When a the hash tag #sewtogetherforsummer appeared on Instagram, I was really pleased that we had a lot of time to make the dress. Usually I find the deadlines for these challenges a bit to short. Anyhow this coincided with Gemma wanting to sew shirt dresses during our May Sewing Day (blogged about here). I had this chambray fabric in my stash for ages. I got it from WhiteTree fabrics. I always knew this will some day become a shirt dress. So far I avoided it as I was still afraid of making shirts. However after the workshop in Liverpool (blogged about here), I finally conquered my fear and with some tips under my belt I was ready for a shirtdress. I chose to make again the Cuba Libre dress by Capital Chic Patterns . As I made this dress before when I tested the pattern for Sally (aka @charityshopchic) I decided to make some minor changes to the pattern. For the main body of the shirt I cut a size 12 on the sides to give myself a bit more ease. Based on the measurement I should have cut a size 14, but since this is a very loose garment, I decided I don’t want it too loose.
Besides shortening the skirt and sleeves, I also decided to use a one piece pattern to make the sleeve placket. I prefer this method because I get better results. As a result I downloaded the McCall’s placket piece and used it for for this dress.I also hand-stitched the under-lap piece of the placket in place, rather than topstitching it. I am glad I did this as I am happy with the results.I know that the placket is much longer than the one that comes with the pattern, but I don’t car, it does not make any difference to the sleeve. I also preferred to turn under and then topstitched to hid the raw edges of my seam allowance.For the construction of the collar , I used what I learnt during the Liverpool workshop. Among the tips I got during that day was to use the interfacing on the collar piece exposed to the public, cut the under collar a bit smaller, under stitch the under collar to make sure the other side is not showing and to trim down the seam allowances rather than to clip them. To date this is my best shirt collar that I made. I also decided to make my own belt loops and self fabric tie. If you want and are interested I can make a tutorial and post it here in case you would find it useful or need some ideas how you could make your own, just let me know in the comments or on social media. I another change or of pattern move was to construct the button plackets by turning towards the right side, rather than the wrong side. This worked well for me because the right side and the wrong side of the fabric are the same (no obvious differences to the naked eye). It took me about two weeks to get the courage to open the button holes, because I was afraid I might make a mistake and ruin all the work I’ve done on this shirt dress. But once I located my fray check bottle and armed with new found courage I just went for it. For the button placement I did not use the pattern, but set my own using my Simflex Gauge (which I got for my birthday a few years ago, thanks to a very generous friend). I used a pack of shirt buttons from Prym I got from my local fabric store. I decided that rather than spend forever and a day to figure how to put them with my sewing machine, I’d rather spend forever to put in 12 buttons by hand. As I mentioned before, this is my best work to date, when it comes to shirts/shirt dresses. it looks a bit boring when I wear it with the self fabric tie I made for it, so I will use a different colour tie or belt when I’ll wear it into the world. For this version I decided the an inverted please looks better. The belt loop in action and the dipped hem.