The Willamette Shirt-dress

I’ve had this Purple Sorbet RK Chambray and the Willamette pattern running around in my head for a while and one day, while I was making this shirt it all came together. I quick sketched it out adding it to my summer sewing list and posted it on IG here, thus sealing the deal.

I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive at first. See I am in the process of finding my style, and I have learned that I am in fact an hourglass figure, which feels weird to me because I’m tall and thin, but not curvy.  But I read this article, which explains that it goes off of shoulder/waist/hip measurement, and the hourglass is really more about balance. So with that newfound knowledge I am supposed to focus on accentuating my waist, which is so not the trend right now. Go figure. I decided to deviate though and try out the boxy trend since I’m loving all the shirt-dresses lately. And I love it!

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Adrianna’s Willamette pattern was super easy to hack into a boxy dress from a boxy shirt. Just make it longer. It wasn’t until after I had it basted it together that I played around with the hem to get what I wanted, which even then didn’t matter because I totally changed it again today.

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See? That is NOT the finished hem. I changed it after I took these pictures. I originally cut it just like I wanted it, accounting for loosing an inch of length, but not accounting for the curved sides getting 2″ wider when I rolled the hem in. So I was a little disappointed the curve was so wide in the end. In addition to that, my hemming method was abysmal. Because I wanted a slightly wider curve I didn’t follow the pattern tutorial for the hem. But to get those curves by folding under twice you have to cut into the curves a lot. I made it work but I knew it was shoddy, and you can see that it ripples some and doesn’t lay nicely in those pictures.

Then as I sat in church today and stared at my hem it dawned on me that I was supposed to use a bias binding. Duh! I was mad at myself that bias binding hadn’t occurred to me until after I was done, but then I realized I could still change it because bias binding doesn’t need as much length. So when I got home I immediately took to unpicking the hem while I was still wearing the dress, and simultaneously nursing my son. (It’s the only way to do things in a house full of little kids). Then when I cut off the length I didn’t cut the sides of the curves so the final curve would be narrower. After I was done the final hem laid beautifully, look:

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The construction of this pattern is truly genius. I haven’t ever done anything like it before. You get all the benefits of a collared shirt without nearly as much time invested. It is fun to do the classic yoke burrito and have a fully finished and encased collar come out. I’m calling this the cocoon method because the final result is just like in the Very Hungry Caterpillar when out comes a beautiful butterfly!

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In the middle of sewing the dress I remembered that all dresses need pockets. So I watched a tutorial on how to add inseam pockets while still doing a french seam and things were going so well until I made the classic error of sewing right sides together first, and cutting off the seam allowance before realizing it. So I ended up just going back over with the appropriate seam allowance, overlocking the raw edge and calling it good. It’s too bad really that mine has overlocked seams when Adrianna took care to make the pattern with clean finishes. But at least I have pockets.

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And they are pretty. I had almost nothing for scraps to make pockets from so I colorblocked the backside so that at least what is visible is in self fabric and the rest is in the same fabric I used for the yoke facing.

 

I lowered the stitch line on the placket to make it nursing friendly and went with the button option since the neckline is otherwise pretty deep with the nursing mod. I really like the button detail.

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Of course as I’m taking these pictures in my backyard my new next door neighbor comes out to give me some cucumbers. I quick go into an explanation of how I sew and have a blog, and I try to act like it’s normal to set up a tripod in your backyard and take pictures of yourself next to matching flowers. It’s normal right? It’s not? Oh well.

Another thing that is so very practical about this style of dress is how mom friendly it is. I can bend over and the back hemline doesn’t ride up, so I feel pretty well covered managing my three little children while rocking an on-trend boxy shirt dress.

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*My posts often contain affiliate links. If you click on an affiliated link, nothing changes with your experience. If you happen to make any purchases from following my links I get a small referral kick back which helps support this blog. Again, the cost to you remains unaffected.  All opinions are my own, and I only rave about things I really like 😀

 

 

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