Living in Chicago, I’m all for changing with the seasons. In the spring and summer, that means walking everywhere, eating on patios, and drinking a lot less bourbon and lot more gin. It also means ditching boots and sweaters for—finally—all the skirts and dresses.
But when I flipped through my closet recently, I realized that there’s a particularly large hole in my wardrobe in the form of shirtdresses. And I love me a good shirtdress, since all you need is a belt and a pair of sandals and you can go anywhere from work to a family party to a metal-blasting burger bar. (I speak from experience).
Enter my first foray into sewing up a PDF pattern (also part of my summer sewing goal). This one is Salme Pattern’s Buttonless Shirt Dress (#149), which calls for cotton, a cotton/poly blend, etc. Linen wasn’t a suggested fabric, but I couldn’t resist this abstract floral print. Plus, if there’s any fabric that begs to be worn on a hot, sticky summer day, it’s linen. Or mesh, but that ain’t happening. (Not for a shirtdress at least.)
I took the better part of a weeknight to cut out the pattern, tape it together, cut out my size, and finally cut the fabric pieces. My next step was fusing interfacing to the collar pieces and the inner front, from the bottom of the slit to the neckline. After that I got to work sewing the whole thing up. Other than a few hitches here and there with fit, it was pretty straightforward. I’d definitely recommend this to a beginner/intermediate seamster.
A few things I’ll keep in mind for next time:
- The sizing runs large. Even if your measurements match a particular size, I’d suggest going down one. I’m usually a US 6/8 in dresses, and my measurements matched up to a US 10/UK 12. It was definitely too big, and I had to compensate by taking it in after I’d sewn the side seams.
- The collar directions are a little confusing. My collar turned out slightly unfinished at the very edges, and I’m still not sure why. Next time I’ll do some more research about attaching standup collars, and hopefully I’ll have a more polished end product.
- I have a long torso, so I added about 1 inch to the pattern at the waist before cutting out the fabric. It didn’t seem entirely necessary, but I think it helps if you’re going to pair this with a belt (which I always do).
- Since I added length at the waist, I figured that meant I should place the belt loops an inch lower. WRONG. For whatever reason, the PDF directions that place the belt loops at 7 7/8″ below the armhole are pretty spot on.
- I opted for a brown leather/elastic belt, worn over the belt loops. The matching fabric belt works, too, but I like the edge of this darker color to balance the pretty floral.
Luckily, Monday’s storm held off long enough to snap some photos from the top of my building. There’s nothing like an 80º day on the roof to drink in that ridiculous Chicago skyline. (Even with a few trees in the way).
Anywho, have any of you sewn a Salme Pattern before? I’d love some suggestions for great PDF patterns—leave a comment if you’ve found any gems!