Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Clad in plaid

I deemed today cool enough to wear one of ma newbies; a plaid shirtdress made using pattern no. 111 from Burdastyle magazine 05/2010.  Naturally with a one or two little adaptions...
The brushed cotton is stash fabric I've had for yonks, and have finally got around to using... actually initially intended for a shirt for one of the boys but I decided to be selfish and waylaid it for my own devious purposes instead, mwahaha.  The reason for my lack of motherly thoughtfulness; when I was out shopping the other week I tried on a delightful little plaid shirtdress in Country Road and fell in love with the style.  Had to have one.  Just had to.  So searched through my pattern collection until I found this suitable candidate and added to it some features that were absent from the pattern but are nice finishing touches for a classic shirtdress.  
My alterations to the pattern were namely, the addition of buttoned arrowhead tabs to the shoulders and also inside the sleeves so the sleeves can be rolled up and buttoned to elbow length (probably the way I will wear it most of the time!), the addition of inseam side pockets (well, really, why are these not in the pattern anyway, hmmm? tut tut, just no excuse, imo), and hemming the lower edge in a nice classic shirt curve.  Plus, instead of the straight up and down side seams of the original, mine is shaped slightly to give it some vague hint of a waist.  
Also I left off the belt carriers, which in the magazine photograph (below right) show the belt to be at a supremely unflattering spot just above the hips, and just underneath the tummy.  Err, no...  And incidentally this is right where one would want one's pockets to go anyway.  If I am going to wear a belt with this dress, it will be up around the waist where it should be.  I love Burdastyle magazine, but just occasionally their styling options leave a bit to be desired...
Oh, and please note, it may not be obvious from the photo but my plaids front and back match up perfectly!  Plaids not matching up is one of those little things that I find pretty irritating if I see it... (yah, neurotic, I know)
Below is the review I submitted to Pattern Review, if you're interested.

Dress; Burdastyle magazine 05-2010-111 with minor alterations, brushed cotton
Shoes; Bronx, from Zomp shoes
Sunnies; RayBan

Pattern Description:
Slightly flared shirt-waister with long front polo fastening and flapped breast pockets
Pattern Sizing:
38-46,  I sewed a size 38.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you had finished sewing it?
Pretty much.  I added some bits and made a few variations.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the basic pattern.  It was a bit too basic for what I had in mind, so I added a few details.
Fabric Used:
brushed cotton
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I added buttoned arrowhead tabs to the shoulders (purely decorative) and also to inside the sleeves so the sleeves can be rolled up to elbow length and buttoned in place.
I added inseam side pockets.
On my version the straight up-and-down side seams are slightly shaped to give some vague hint of a waist.
I omitted the belt carriers because I saw no need for them, also to put the inseam pockets at this level of the dress.  If I wear a belt with this I will have it around the waist.
I put only one button and buttonhole on each of the breast pocket flaps, because I thought the two buttons per flap looked a little fiddly and would be annoying to open and close.
The lower edge I hemmed in a nice curved classic shirt curve.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
If I needed another shirtdress I probably would use this pattern.  And I would definitely recommend it to others as a good basic pattern.
Great pattern, very easy to make, and I love it!  I wasn't initially excited by the picture in the magazine of this dress, well to be brutally honest my first impression was that it looked awful, and outdated.  I think the belt was the problem.  But with the little added extras, lifted from RTW mens' shirts and ladies shirtdresses I've seen around, I'm now super happy with how it turned out.


  1. very impressive - and look how nicely it goes with your new shoes! I do love a good shirt dress but the lack of waist shaping on that one had me worried ... I like how you worked your way around that problem.

  2. awesome dress, just the right fit to! I really want to make something like this in chambray..

    love your sewing project Carolyn!


  3. Hello! I found you in Burda Style! I love your creation! I think it will be good for me to start since you said it's simple.
    I grew up with a sewing mom, and now that I love far and I cant enjoy her machine anymore I decided to start sewing myself.
    I am getting a sewing machine I am not sure which on, would you mind if I ask you what kind of machine do you own, or which one would be better to sew a dress like that, and maybe something more complicated.
    I have a blog too, but I mostly post about my vegetable garden. love you blog!

  4. I love the casual vibe. All of the extra details are perfect touches. Beautiful sewing!

  5. Thankyou! I did a post on my sewing machines that i use... it can be found here for those interested
    My sewing machine is a 20yr old Janome that is veeery basic. I love it.

  6. This is so cute! You look so very elegant and gorgeous in your previous post.

    Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog post about my pregnancy.

  7. Looks nice and comfortable!
    I have one shirt-dress that looks quite similar to this, made from Burda pattern. It was one of my most favorite things for quite long time but fabric is out of wear already... well i wore it a lot as i said =)

  8. Those are some seriously awesome shoes. The shirt dress is awesome, too. I like the shirt tail hem.

  9. You did it again, has made an original dress, cute, casual but elegant. Love your style!

  10. Very cute dress, I really like the plaid fabric.

  11. I´ve already said it over a flicr, but I´ve been wanting to make a dress like that for a while - might just do it one day now..

    And the shoes? I read the earlier posts about them - they are so adorable, I instantly tried to find them in Swedish webshops, with no such luck. Must try harder...

    You look great!

  12. Your version is SO much better than the original! Great additions, methinks. I'm still blissing on the fact that you gave a shirtdress SHAPE. Usually they're too straight and decidedly unfeminine. This is cute!

    And yes, the purple sweater on my blog was the one I wore to the airport. That was such a great day!

  13. Mmmm, I've been yearning after a shirt dress too after seeing so many versions in the last several months. My favorite was worn by a graduate student friend of ours, fitted top, full full skirt, belted - so feminine. I really like yours too, though never would have thought of it myself - I especially like the curved hem - and you are right, the belt loops in the drawing - why?? I bet you'll get some use in the winter with leggings too, it's a good length for that. It looks cool and airy ...

  14. This is the perfect "transition" dress for those in between summer/fall days. It's great!

    (As are the shoes - they rock.)

  15. Ooh, very nice. Definitely autumnal, without being too heavy.

  16. I was amazed by how well fitted the dress is and how good it looks.
    And than it hit me - It's not the dress that makes you amazing, it's you that makes the dress looking good!

  17. oooh, love love love!!!! (But I must say that you have such pretty legs! sorry, but it had to be said! ;D )