The Shirtmaker Dress Journey

It all started when I saw this outfit on Lori’s blog, Girls in the Garden, about 2 years ago.

I used the same slate blue linen as my Navy skirt which I purchased from Tessuti in 2013 and seeing I had already made McCalls 5433 back here  my main patterns adjustments were already done.

Just before I cut this out, Louise, from Seams Like Fun (and I  had the pleasure of attending her class at the ASG Convention last month) posted Shirt Collars Made Easy.  Of course this had me downloading the instructions as I have only completed one other shirt collar and any tips to make it easier I was keen to try.

For this version I was looking for it to be able to be worn alone during Spring and Autumn and even Winter with a light layer (spencer) underneath.

To give me a bit more warmth, I decided to line the body of the shirtmaker dress only as I wanted to roll up the sleeves so using the sleeves from view D I added 1.5cm to each side of the sleeve hem width as well as another 4cm to the length.

This was all cut out and fused (collar, collar stand and front bands) for our sewing weekend back in May.

For some reason I decided to go all out and do flat felled seams on the side seams, the shoulders and the sleeves.

The lining has French seams and this was attached to the body of the dress after the dress length was finalised and before adding the front bands, so I could encase the edges.

The lining was then basted to the neck edge so I could add the collar stand.

Louise’s  instructions for the Shirt  Collars Made Easy has the ends of the collar and collar stand on the fold so you end up with a centre back seam and hopefully better points.

Oops not quite matching!

Once I inserted the sleeves, I basted the lining to the seam allowance and then added a Hong Kong finish to this seam as it was too tight to to a flat felled seam.

Now to be able to roll my sleeves up, the sleeve width at my cuff was not desirable.  This time I found this great Threads article on Shape a Sleeve with this Easy Fold-Over Placket that provided the perfect solution.

Threads do suggest you make the vertical fold for the placket about 1/3 of the way from the underarm seam, however this put the fold right on my wrist bone which I didn’t like, so my sleeve width was 28.5cm and I put my vertical fold at the half way mark which makes the fold toward the back of my sleeve.

Again the wonderful ladies at All Buttons Great and Small helped me choose the buttons and I again purchased the buttonholes from Mick at Quick Buttonhole Service.

and now for some full length views:

I still might add some darts to the back!

It looks like I can have quite a few different looks with this shirtmaker dress depending on the sleeve length and whether or not I wear a belt and switch around my accessories!

Now to find a triple belt and animal print bag that are in the inspiration picture!

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2014 Stash Out: 34.95 m
2014 Stash In: 48.75 m

Rust Shirtmaker Dress

I can’t believe I have had nothing to show you since October, I’ve been sewing but nothing has been finished until now.

The Rust Shirtmaker Dress is completed.

At the Armoury Cafe at Newington after our ASG Christmas Lunch

As promised in my earlier post here are the details:

Back Adjustments

  • Added 1.5cm at the neck edge of the shoulder and increased this to 2.6cm at the shoulder edge
  • Added extra to the side seams starting 5cm down from the armhole to end up with 2cm extra width at the hem line (you can see this on the front pattern piece below).
  • Added 3cm to the length (you can see this on the front pattern piece below).


Front Adjustments

  • Added extra to the side seams starting 5cm down from the armhole to end up with 2cm extra width at the hem line.
  • Added 3cm to the length.

Collar and Collar Stand Adjustments

  • Added 1.5cm into the collar and collar stand.

Note: The patterned sticky tape on my patterns is to remind me to turn my pattern over when I go to iron the pattern after it has been folded, so I keep the iron off the sticky tape, a tip from Pam.

Construction

During construction, Pam decided to reduce the collar length by 1.5cm as the collar was a bit large for me.

I also decided to use the shorter sleeve and found that the shoulder width needed to be reduced by 1.5cm at the shoulder edge reducing back to zero by the time I got to the notches.

Embellishment

Rhona Feeney, who I sew with at the Alexandria Achievers, suggested that I put half circles on the back of my Shirtmaker dress to cover the side ventilation.

  • I traced off a circle using my bobbin keeper and then folded it half and cut out two in the rust linen.
  • Sewed a line of stitching the width of the machine foot from the edge around the half circle and then a gathering stitch between this stitch and the edge.
  • Drew up the gathering stitch and then pressed the seam allowance down along the line of the first row of stitching.
  • Unpicked the side seams of the Shirtmaker dress and put the long edge of the half circle into the seam and then I pinned and basted the half circle in place.
  • Very slowly topstitched the half circle in place.

Also at this time Rhona took out a 1.5cm fold from the middle of the back darts to the hem, effectively taking out 6cm of fabric out of the back of the Shirtmaker.

