A Shirt Dress

The dress of the summer has been one I bought from Whistles on a cold grey day in April. It’s been worn with tights and a vest for cold days, leggings for slightly chilly days and just as it is on really hot days. It’s been to the office, up mountains, to dinner and everywhere inbetween.

This is a picture of us at Montserrat just outside Barcelona in 32 degree heat.


The only problem with the dress has been that it was not made out of very good quality fabric – a viscose, polyamide mix according to the label. It’s very light and floaty but a bit itchy and has developed a shine in a couple of places.

There is only one answer to this and that is to copy it! Copying most of it was fairly straight forward but the front has big pockets sewn into the dart line, a placket and a deep pleat which made it a bit difficult to trace.


Muslin number 1 had some strange pulls across the front. But muslin number 2 was almost perfect.  The linen came from Ditto fabrics. It looks white in the pictures but is actually silver. When it arrived it was very silver and Gill warned me that some would come off.   She was quite right and now it has a lovely slightly battered look that linen should have, rather than the full on bling it arrived as.

img_1977Of course now it is turning into Autumn I can’t see that I will wear this much before next year so I am busy making a second out of black pinstripe wool.

Have you ever copied a dress you love? Did it work out?




Completing the Outfit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am inordinately pleased with my new jacket but I really needed something to go with it to complete the outfit. And now I have it! It’s a very simple blue linen dress which I can wear under the jacket for work.


People talk a lot about “work appropriate” clothing on blogs but I’m never completely sure what they mean as different work places have different requirements. I work in the City which means suits and smart dresses, colours tend to be sober, hemlines not too short and cleavages safely tucked away. Having said that there is nothing wrong with a hint of sexiness; high heels and pencil skirts or a jacket cut to show off a slim waist. Comfort is also important, I  hate being bothered by ill-fitting clothes or being too cold. Sleeves are a must, they make wearing a jacket more comfortable, keep you warm and ensure any wobbly bits are safely hidden away. Work wear tends to get worn a lot so I like good quality fabrics that are easy to clean and don’t need expensive dry cleaning every time I wear them. In short I need to look smart, elegant, comfortable and conformist.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn a recent trip to Brighton I found some lovely French Navy linen in Ditto fabrics. Have you ever been to Ditto? It’s the most fabulous little shop selling all sorts of lovely fabrics including some quite unusual pieces. Expect to see more of their wares in future posts! The linen is quite a heavy fabric and has been a joy to sew, absolutely stable and does everything you ask of it. It also goes beautifully with the duck egg linen silk that I used for the jacket.

As I mentioned in my last post I wanted to have a play with my blocks. I started by joining the bodice and skirt together, moving the skirts darts so they sat under the bodice’s and putting in bust darts to take up the excess.


The toile I made was ok but a bit boring. So I then decided to move the bust dart up to the armscye and turn it into a princess seam. It’s not actually a full princess seam because I wanted a plain skirt front. So the dress has long curling darts running from the sleeve seam down the front and stopping at about hip level. The neckline and facings were copied from a simplicity pattern. The skirt was pegged and I used my sleeve block to add three quarter length sleeves with elbow darts.

If I’m being completely honest it is a rather boring dress but it fits me like a dream and I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I did it all myself!