The weather is turning cooler here and to help make that transition into Fall I finally took my own advice and made myself a Shirt Dress! On my recent trip to New York for fabric shopping, I found this wonderful cotton tribal print. I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but it came home with me. I spent a lot of time analyzing all the shirt dress patterns out there - when you really get into the details there are quite a few differences - and I finally decided on Simplicity 8384.
I wanted a defined waist rather than just a tie to form the waist. I didn't want the waist to be formed by a drawstring or tucks. I love how the dress turned out, but did have a few hiccups along the way! First up, I didn't buy enough fabric when I was in NY and so laying this dress out to cut took 3 hours. In the end, I used a white broadcloth for the pockets and facings and used every available inch of fabric! Bottom line - when fabric shopping, buy more than you think you need!
The second hiccup was the waist. I was surprised that there wasn't a placket going into the skirt to provide for ease of getting the dress on and off., but I ignored that little voice in my head that was raising this issue. The pattern has elastic in the back at the waist and I told myself that would provide the necessary room to get the dress on and off. Well, I should have listened to my little voice. The elastic in the back provides the necessary ease because the elastic pattern guide that comes with the pattern doesn't pull the dress in much at all. If you want to pull the elastic in to give a defined waist, then getting the dress on and off is quite difficult. In the end I went with the defined waist and will remember to never wear this dress to go shopping to try on clothes!
I added a ruffle collar to give the dress a little more of a feminine detail. My inspiration was this post by one of my favorite French bloggers. (Scroll down to see the dress). The ruffle is formed from a simple strip of fabric. To get the length, I simply measured the length of the collar band, and multiplied it by 1.5 . The width is 4 inches. I narrow hemmed the ruffle, gathered it with two lines of gathering thread and attached it to the collar band before finishing the collar band with its facing. I also modified the pattern by eliminating the handkerchief hemline.. I did this by using View A which has a straight hem and just measuring up to the length I wanted. I also added a fabric tie which I wish was longer, but was as long as I could make it with the fabric I had!
With a light sweater this is the perfect Fall outfit! I hope you try stitching yourself a shirt dress this Fall (and please forgive the wrinkles - I wore the dress to church before I took the pictures!).