Spring Shirtdresses


Stores like Anthropologie are full of cute shirtdresses–and for good reason. They are easy to wear while looking put-together. Layer them with a jacket or a cardigan. Pair them with tights. Or go simple with a slim belt and ballet flats. In short: awesome. Unfortunately, I’ve had trouble finding a good simple shirtdress that will fit my hips AND my shoulders properly. The perfect challenge for the seamstress!


I used Simplicity 2246 as my base pattern–the Lisette Traveler dress. For my first version, I cut into the stretch chambray I bought in Chicago (which I also used to make a springtime Everyday Skirt). I added about 1.5″ to the length of the tunic length version and kept it simple with a band collar (I kind of wish I had maybe a half inch more length on this, just for my own comfort). I finished the front with simple snaps instead of buttons. Oh, and to add a little shaping, I added two fish-eye darts in the back in a pretty haphazard manner.


I wanted real, full-length sleeves for versatility–so I could potentially wear this with tights or leggings on chillier days. I also wanted a real sleeve cuff, which this pattern didn’t have. So, I grafted the bottom half of the Grainline Archer sleeve and cuff onto the top of the Simplicity sleeve–so that I didn’t have to re-draft the armholes or anything. I also added sleeve tabs, courtesy of the tutorial over at Dixie DIY, because who doesn’t love a sleeve tab?


For the second version, I chose a straight hem and went a little longer in length, in the hopes that this could be more professionally appropriate. The fabric is more Liberty lawn that I’ve been hoarding since about 2006, too afraid to cut into it. I’m really glad I made the first version as an opportunity to fine-tune the fit and practice my topstitching before cutting into this beautiful and special fabric!



The back fisheye darts are a bit more precise in this version, as I traced some off of an old sheath dress pattern I had hanging around. And, I narrowed the sleeves a tiny bit and took about 1/2″ off the length of the sleeves (though rolled up, you can’t tell.)


Here’s a close-up of one of my sleeve tabs and the simple shell buttons I selected to finish the dress. 16 buttons and buttonholes on this dress! Thank goodness my sewing machine makes great buttonholes. It also has an automatic feature that sews on the buttons for you, which I used for the first time. It worked so great! Definitely gearing up for more button-downs in the future.

I’ve made eight garments from my spring & summer sewing queue so far, so I’m doing pretty well! I’m about to be on a hiatus for about a month and a half, though (more on that soon), so we’ll see if I actually get through everything.