Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Valentine's Vintage Shirt dress

Sorry to make you all horribly jealous, cue chants of 'my manfriend is better than yours', but this year the man with the gammon shaped ears I call mine got me FABRIC for valentine's day. Forget the flowers, chocolates or love notes (you might all be sick if I tell you I got one of those too). FABRIC. I could have wailed with happiness.

After By Hand London, Sew Over It were the next brand of patterns I tried as I embarked on my journey learning to sew nearly four years ago. They have remained a favourite ever since. Having never threaded a needle, the manfriend pays incredible interest in my sewing, and he has followed Sew Over It for as long as I have. He automatically shouts 'Hello Lisa' at the beginning of each vlog; he is on their mailing list and even texts me to ask me what I think of the latest pattern release (often beating me to it!). A couple of valentine's ago he contacted the team to ask if I could pattern test for them - it was quite a surprise when I got an email from the team! It was beautifully timed, and I was very lucky enough to test the Vintage Shirt Dress. At the time this was a bit of a stretch for my skills. I had never sewn a collar, and the construction was a lot more complicated than anything I had tried before. But I did it!

I kept doing it. Next came The Garden of Heavenly Delights Dress...

I ended up unpicking the sleeves after a couple of wears as I found them a little full at the shoulder. I wear it ALL the time now it is sleeveless.

Then came this African Wax number that I made for a friend.

Now, back to the dress of the moment. My man picked me out these two beauties from the Sew Over It.

Originally I was planning on making the Alex Shirt dress from the Capsule Wardrobe, but I'm a little worried about the fit at the sleeve and shoulder. I'm very slight in the shoulder, and my measurements come in a little below the smallest size (I have tiny bones). I'm worried that the over-sized fit might swamp me at the shoulder - anyone made the Alex shirt dress? Thoughts? The long and short of it, though, was that I just fancied a nice simple sew. I didn't want to spend time making a toile. I will make the Alex shirt dress though, maybe from the triangles?

As I was browsing through my patterns, I paused on the shirt dress and realised it had to be, after all the pattern was a valentine present of sorts too!

My very first Vintage Shirt dress was made from an Atelier Brunette cotton lawn. So I knew these beautiful cotton lawns would work well. However, I find the first dress a little lightweight in the skirt. Therefore it only comes out on very warm days. The three dresses I have made since are lined, and I wear the two that are mine come rain or shine. For this dress, I had some beautiful lemon crepe also from Sew Over it in my stash that I thought would work well. I was right it feels gorgeous against my skin, so it won't deter me from wearing it in the warm months too.

I wanted to make this a dress I could wear to work, so I decided to go for sleeves. As I said above, I find the sleeve a little full for my narrow frame so I set to work to take some fullness out. I redrew the sleeve head, so it had less depth and walked it around the armsyce until I had about and inch ease in the sleeve (again I'm no expert, but this worked for me!).

Other than that this was a straightforward and bloody lovely sew. I shared most of the sew on Instagram stories which was fun to share.

Right, time for lots of photos...

I finished both hems with bias binding. I machine stitched the lining but I hand sewed the main hem.

I used the turn over and stitch method to finish the seams in the bodice and the facing; French seams in the skirt; matching bias binding to finish the waist seam, and I overlocked the shoulder seam in matching thread. 

Thank you to my wonderful sewing enabler, to Sew Over It for letting me test the pattern and to you lovely lot for reading.

Lots of love

Vic xx


  1. Love the dress! Looks great one you and has inspired me to order the vintage shirtdress pattern from Sew Over It. I have dreams of a watermelon shirt dress with watermelon buttons and I think this pattern will be perfect.

  2. Love the dress! Looks great one you and has inspired me to order the vintage shirtdress pattern from Sew Over It. I have dreams of a watermelon shirt dress with watermelon buttons and I think this pattern will be perfect.

    1. YES, YES to the watermelon shirtdress! I may well have to copy you on that one as I have the perfect melon print in my stash! x

  3. Vic!! Soooo sweet of your man friend, how thoughtful and supportive is that!!
    Thanks SO much for making this post Vic! Loved reading about the different finishing techniques you used. It looks so neat and lining the skirt is a great idea too - I have written these down so I remember to try them out as although overlocking is necessary sometimes I don't like seeing it (especially is it can be seen when wearing e.g. rolled up sleeves of the SOI Alex shirt.) I have the vintage shirt dress pattern but haven't made it yet and really want to - my lovely man bought me a SOI voucher for crimbo which I haven't spent yet (I know!) so I think it's definitely time to pick some fabric. I worry about buying online in case I'm not keen on it in real life but I think sometimes you just have to go for it!
    Re. the Alex shirt - I am quite tall and have slightly wider shoulders and found the shirt is a good fit for me in that area which suggests you might want to narrow them is you are narrower there.
    Claire x

    1. Thanks for the tip RE the Alex Shirt. The PDF is already to go but other patterns have jumped to the top of my sewing list!

      Yes, go get yourself some beautiful fabric! Might be worth ordering a swatch if you see something really special (read expensive!).
      Here's to lovely man-friends!
      Vic x

  4. Would you mind me sharing this on Sassy Sewing Bees in the future? I link to your post and let you know when.

    1. Hi - of course not! Very happy to be considered a Sassy Sewing bee ;) xx

    2. Thanks. I will let you know on this post.

    3. To be shared on SSB Friday. Thanks for permitting.

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