Friday, 24 January 2014

Finished: Denim Shirt Dress

After the endless denim talk on my blog recently, I thought I'd better show you my first (but definitely not my last!) denim make of the year - a denim shirt dress using McCall's 6696. I decided on this pattern after being completely bowled over by Sew Dixie Lou's summery sleeveless version. I didn't want to wait until summer to make it though - I needed a dress that I could wear during the day with boots and tights - and that's when the idea for a denim shirt dress was born.


For fabric I used a dark, dress weight denim from Minerva Crafts which I initially thought might be a bit too stiff, but it actually behaved itself perfectly whilst I was making the dress. The sturdiness of the fabric ensured everything matched up and the seams and darts were easy to press flat. The pattern was also a delight to use - I went for view D, which features a straight skirt with inset pockets and longer sleeves. I measured all the pattern pieces beforehand (as advised by Clare) and was satisfied that the size 14 would be the right fit. I also seem to have cunningly side stepped the whole issue of a FBA with this dress as the pattern allows for different cup sizes. Separate bodice pieces are given depending on the difference between your high bust measurement and your full bust measurement. Please note: the cup sizes on this pattern are NOT the same as bra cup sizes so you'll need to measure yourself carefully to see which bodice piece you need. I  cut a straight size 14 all over and a C cup. The only change I made to the pattern pieces was to shorten the skirt by 2.5 inches.


I really like most of the features on this dress but there are still a couple of things that the jury's out about. After sewing up the original pointy cuffs, I decided they looked way too pointy pointy and alien-like, so swapped them for straight ones. ("Pointy birds, pointy, pointy. anoint my head, anointy, nointy"- five gold stars to anyone who can tell me which film that line is from….) The gathered back also takes a bit of getting used to - I do like a yoke and a few gathers, but this is maybe a gather too far. Despite the good fit across the bust (hoorah), the lower bodice feels a bit baggy and is a looser fit than I'm used to. After a bit of pondering, I left the bodice as it was and it hasn't killed me, it's actually really comfortable to wear. This is supposed to be a dress version of a pair of jeans after all. If in doubt, I can always add a belt...


Taking my own advice from my Tips for Sewing with Denim post, I used contrasting cotton poplin (last seen on my blue rose drawstring top ) for the pockets and under collar.

Contrast pocket, you can just see the straight cuff too
If I'd had a bit more fabric to spare, I would have cut the inner yoke and waistband pieces from it too, which would have made the inside even prettier. It's slightly annoying that the under collar is actually visible when I wear the dress. For some reason I was thinking it would be buttoned up to the neck. Why? Why? It's a well known fact that I hate anything too tight around the neck. I'm such a dumbo sometimes!

The instructions call for the front band to be attached to the top and bottom of the dress with a few slip stitches, which wasn't going to satisfy me, The front bands and the waistband were all firmly topstitched into submission. One good thing about sewing with denim is that you can never have enough topstitching. The more you add, the better your garment looks!

Top stitched front bands and vintage buttons

I'm really happy with the end result, I now have a dress that fits well, is super comfortable and made of denim. What more could you ask for?! If you'd like to make a denim shirt dress of your own, you can buy a Minerva kit comprising two metres of medium weight, indigo denim (the fabric is wide so I was able to cut out the whole long sleeved dress from two metres), McCalls 6696 and matching denim thread. If you plan on top stitching the life out of your dress then you may wish to purchase additional denim thread as I ran out half way through.



Happy Friday everybody!  x

The kit was given to me free of charge as part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. All views my own.


57 comments:

  1. Wow, that looks amazing. I hope it's as comfy as it looks. I love all the details and the top stitching - very professional. Lovely.

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  2. Love it Jane! Have you got a direct-link to the exact denim fabic at Minerva please :)?

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    1. Sorry Claire, my oversight. I've just added a link to the denim in the second paragraph, I went for the Indigo Blue. x

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  3. Lovely dress! I am tempted to make a denim dress now. Oh and the quotation is from "The Man With Two Brains" :-D. Love that film!

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    1. Thank you and five gold stars for getting the correct answer! I watched the Pointy Birds clip on Youtube today, it still cracks me up every time! x

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  4. it's also from LA story, which is another Steve Martin film!

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    1. Ah I didn't know that, will have to watch it now, thanks. (Five gold stars to you too!) x

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  5. This is lovely! Perfect for the weather at the moment, and goes wonderfully with those boots. :)

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  6. damn - other people got in first with the film quote - i love that film! and your dress is gorgeous - i really like the contrast fabric showing!

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  7. I love the splash of contrast that the inner collar gives - I thought it was done on purpose and not a mistake.

