This is one of those projects which had been in the pipeline for quite some time. I purchased the fabric last year (I think!) from Fabric Godmother and it has been sitting in the utility room on the unironed fabric pile of doom since then. I bought the pattern in a sale forever ago. I even had it printed by The Fold Line a year ago, and cut out the right size at the start of the warm weather this year.
But then a lack of appetite for more involved projects kicked in and the fabric, finally ironed, perched unloved behind the sofa for months.
Finally, towards the end of the “school holidays”, I found myself looking for a slightly more involved project. After two Gilbert shirts, I was thoroughly enjoying a burrito method and determined to get this dress sewn before it was too late!
I’m pretty late to the Reeta Shirt Dress party: this has been around for some time and there are some beautiful versions out there. I refer you in particular to Marie’s latest version, also in Fabric Godmother crepe! I’d had my reservations about the drawstring waist, of all things, but gradually realised that the pattern ticked a lot of boxes for me, so decided it was time to give it a go.
There are things I really liked about making this. The cuffed sleeves, for example, aren’t actually cuffed: they are folded and topstitched to give the impression of cuffs, but without actually faffing with separate pattern pieces. The burrito finished back yoke is always my favourite finish to a shirt and I surprised myself by liking the drawstring waist once finished.
There are other things I loved a lot less. Some of them are probably operator error: this gorgeous fabric was an absolute, shifty nightmare to sew with. Buttonholes were not my friend, and the instructions for getting the hem all lined up just didn’t work out at all. Error in cutting? Who knows; I made it work but I’m glad I didn’t try this a couple of years ago!
I had thought that I would cut a drawstring from the fabric itself, but then when cutting out realised how incredibly shifty the stuff was, so simply ordered some cotton cording online. The drawstring goes through a ribbon channel sewn to the inside of the dress, so there are two buttonholes at the front for this to exit via. I didn’t bother cutting the cord to the length prescribed in the instructions as it looked fine once threaded through, but I did really like this way of creating a channel.
I also got really lucky with buttons. I have a stash of cards of buttons from a local haberdashery which shut down earlier this year: lots of random colours and sizes, but it turned out I had a card of 10 little green buttons exactly the right shade: win!
I really do love the finished dress. The style seems a great match for the fabric print, and I think that while this works beautifully in the current warmth, it will also look great with black tights, ankle boots and a black leather jacket, so expect to be wearing this into autumn.
So, maybe it’s time to start on some transitional makes? What’s on your to sew list for autumn?
Pattern: Reeta shirt dress by Named
Fabric poly crepe from Fabric Godmother
Size cut 40
Adjustments made none
Future adjustments? Nope, spot on as is!
Make again? Not sure: I love this dress but don’t know how many this style I would wear?