I finished my third shirtdress of 2013 last weekend, this time from New Look 6180, and wore it to work on Tuesday, with a belt, heels, and a gray cardigan. (Didn't get a photo since I was in a meeting all day.) But today I wore it the way it was meant to be worn: sandles, no belt, no worries. This is a run-errands-on-Saturday-afternoon-while-wearing-Keds sort of dress:
There is really no way the model can make the longer length dress attractive in any way. I was drawn to the pattern though because the button front only went to the waist - I prefer this to a shirtdress that has buttons all the way down to the hem. Of course, if your pattern doesn't call for buttons from collar to hem, then you will need either a zipper or elastic to get into the dress. This dress has elastic, of which I am not a great fan, but I decided to give it a go. I found a cotton I was mysteriously drawn to at Hancock's:
It was cheap, probably about $ 5.00/yard, and I liked it in the weirdest way possible. It whispered to me, "Psst, pick me; I promise I won't wrinkle, and I will become your coolest dress this hot, humid summer." I believed it, and bought four yards, even though the pattern only called for about two and half.
And I am glad I did. This pattern only instructs you to cut one back yoke and two front yokes, which would make your inner bodice a big ole' mess inside. Instead, I doubled those numbers and used the burrito method to put it all together. It made the inside much nicer:
And I made my own bias french binding to bind the armholes, cutting the bias bands 2 1/8 inches wide and folding them in half to make double binding:
I tried a new method of turning the collar I found out about through Brian. Look at that collar point!
I'll be using this method from now on. I hadn't tried it before because the first step of the instructions is to reduce your seam allowances to 1/4 inch and I'm too lazy for that. This pattern had 3/8 inch seam allowances for the collar, so I figured it was close enough to try it. Worked like a charm. I think this method will even work on collars with a 5/8 inch seam allowance - you just have to do a little more carefully trimming. I recommend this method of turning a collar to everyone!
Of course, I attached the collar David Coffin style, and did way more edgestitching than the pattern called for - the collar, the stand, the yoke and shoulder seams, etc. Since I was making the shorter version, I lengthened it by 2 1/8 inches to insure that the the skirt would cover my knees, and avoid that awkward right-in-the-middle-of-the-knee length. Unfortunately, the gathering of the skirt and my slight miscalculation resulted in a skirt that was still an inch too short for my liking:
But I will live with it. The elastic did prove to be the PITA that I thought it would be. It took multiple tryings-on to get the elastic snug enough to be presentable, but not so tight so as to be uncomfortable. Interestingly enough, this skirt is pleated AND gathered. You pleat first, attach the skirt to the bodice, and then insert the elastic. I left the waist fairly loose for comfort as I expect to wear this through out the summer.
I won't even recount the dithering I did on the buttons, but I'll just say that in the end I went with my original choice - basic gray buttons from Hancocks. I'm glad to report that this fabric did not lie - it is indeed cool and resists wrinkling (this dress has already been washed in the photos above).
I'm tempted to make another one of these, but my no repeat rule is still in effect and there are still way more shirtdress patterns out there!