ve gone, feel free to leave your report in the comments!

I want to make a version that is all different flannel plaids for fall, but finding coordinating flannel plaids on intermittent thrift-store trips is a loooooooong project. (It’d would also be fun to make one in Hawaiian-shirt prints, or one in novelty prints … )

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Coffee Candy, Ranked

[This is not a post about dresses, so if you only want to read about dresses, please either scroll down or wait until I post something else, thanks!]

A few weeks ago I was in SF’s Japantown and found that the grocery there (Nijiya Market) sells my favorite coffee-flavored candy, coffeebeat. (I love this stuff and hadn’t been able to find it for ages, so this made me very happy!)

Also, it has the BEST packaging:
Coffeebeat

Coffee candy is odd, in that it melds something that is considered ‘for grownups’ (coffee) with something that’s for kids (candy). This narrow audience of immature adults and/or precocious children means that there isn’t a ton of coffee-flavored candy out there. (I’m deliberately leaving out high-end fancy chocolate that includes coffee.)

“Erin,” you might be saying (and are saying for the purposes of me setting up this blog post) “If coffeebeat is your favorite coffee candy, how do all the other available coffee candies rank against it?” I’m so glad you asked, imaginary blog interlocutor! Here, I will rank all the best coffee-flavored candies for you!

NB: I don’t actually like to DRINK coffee (other than cold brew) so none of these candies are ranked by how well they replicate the experience of drinking a hot cup of coffee.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. coffeebeat

I know we covered this above, but coffeebeat’s particular blend of coffee, chocolate, and a crunchy candy shell, plus the adorable packaging, puts coffeebeat at the top of the coffee-candy list.

2. Coffee Crisp

Does what it says on the package: is coffee-flavored, is crisp. (In the small print you will also find that this is Canadian.) These are addictive and my son knows that if he brings me back one of these when he returns home from college I will do all his laundry without complaint, which makes this a pretty powerful candy bar.

3. Coffee Nips

These are delicious, but terrifyingly sticky and the sworn enemy of dental work. You can lose a filling just opening the box. (I imagine unscrupulous dentists keeping bowls of these in their waiting rooms.) Nips come in other flavors, including Butter Rum, which is what you buy when you think Werther’s are for whippersnappers.

4. Coffee Rio

 

Coffee Rio is a kinder, gentler Coffee Nip (at least, texture-wise) which comes in more coffee flavors (although I’ve never seen anyone eat the Raspberry Mochas, and I would be slightly weirded out if you told me those were your favorite, but de gustibus, whatever). These are easier to find, being carried by most Trader Joe’s, and come in sugar-free versions, too.

5. Hopjes

Hopjes taste a little more on the bitter side to me, but they have the best typography (after coffeebeat, of course) so that’s a definite plus. They’re also usually available at bulk or penny-candy shops (for grandma? I don’t know, several of the Amazon reviews for Hopjes mention grandmas) which makes them more accessible.

6. Sperlari-Lavazza

These are a hard candy that have a soft center, but not a liquid one (this is an important distinction). Sperlari candies are also classy, because they’re Italian, but the best Sperlari candies are the anise ones.

7. Bali’s Best Coffee

The espresso and latte flavors have fillings that can be a little grainy (and disconcerting if you weren’t expecting them) but the plain coffee flavor is delightful and not too strong.

8. Kopiko

Kopiko is a fine (and caffeinated) coffee candy that comes individually wrapped. Kopiko is great for when you have a sore throat but still want to maintain the pretense that you are a working person doing work things like a worker (but should really just be zonked out on the couch with those lozenges that make you think of yodeling).

9. CoffeeGo

CoffeeGo’s schtick is that they replace coffee. They do not. They also do not replace candy. I’m not sure what they replace.

10. Pocket Coffee

You might think it’s called “Pocket Coffee” because it’s convenient to keep in your pocket, but I suspect (from the taste) that the coffee in Pocket Coffee is actually brewed from pocket lint. If you are old enough to remember liquid-center chewing gum, and are thinking “huh, I’d like to experience that again, only with cold espresso,” then maybe this is for you.

 

I haven’t tried the coffee Werther’s, this Brazilian coffee candy, these suspiciously-unreviewed Coffee Drops, or these Woogie Fine Drops (the sellers describe eating them as “sinking into an abyss of rich and succulent coffee flavor”, so be warned).

I may have tried these French hard candies in junior high school (they look familiar and are supposedly available at Epcot (!) which makes them exactly the kind of thing I would have purchased at 13) and these Simpkins coffee “travel sweets”, but I have no firm recollection of either, just that at one point I had a nice round tin with coffee candy in it, which I later used to hold my D&D dice.

If you have a favorite coffee candy, feel free to rave about it in the comments!