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    1. Well it was done on purpose, I just didn't realise how visible it would be! Having said that, the more I wear it the more I like it, so maybe it's a happy accident?! x

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  8. this is a classic doll and so flattering. I'm deffo making myself a denim ginger now.

    xxx

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    1. Yes, yes, make one! You'd rock a denim Ginger darling! x

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  9. The contrast fabric on the inside collar band is such a nice touch! Another classy and classic make, well done Jane!

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  10. Your dress is so chic and neat looking, great with your boots. Love the floral touch too & beautifully done. I have a shirt dress on my 'to make' list for this year, great to hear that pattern can be manipulated for different cup size... will have to give it a try.

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  11. Verf Nice ... You look wonderful

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  12. It looks fabulous !!
    And very professionally made too.

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  13. I totally bought that pattern because you had mentioned it in one of your earlier posts, and I loved the waistband detail - I never thought to make it in a medium weight fabric, but it works!! You'll get tons of wear out of this one, I'm sure :)

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    1. I think so, I've worn it every day since I finished it! x

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  14. Great looking dress! I really like it in denim. I've made one too, and thought the same thing about the pointy cuffs!

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    1. Yes! definitely too pointy pointy! Glad it wasn't just me! x

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  15. I love this! What a perfect dress.

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  16. Very nice Jane... It looks very pretty on you :0) mari

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  17. Great dress, beautifully finished as always, and the rose facings are lovely! I made myself a denim dress last year using a 60s pattern which turned out great - in fact, it's not quite denim, but original 'bleu de travail' from my French grandmother's stash! - but I haven't dared wash it yet as I'm terrified I'll end up with those annoying faded crease marks. Was wondering whether to hand wash or dry clean as a way of getting round it. Any tips?

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    1. I'd be tempted to dry clean with such precious fabric, but that's just me. In my own personal denim experience I've found that those annoying crease marks only appear after the first pre-wash of the fabric. Taking the fabric out of the machine as soon as it's washed and pressing whilst damp would certainly help. I still got a couple of creases whilst making this dress, but managed to cut around them. Good luck, however you decide to wash it! x

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  18. Looks great Jane, love the contrast material that you used :)

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  19. Beautiful! I admire your attention to detail, it always makes your garments a step above, like the facings!

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  20. It looks great. I made a denim dress last summer and worried through out the make that the denim was too heavy but it was fine. I've also discovered how to do topstitching properly thanks to the great topstitching post from 'yes I like that' and your denim tips.

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    1. Thank you! Your denim dress is absolutely gorgeous, it looks really comfortable too. Heavy denim does soften up quite a bit, it's often quite deceiving, I thought mine would be too stiff too. X

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  21. This looks fantastic. What a great wardrobe staple you've made. I'm sure you'll get a lot of wear out of this and will be able to experiment with a lot of different ways of styling it

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  22. Jane, that looks marvellous!

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  23. The dress looks great, I particularly like the poplin and especially being able to see it on the under collar, a lovely touch.

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  24. Looks really great on you! Love the collar stand.

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  25. Love it Jane!! It looks as intended, the skirted version of fave jeans. And nice finish too. I bet you'll get heaps of wear out of it....

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  26. Jane this is absolutely stunning and looks perfect on you. Sending you hugs
    Dorothy
    :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  27. I bet that becomes a total favourite ! Really wearable style

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  28. Looks great! It's very flattering!

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  29. I've been looking for a shirt dress pattern for a while now - you've totally sold me on this one! It looks great - very flattering!

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  30. This is wonderful Jane. It's the perfect shirt dress for you and I love the fabric. Very lovely job. You must be thrilled to bits with it!

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  31. Gorgeous! I love the flowery fabric at the neck and the big buttons. It looks fab on you, and I bet you'll get lots of wear from it.

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  32. Lovely Jane, really lovely!!!

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  33. My my, that is one professional looking dress! Divine! x

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  34. This is great, I love the buttons too!

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    1. Oh my goodness, it worked! I've not been able to leave a comment on your blog for ages, now I've just got to remember how I did it!!

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    2. Oh hoorah! sorry you've been having trouble - stupid blog! Thank you so much for my wonderful denim card by the way, I LOVE it, it totally made my day when I opened it. The models are eye wateringly gorgeous too! :-) xxxx
      Raincoat's plodding along, nearly finished now... x

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  35. Beautiful your vestisdo! How can I get the pattern, I would love to do me one the same.

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  36. Oh Jane, I love it! I want my own denim shirt dress soooooo much now!!!!

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  37. Ohhhhh I looove that. I think I have found a shirt dress that will suit my pear shaped figure!

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