Thursday, October 8, 2009

The shirt's baaaaaack

Yeah yeah, I made it again. Virgos out there will totally get this: I just wanted to make the whole thing properly - like with darts that started, ended, and pointed where they should; with fabric that I didn't get dirt cheap from a fire sale or an op shop; with a shirt band that didn't resemble a pair of chooks with beaks. That's not too much to ask is it?

I thought this dress would look better on me in a softer cotton, with a bit more drape, and I wanted to experiment with the shirring, placing it lower on the waist so I had less of the "barrel" look so amusingly described here.

I read a review where someone said they whipped this dress up. How do you whip up flat felled arm seams, shirt stand with collar, 13 buttons, 21 rows of shirring and double welt pockets? How ? HOW?

double welt pockets: (blue mark is my wash out pen, haven't washed it out yet)

2 of 13 buttons

back shirring (just completed, using zigzag method, gives better control)

shirt stand on collar (no beak! I followed instructions and hand sewed it)

flat felled arm seams (so when you roll up your sleeve you've got a pretty seam on show .. that's the theory anyway, and it definitely was not the practice on my last version)

I have had a busy fortnight, that encompassed a holiday in Nelson and another weekend girls away trip to Wellington for Wearable Arts.

I'm still reading my wardrobe planning book. It's got a whole chapter called, "so you sew?" And it has really good advice on wardrobe planning for seamstresses. Two bits stick in my mind: when you go fabric shopping your eye is drawn to patterns, so sewers often buy lots of patterns that languish in stash because they haven't actually got any use for them. They strongly recommend doing a wardrobe inventory first, and basing your sewing plans on things you need. That way you won't fall into the 'eye catching fabric' trap. Second piece of advice: make sure that everything you sew contributes fully to your wardrobe by ensuring that it will go with at least 3 existing pieces.

You know what? After all that advice I just don't feel like sewing anything. Usually I just start with curiousity. Hmm, that's an interesting fabric, what can I do with that? Hmm, that's an unusual pattern, I wonder what that detail would look like made up? And then curiousity spurs me on to explore it. This planning business just kills creativity.

Time to throw out the rule book, me thinks.

Shirt dress: Burda 07-2009-104
Fabric: Japanese cotton sateen: imported by Global Fabrics
Wardrobe Planning book: Looking Good, Nancy Nix-Rice


  1. The comments you made about wardrobe planning are really what I am aiming for by doing some basics. I find I have lots of patterned items that I hardly ever wear as they don't go with anything else. My one 'basic' so far has been a skirt in a plain - go-with-everything colour, but I tried to choose a pattern with a bit of interest.
    I get the throwing the rule book out idea but I get a bit depressed sometimes when I am looking for clothes to wear to work in the morning and and cannot easily put an outfit together - Great dress BTW

  2. Your top-stitching is always so wonderfully even. My machine is always missing stitches - infuriating. The welt pockets are just awesome - a tutorial coming on?

  3. Looking good! I think the softer drape of this fabric really suits the style.

    Very cool :-)


  4. You are so virtuous. I always mean to sew things again, properly, but guess what, I'm not a Virgo. The dress looks great, so a good one to sew again. My theory on why we buy prints and not plains is that fabric shops don't sell too many good quality plains. I can't even get good quality drill locally for my boys' shorts, and it's not for the sake of looking. Personally, I love coming up with wardrobe plans, but again, not a Virgo and easily distracted :(.

  5. i totally get the 'reading a book then feeling demotivated' thing. i've just waited 3 weeks to get my mojo back but it's coming...

    and now you've mentioned the pattern things i've cracked why my stash never gets smaller.


  6. I love love love this dress!! Luckily, I have this issue and was considering making it. You look fantastic. I really have a thing for shirt-dresses. I think I'd wear one every day if I could.

  7. Wow. I am amazed. I'm panicking over sewing slipcovers for two folding metal chairs and you are making whole, beautiful dresses.

  8. Funny how a different fabric can make the same pattern look quite different. I really like this version on you too!

    If you don't like the rules, toss the book. I know just what you mean about planning killing creativity. If I "force" the process I never like what I make. If I wait till fabric and pattern jump up and yell "Pick me!" in unison, I get a garment I love.

  9. Oh, what a beautiful fabric!!!! The details really take the cake on this dress. Cake... going to eat some chocolate cake... excuse me...

  10. Now, I love that shirt dress, and I love that fabric too. I say write your own fashion book Mary Nanna! Your look is gorgeous.

  11. BTW, I have selected you for a "Kreativ Blogger" award.

  12. hello, I do get what you mean about doing it again really well . There is such satisfactiob in it. Its a lovely dress. I have found some great tutorials on "Behind the Seams" a Blog by Gigi in Florida . Since I started putting a collar on the way she does and doing shirt yokes the way she does I have lifted my game significantly.

  13. I've also read something that stuck in my mind about seamstresses and their 'over-printy' wardrobes. That one still hurts every time I look in my closet :-). My latest attempt is to write off pants entirely, they can get faint checks or some tiny texture but no real prints, or they don't get worn. But it's hard.

    Then again, I heard the thing about 'going with at least 2 other items you already have' years ago, and that's proven to be the most useful wardrobe advice I've ever had. If you can apply it in the fabric store, it's practically painless too.