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The Harrison Shirt Dress

From Cashmerette
Review by Rhea
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DIFFICULTY:
Intermediate
FABRIC USED:
Cottons / Chambray / Flannel
SEWING TIME:
All weekend or longer

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Although I have a pretty much exclusively me-made wardrobe, I’ve never made myself a woven dress. With the current fashion for shirt dresses, and my massive love for cashmerette’s drafting, it was an inevitability that I was going to attempt it!

First thing I needed to do was grade the pattern from a 16 cd bust to a 20 hip, for this pattern and all of the princess seaming, I just did this grading at the side seams, which worked well for me, and I also removed 2 inches from the length as I am 2 inches shorter than the 5ft 6″ the pattern is drafted for. Personally I don’t like to wear sleeveless anything anymore as weight loss has not been kind to my upper arms, so I used the sleeve from the Harrison shirt and followed Jenny’s detailed instructions from the blog. I also needed to do my first full bicep adjustment to account for the excess skin. I was seriously seriously daunted by this, but I followed the slash and spread method to add an extra 2.5″ to each sleeve. I also altered the sleeve hole on the bodice, but can’t remember exactly how I did it!

I’ve made approx 10 shirts for my husband and son previously, from a few different designers, and I couldn’t believe how straight forward this shirt dress was to construct. Everything lined up, everything fit properly (unlike the thread theory fairfax I made twice for different people and each time the collar and stand were a good 2″ too small!) and when I tried it on I couldn’t believe how spot on the bust fit was.

My version is made in a polycotton chambray I picked up from the fabric guild in Leicester back in February when I was there for a sewing weekender, I used Liberty tana lawn in poppy and daisy for the lining pieces (collar stand, cuffs and yoke), and I used some purple Paul Smith buttons I found on eBay. All seams are sewn and then overlocked together and I used self fabric to make a bias faced hem instead of attempting the double folded on this curved hem.

I am really really impressed with this dress. It’s really comfortable, looks smart but relaxed at the same time and the fit is spot on with zero gaping. Next time I will reduce the amount of curve in the hem, I do feel a bit exposed when I sit down but otherwise I wouldn’t change anything.

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