Hot on the heels of the Moneta Party has been another Instagram sewing community challenge. This one is certainly very inclusive, giving you the option to sew any shirtdress from any pattern, and try to get them finished for the start of the summer. I already had the Alex Shirtdress printed out and stuck together so this seemed like a great opportunity to get stuck in.
The Alex dress is part of the Sew Over It ebook (My Capsule Wardrobe). It is quite a loose fitting dress with no darts or gathers over the bust which did make it a quick and simple sew. I found it a little too oversized, especially in this stiff cotton, and so made a few changes to help it feel more flattering.
This fabric was very inexpensive, and the graduated criss-cross pattern did not really need any pattern matching. It was from the textile centre and was a bargain at £1.99 a metre! I even found some cute flower buttons in my stash, so this was a very cheap make.
The first change that I made was to take a couple of inches out of the side seams at the waist, grading to nothing at the armscye and the hip. With a belt, this was enough to give me some shaping, and I can now wear this both with or without a belt without feeling like I am wearing a tent!
I also shortened the dropped back hem to the same slightly dipped hem as the front. I didn’t think that it draped well enough to make the exaggerated dropped hem feature work.
It is better, but I think there are a few more changes to make, It still feels a little like a nightie or a uniform! I think to improve it, I will take some fisheye darts out of the back to help remove some of the volume. I think I might also shorten the dress 10cm too to make it a little more youthful.
This dress was always intended to be a wearable toile. I haven’t really worn shirtdresses before and I wasn’t sure it was a style that I was going to be comfortable with. I think in it’s original guise, it wasn’t really me, but with a belt and once the back is a little more fitted, I think It will be a great summer staple.
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