The Grey Shirt Dress

You may remember that when I posted pictures of me wearing the items I made for my Late Fall Challenge I also included a picture of me wearing a grey shirt dress (please forgive the awful photos – and the unironed look…).I had started this dress before littlest boy was born but didn’t get around to finishing it until just before the Christmas holidays. I had it almost completed, save for the hem and the buttons and then stalled in the hunt for the perfect buttons! I bought the fabric on line and whilst I love the feel and drape the colour is probably a little bit more drab, colour wise than I would have chosen. I therefore decided that I needed a bit of a colour pop to stop it being completely ‘grey’ and set my heart on some bright mustard buttons. Unfortunately, bright mustard buttons don’t seem to be too common in my neck of the woods and so I finally settled on these yellow ones.

The dress is based on the same pattern used for this dress:

and is from the Japanese pattern book Les Couleurs Francaises.

The pattern itself provides for short slightly gathered sleeves and, as you can see above, for the first version I made of this dress I left off sleeves altogether. I used the pattern again, in an adapted form, to create this Liberty blouse at the beginning of last summer (where I used the sleeves as provided by the pattern).

For the grey dress, as it was approaching winter, I decided I needed a slightly longer sleeve. I therefore lengthened the sleeve provided by the pattern to make a three quarter length sleeve to which I attached a cuff, leaving a small hole/gap just above the cuff.

There is probably a proper word for this, rather than “hole/gap thing” and, somewhat obviously, on reflection, shirts, blouses and other garments with sleeves often have them to allow the hand to pass through where the cuff can then be fastened to fit more snugly round the wrist.

Given I attached a fixed cuff to the sleeves (in other words one that has no fastening) the hole/gap is functionally superfluous but aesthetically I like it (simple things hey?).

The only other area in which I strayed from the original pattern was in respect of the hem. As I said earlier the fabric has a lovely feel and drape but is very light and I decided it needed a bit more substance around the bottom. I therefore decided to make a wide hem and I added a light interfacing to the hem to give it a bit of weight. I then turned the fabric under twice and hemmed the dress using a plain straight stitch all the way round so you can see the stitches on the right side but I think that suits the style and feel of the dress (and let’s face it – it is quick and easy!).

I have already worn this dress a lot – it fulfills nearly everything I love about dresses – separates are good but the one stop shop approach to dressing that dresses give you is sometimes just what you need on a busy morning when you haven’t got much time. It is not too dressy, so combined with boots and a cardigan I don’t feel out of place on the country roads with a pram or dragging little people back up the hill from school but by the same token it remains a dress so I feel as though it looks as though I have made an effort. And that has a great psychological effect.

{And as a post script for any other mums out there who are breast feeding shirt dresses are about the only dresses that you can wear and still feed (I wear a large scarf to cover myself up when feeding in public as I am not comfortable being completely exposed)- with the exception of one other kind of dress – watch out later this week for another dress option.}