I tried to do the buttonholes myself, but wasn’t feeling too confident with 9 of them, so on my way to work the other morning, I dropped this into Mick of Quick Buttonholes at Alexandria for him to do my buttonholes. I had pinned the button placement on the button band, and left him a reel of my cotton and a button attached in a small zip lock bag to the Shirtmaker. The next day, again on my way to work, I collected this from Mick who charged me $25 for the 9 buttonholes on the Shirtmaker dress and the 1 he did for me on my Jeans. Money very well spent.

This is a very comfortable dress to wear and I can see a few more versions in my wardrobe over the various seasons.

Sewing Convention wrap up

I am supposed to be tidying up the sewing room so it can be a guest room for the in-laws when they arrive on Wednesday, instead I am blogging 🙂

At the end of September Alison, Velosewer and I drove to Ballarat in Victoria to attend the 9th National Convention held by the Australian Sewing Guild at Ballart Grammar, arriving just in time for the first dinner on Sunday night and we would be there until after breakfast on Saturday.

We were looked after very well, our rooms were tidy and ours was very warm compared to others, but I’m definately not complaining, and the classrooms were heated as well. There was plenty of food, just wondering why the dining hall is not heated?

I had elected to do 2 x 2 day workshops and Wednesday was left free.

Monday and Tuesday was spent with Sue Marriot who was teaching us how to use our TNT Pants Pattern to design and construct a pair of jeans learning the following techniques – topstitching, traditional fly front, jean pockets (including pocket stay), belt loops and hems.

Monday morning I started with my TNT Pants Pattern Vogue 9537 (OOP) as my base and with Sue’s guidance and great notes created the Jeans Pattern. I managed to cut them out in a black woven denim from Spotlight and the pocket pieces from a fat quarter. By the end of Monday I had:

• Stitched and topstitched the front pockets
• Inserted the Metal Zip and more topstitching
• Used the design from Margie T’s Jeans for my back pocket and had these stitched and ready to be placed on my jeans.

Tuesday’s first job was to stitch the back pockets in place and attach the yoke. At this stage I basted the legs together for a fit. This is when Sue took out quite a bit off the back leg (sorry the excess that Sue cut off, I cut off the pattern and didn’t take measurements) and I had to cut off 1.5cm from the waist so this is why my front pockets look like coin pockets. Once we were happy with the fit I finished off the leg seams. I then attached the waistband and ran out of time before I could get Sue to check or topstitch which turns out very fortunate. This is where they were left until I got home.

Last week I tried them on and oh dear, that waistband gaposis, it is not much but enough to bug me, so I have unpicked the waistband and again work has got in the way and they are still at this stage but thought I would show you how they look (well as good as you can see them in black).

Front (minus button)

Back

Pockets

Note the back waistband is not attached here.

Wednesday saw the three of us getting back in the car and heading to Melbourne to check out some more fabrics shops and Jimmy’s Buttons. It turned out to be the wrong season for me to purchase fabrics, nothing wanted to come home with me.

Thursday and Friday was spent with Pamela Kerr, who promised that those Perfect points on shirt collars wouldn’t be so daunting anymore. Tips for edge stitching around the collar as this can also be hard work and often ruins an entire shirt because it can look poor quality.

Thursday was essentially the fitting day. We all started with McCall’s 5433 Palmer/Pletsch Classic Fit pattern. I had already cut the paper pattern out (size 8, View D), drawn in my stitching lines and taped the curves so I was a bit ahead of the others when class started on Thursday morning. I soon had it all pinned together and was ready for my first fitting and discussed with Pam about making this a shirtmaker style (View D just needed the hem allowance added).

I was ready to cut out my fabric after we had lunch. By the end of Thursday I had the front and back darts sewn, side seams and shoulder seams sewn and everything was pressed.

Friday morning started with cutting out the interfacing x 2 for the collar, collar stand, cuff and button band and fusing these.

Then disaster struck, I was busy overlocking my side seams and

I put it on to see where it was and it is sitting on my waist, which is fortunate.

I made the decision to ignore it (well sort of) and continued to sew the collar stand, collar and button bands on the dress and this is where it is up to.

Front

Back

Side view

Now Pamela did suggest that I add belt loops so I can wear a belt. I’m not a huge belt wearer and then I got to thinking about adding a self fabric band (probably stitched the same way as the button band is) around the waist and this is what I have played with very roughly this afternoon when I decided to take the photos.

I will share further details about my adjustments when I finally finish these items (note In-Laws in sewing room for 1 week at least).

I had a wonderful time at the Convention, catching up with others that I don’t see from Convention to Convention, meeting new people and learning lots of new things through my classes but also through the generous nature of all those who attended. I will admit that by the end of the Convention I was exhausted, however, I am now trying to work out how to get my sewing machine to Launceston!

Now I had better get back to packing up the sewing room.