Shirt dresses are great because they can go from very casual to smart casual with just a change in shoes and accessories, and are a great solution for when you are breastfeeding and still want to wear a dress (not that Toby is nursing very often during the day anymore - he's more a midnight snacker). I have quite a few shirt dress patterns in my stash from various eras and with slight design variations, but I picked out a vintage Simplicity pattern #6155 from 1974 because I like the a-line shape of the skirt and the button band down the front:
I even cut out the paper pattern and had the pattern pinned to the fabric, but didn't progress any further because I was so consumed with my Burda sewing and everything else I've made in the last three or so months. Before I knew it summer was over and I've started thinking about winter clothes so I almost unpinned the pattern and put it away. But we've had some crazily hot days lately, and then I spied the lovely shirt dresses velosewer has been making (here and here) and decided that I should use my last week of child and work free days to make one last summer dress. So glad I did, because I think this dress is really lovely and worth the effort.
Check out the gloriously 1970s wide collar:
And I even made a matching fabric belt using this special iron on interfacing and a self covering buckle, both which came from an op shop:
That interfacing made making the belt itself so quick and easy, if I ever see any of this stuff in a shop again I will buy several metres because it's really useful. The belt is necessary because without it the dress is rather shapeless and frumpy:
The fabric is a lovely soft lightweight cotton voile, with a narrow woven stripe running through it as well. It was a bit transparent though, so I lined the dress with a light grey cotton poplin which I also had in the stash. Looking at these photos I can see that a fraction of the hem is peeking out especially on my left side so I'll need to fix the hem - thank god for blog photos!
I had to use a few brain cells about how to best attach the lining, but thankfully Maria had posted a picture of the inside of one her shirt dresses so I could see the best way to do it was to attach the lining to the dress at the sleeves, neck and front opening and treat it as one (ie underlining), but leave it hanging loose on the side seams and hem. The inside looks like this:
No fancy bound or French seams inside my dresses I'm afraid! This method worked well on this pattern because the facing/button band are sewn on as a separate piece which gave me an easy spot to join the lining and dress fabrics together, as well as around the shoulder seam.
I also lengthened the sleeves to be three-quarter length because I like the extra coverage for sun protection (plus hiding my tuckshop arms is a good thing) but also because I think it's a ladylike length that really suits this pretty dress. The sleeves are unlined though, so it shouldn't be too hot to wear it.
And now funnily enough the weather forecast is for a cool Easter weekend and rain next week, so I've probably tempted fate by churning out another summery dress!