Alex shirt dress by Sew Over It – pattern review

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 pattern

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.

Pattern adjustments

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.

Fabric choice

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.

Final thoughts

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!

Monika  xxx

Sewing Erin Skirt, why did I wait so long???

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Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases, but it does help with my fabric shopping addiction 😉

Hi sewing friends!

Do you ever procrastinate from completing a certain project? If you do, how long does it take you? I had my eyes on making Erin skirt from Sew Over It eBook ” My capsule wardrobe. City break” for some time now….over a year if I’m honest! I had the fabric cut out in January, but only now took my time to sew it up! Don’t ask my why? Hell, I tell you anyway! But first let me introduce the pattern.

The pattern

Photo: Sew Over It

The Erin skirt pattern is a take on a classic denim skirt with a button front placket, deep pockets and waist darts at the back. It is shaped similar to a pencil skirt, so it is slightly close fitting. It comes in two lengths: mini or below the knee, and it suppose to sit at your natural waist….anyway….back to my story!

The journey of making my Erin skirt started over a year ago, when I used a leftover of some brown stretch denim from my old project to make a toile. I am new to wearing skirts, which probably is the biggest factor here for delaying this make so long, but what made things even worst is how awful that toile ended up! I wanted to make a short version of the skirt and based on my waist and hip measurements I cut out a size 18 and graded it out to a size 20 at the waist, hence had to adjust pockets and waistband to ensure everything matched as it should. After sewing the skirt I had realized that it had way too much ease at the waist and I looked hideous in it, so as you do I put it away at the deepest end of my closet…but as you see the story didn’t end there. I reversed all pattern alternations and cut out a straight size 18, but this time made a midi length by extending the hem by 7 cm. I put aside fabric pieces and waited another 8 months to even consider completing the project…

IT was only because of #swapsharesew challenge that I consider giving this pattern a go one last time! You might know if you read the other post that Erin skirt was one of three patterns chosen by me to enter in a challenge. After my sewing friend @katiebrownless chose for me to make the Bonnie dress I decided to make the skirt anyway. The fabric was already cut out so it is not like I could use it for anything else, right?

Fabric choice

I knew the best option for this pattern and my comfort would be to get a type of a stretch denim fabric so I went and purchased 1 meter of Lady McElroy Indigo stretch Barkweave denim from Minerva Crafts for £10.99 a meter. I wanted to try a slightly better quality fabric and thought that would be a good choice. I washed the fabric right away to see if there will be any noticeable changes in color shade or any leaks, but I must say the material looks exactly the same after a wash. This is great, because in the past I was disappointed while working with cheap fabrics.

For my pocket linings I used some scrap of cotton fabric to reduce volume of a side seam. Plus it is always fun to add something to your garment that only you know is there.


I sewn this skirt in one sitting and it only took 3 hours. I had to change thread on couple of occasions, because I was using a Gutermann top stitching tread on my pockets, placket and hem to see how my machine would handle it and if I like the look. I admit I really like it, and will most probably be using this thread in a future. The pattern instructions are simple to follow and the only difficult or scary bit would be as always…the buttonholes! I had to make 7 and it went like a dream. My machine does not disappoint me! Thank you Janome! I used some jean buttons, because I like the classic look and I bough bunch of them while making Cleo dungaree last year.

Final thoughts

This is a successful and happy make, that I am grateful for completing. It surprises me that I can pair it up with so many different tops and sweaters from my closet, which is an indicator of my slow development of personal style and growing me made wardrobe. Something I am extremely happy about! I can understand why so many people consider this skirt a staple in their closet and it is definitely an all season appropriate garment.

Do you wear skirts? If yes, what is your favorite pattern?

See you next time!

Monika xxx