Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Country Christmas Collared Shirt Dress

I don't know about you, but when I think "Christmas Dress" I recall the velvet, taffeta, and satin confections of my childhood. Oh how I loved my Christmas dresses! I'd wear my new dress for Christmas, then just about every Sunday after that for the rest of the winter. Christmas dresses were the best dresses.

Now this year I do have plans, well dreams really, of a truly spectacular Christmas dress which would make my childhood self jump with joy. There are only a couple issues with this plan. First, I don't know if I'll have time to actually get it done. Second, this fabulous dress would be a bit, umm, much to wear to most Holiday festivities I will find myself attending this season. For these reasons, I decided to join the Winter Wear Designs Holiday Blog Tour and make myself a more casual Christmas dress to start the season off with.

I picked the "Collared Shirt Dress" pattern for this casual Christmas dress, decided I wanted to make it in maroon to be properly "Christmasy", and set about raiding my fabric stash for the perfect maroon fabric.

Well, it turns out there's not a lot of maroon to pick from in my fabric stash, so I choose the one piece of maroon fabric I thought might just be long enough to make a dress from. A maroon plaid homespun cotton I picked up at Goodwill a year or two ago. And just in case there wasn't enough of this plaid homespun to make a full dress from, I found a yard of a second maroon homespun deep in the recesses of my stash. This one was a gingham, which I thought might accent the larger plaid nicely.

Pattern picked, fabric sorted, I was set to sew the dress. For once I intended to sew the dress exactly as the pattern recommended. No alterations, except to do my standard broad back adjustment for fit.

As you probably already know however, I'm really, really, really, not good at just sewing a pattern exactly as it's written. Once I pick a pattern, the creative part of my brain takes over and I think of all the ways I could change the pattern. And, more often than not, once I finally sew the pattern, I've added my own twist to it.

This particular pattern is only supposed to have a button placket on the bodice, none on the skirt - and that's exactly how I was going to make it! Until I saw a beautiful, plaid, 50's inspired, full button shirt dress in one of the vintage sewing groups I'm a part of on Facebook. Once I saw that dress I decided I wanted a 50's inspired shirt dress with a full button placket all the way down the front. Thus, my dress got a full button placket, and I cut my two skirt panels a bit wider than the pattern recommended (the full 44" width of the fabric, really) to get more of a 50's silhouette.

Soon after the full button placket was a decided fact, the idea struck that it would be cute to add patch pockets to the skirt to coordinate with the patch pockets on the bodice. So, I made a set of large patch pockets, and onto the skirt they went.

The finally alteration was to the sleeves. I decided I didn't want to be bothered making sleeve plackets and proper cuffs, so I widened the sleeves slightly, cut them at 3/4 length, and finished them off with a narrow bias cut "cuff"

In the middle of sewing the dress, I started to worry. Between the two different plaids, the homespun texture, and the patch pockets on the skirt, I was afraid I was making a dress which would look horribly "countrified" and "cutesy". Countrified and cutesy were not what I was aiming for!

By the time I started to worry about this however, I decided I was already in much to deep to stop. So I finished the dress. I tried it on. I looked in the mirror.

I breathed a sigh of relief. 

Sorry for the closed eyes - but look how well Maisy is looking at the camera!
It wasn't near as bad as I was afraid it would be! I actually liked it! I found my new casual Christmas dress to be sweet and a little vintage looking - and I can't wait to get a ton of wear out of it this holiday season!

Of course there is one thing I would change about this dress - but there's always something. As I chose to cut the center front panels on the bias, I was worried they might stretch out of shape before I got around to attaching the button placket. So I stay-stitched the center front edge as you are supposed to do with edges in danger of stretching out of shape. Unfortunately, my stay stitching gathered up that center front edge slightly, and I didn't realize this until after I'd attached the placket and sewn all the button holes. At this point I was not going to be bothered to go back and fix it. Thus, the center front of the bodice pulls upward. It's not a pretty situation, but I can live with it.

Bodice pulling and all, I still, really, really, like my new Christmas dress!

It may not be taffeta and velvet, but it will sure get plenty of wear this Christmas Season!

I hope you have a joyful, non-stressful, start to your holiday season! Happy Thanksgiving!

Don't miss out on any stops along the tour:

November 25

November 26

November 27

Alyssa of the Sewing Goat Herd

November 28

Patricia of Sew Far North

November 29

Livia of Liviality

1 comment: