Wondering what to sew next? Shirtdresses are having a moment this season. Designers from Oscar de la Renta to Madewell included shirtdresses in their Spring 2016 collections, and they’re popping up in store windows everywhere you look. Whether you choose a classic shape with a fitted bodice and attached skirt, or go with a loose, no-waist look, shirtdresses are the epitome of relaxed spring and summer style.
Scroll down for shirtdress inspiration, pattern suggestions, and shirtdress sewing tips.
Shirtdress sewing tips:
- If you’re making your shirtdress from a cotton or linen, press, press and then press some more. You want perfectly flat seams EVERYWHERE: collars, cuffs, plackets, armscyes, etc. A pressing tool like this helps you get at those tight areas in collars and cuffs.
- Topstitching is usually a big feature in shirtdresses. But if you feel your topstitching gets a little wonky at times (whose doesn’t?), then try edgestitching instead, using an edgestitching foot on your machine. Edgestitching looks sharp and professional on shirts and shirtdresses, and it’s much easier to master than consistent topstitching lines are.
- If you’re making a shirtdress pattern that has a fitted bodice, think about using a cotton with Lycra in it. A little bit of stretch in your woven fabric helps you get a close fit without feeling encased like a sausage.
- Choose an interfacing weight that’s appropriate for your fabric. For cottons and linens, a lightweight fusible works well. You can also use lightweight woven fabrics you may already have in your stash, like cotton batiste or silk organza.
- Don’t feel you have to use the pattern’s buttonhole placement guide. Where you like your shirts to have buttons is really a matter of personal preference. If you have a favorite shirt, you can always use it as a guide for buttonhole positions.
- Speaking of buttonholes, practice making a few test buttonholes before you stitch the first buttonhole on your shirtdress. And always make that first real buttonhole in the least conspicuous place, like near the hem or a cuff. Because buttonholes tend to get better as you go, right?
- Feel free to mix and match things like collars and pockets from other patterns. Just make sure they’re approximately the same size as the ones you’re swapping out.
- To keep your narrow hems from getting wavy, try this: Stitch 1/4-inch from hem edge. Turn in on stitching line and press; turn again and press so the raw edge is now encased. Here comes the important part: Baste narrow hem in place. Narrow hems get wavy when the hem shifts and pulls as you machine-stitch. Basting will keep your hem in place and prevent shifting.
We hope this post has you thinking about making a shirtdress this season. If you’d like to see more shirtdress pattern views and RTW inspiration, check out our Shirtdress Pinterest board below (click on the widget). Looking forward to seeing your makes on social media!