Hello my sewing friends!!!
For some time now I’m pushing myself outside of my comfort zone by trying on clothes that I wouldn’t normally wear. Sometimes I’m positively surprised by how good I look in them, sometimes I want to crawl under the bed and hide, but the whole experience has brought me joy and opened my eyes a little.
Let’s talk about my latest make….the Sew Over It Alex shirt dress.
The Alex shirt dress is one of the patterns included in “My capsule wardrobe. City break” eBook by Lisa Comfort. It is a loosely fitting shirt or shirtdress that features a front button placket, simple rolled collar with no stand, patch pockets, long sleeve with a sleeve tab and a curved hem.
My usual size for Sew Over It patterns is 18, however this time I cut out size 16. I made this decision by checking the finished garment measurements after reading couple of pattern reviews where it was mentioned that the pattern and sizing is too big. There is over 20 cm of ease in the pattern and it seemed to me that this is way too much than I would like. Even after sizing down to 16 the ease is around 15cm, which is still a substantial amount. I understand that this is a loosely fitting shirt so did not want to go any smaller than that.
I still had to make certain adjustments to the pattern pieces to ensure a better fit on my body.First I had shorten the shoulder seams by 2cm. I pinned the seams and marked 2 cm from the armhole edge, next redraw the armhole curves both on the front and back pattern pieces.
Being 150cm tall means that I always have to shorten most pattern pieces…this time I’ve shorten the hem by 18 cm. Normally I would do it around the waistline to keep the proportions right, but because the side seams are straight without any shaping I simply measured 18 cm from the edge of the hem and followed the hem line curve to keep that deep and dramatic line.
Lastly I decided to add cuffs to the sleeves so I’ve shorten them by 7cm and drafted a cuffs by measuring my wrist circumference with extra 3cm overlap. To find a placement of the sleeve placket I’ve divided the sleeve hem into 4 equal parts. The placket sits on the first quarter mark on the back part of the sleeve.
The excess of sleeve hem width I had turned into 3 small pleats, and it worked beautifully.
The fabric requirement for this shirtdress is 3.1 meter, however due to all pattern amendments I managed to make it only using 2.2 meter.
My fabric was 150 cm wide and it is a viscose blend…at least that is what I was told in my local fabric shop. This was meant to be a wearable toile, hence I’ve picked a cheap material (£3.00 /meter).
I would like to make it out of lightweight denim in the future or linen for different seasons.
Sewing the pattern
The construction of the Alex Shirtdress pattern is simpler than it looks at the first glance, which makes it easier to follow the step by step instruction in the eBook, even if photos are not as clear as I’m used to with Sew Over It patterns. They had used a white fabric with black polka dots on a white background, so it is more difficult to see details, however the written instructions are more than enough for an experience sewist.
I cut out the fabric on Friday evening and sewn it over the weekend. It took me around 4 hours and 30 minutes and I did not run into any problems.
Do I like this pattern? Yes, the pattern is drafted very nicely with little to no fitting needed, but I wish I had made a full bust adjustment. The side seams are sticking forwards and the whole dress hangs wrong if I do not belt it in at the waist, which is a shame because I really like the style and details of this pattern.
I had notice that I should avoid making patterns without bust darts or other bust shaping, because I’m always dissatisfied in the end.
It is a not big deal as this was a dry run after all. I still am wearing this shirtdress, but will alter the front pattern piece and add a bust dart before making my next version.
This pattern gave me so many ideas for different looks and hack that I might be trying few of them in the future.
Have a lovely Sunday!