Denim Shirtdress | New Look 6487

I don’t browse the New Look selection very often, partially because I don’t like the website (though it is improved from the original re-design) and partially because they never go on sale like the Simplicity/McCalls $1-ish sales at JoAnn’s. In all fairness, the standard $5 price tag is super reasonable, so I should really peruse their selection more frequently. As a bonus—I never need to wait for a sale.

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The “tween” pattern New Look 6487 stopped me dead in my tracks, so I made sure to pick it up. It’s so cute! I love all the style options included. I’m sure it’ll be on repeat all year round—currently all three of my girls are asking for one version or another. Being the youngest girl, Isabella always gets the ratty hand-me-downs (poor thing!) so I try to make her something special every now and again. She happened to be with me when I bought the pattern and she loved this lightweight denim at JoAnn’s—perfect match. And seriously, this fabric is so nice and soft! I’m sure I’ll be going back for more.

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The smallest size is an 8, and she is very tiny as is (just shy of 9 yrs old), so I knew it would be big on her. I did not make any size alterations to the pattern because I figured it would be fine to be oversized now, and hopefully fit her better next year. I did eliminate the back pleat because I felt it was odd to have the pleat combined with the gathered skirt. Idk, maybe I’m just being weird, but I didn’t like it. Since there is plenty of volume as is, I simply shifted the back piece off the edge of the fabric, and did the same with the back skirt piece.

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The only other change I made was to cut different chest pockets. The pattern has a funky pocket shape and I wasn’t digging it. I keep pocket templates sitting around in my sewing room, so I just grabbed a kid sized pocket and used that.

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I just want to note how pleased I was with this pattern! The yoke, collar, and collar stand all have full size pieces, with the grain line correctly indicated. Frequently these pieces are cut on the fold and laid perpendicular to the grain, where they should be turned and cut with the grain. At least this is how it’s done in RTW, and also how David Coffin illustrates it to be done in his Shirtmaking book. Additionally, the neckline and collar pieces have 3/8″ SA’s, making it infinitely easier to assemble. I always cut down the SA’s if they are any wider than this, so it was nice that I didn’t have to fuss with changing it myself.

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Oversized or not, she is completely in love with this dress and has snuck in several wears before throwing it in the wash. It’s denim, so who am I to judge. She plans to layer it with leggings or tights and a long sleeve tee underneath so she can continue to wear it through the winter since you can’t easily stuff the sleeves into a sweater. All in all I am super pleased with how this dress came out, as is Isabella. I’ll definitely be sewing this one again, and *ahem* maybe making a knockoff for myself…

—lisa g.


TL;DR

PATTERN: New Look 6487
FABRIC: lightweight denim | JoAnn’s
SIZE: 8 (measurements for reference: 4’2″/22.5″/21.5″/24″)
MODS: eliminated back pleat, used different chest pocket
ALTERATIONS: none
NEXT TIME: no changes planned

Salme Buttonless Shirtdress

Oh hey there! I’ve been pretty low on blogging motivation as of late, but maybe Spring will put me back in the mood for taking pictures and whatnot. Life took a (somewhat) unexpectedly crappy turn this year, but hopefully we’ll be back in the swing of things shortly. Fingers crossed!

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Anyway, I’ve been in the mood for a new spring/summer dress. I really want to make a proper shirtdress, but time and motivation lacking, I decided to try the Salme Buttonless Shirtdress; a  pattern I bought ages ago but never got around to sewing. It’s a pullover shift dress with a loose fit and collar band. It’s a nod to the shirtdress without quite going all the way. I think it was the gathers at the neckline that sent this pattern into MUST HAVE territory for me, because I adore that small detail.

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This is the first time I’ve made a Salme pattern, and tbh, I haven’t seen many people sewing them up. I don’t know why though, the designs are all really classic and they come in at a very reasonable price ($6-8). Based on my measurements, I cut a 6 at the bust, 8 at the waist, and 10 at the hip. If you’re in between sizes it would be pretty safe to size down. This dress has plenty of ease, but not overwhelmingly so.

I feel like maybe the patterns are drafted for someone a bit taller than average. The bust dart and arm holes are a solid 1″ too low. It’s fairly common for me to remove length above the bust, so this isn’t a huge surprise. Also, I typically add length to hemlines, but here I shortened it by 1″ and it still hits just above my knees (I am very long from waist to knee, fyi).

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Since the bust dart was so low, I decided to unpick the side seam and dart and re-sew the dart angled up by 3/4″. This worked alright for a quick and dirty fix—at least the dart is headed in vaguely the right direction now. I wasn’t super fussed about getting a perfect fit, so while I couldn’t do anything about the low armhole at least the bust dart is passable. The only criticism I have of this pattern is that there isn’t a marking for where to start the neckline gathers. I just guessed and tried to make sure it was even on both sides. Oh, and you do have to add seam allowances. That’s not a negative in my opinion, but I know it’s a deal breaker for some.

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The fabric I used is a linen, rayon, poly blend from Joanns. Isn’t the color divine? I hesitated for a moment because it’s so bright, but I’m glad I went with it. I’m typically not attracted to solid colored fabrics (must buy all the pretty prints!) but when I get dressed in the morning I always wish I had more solids to choose from.

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Bottom line on this one… LOVE. This is such a versatile dress that would be equally suited to a summer BBQ as it would a date night. It isn’t fussy, and it feels very chic. With shirtdresses all the rage these days, I would think this would be a very popular pattern. Anyone else been sewing up Salme Patterns? I’ll definitely be paying more attention to their offerings in the future.

lisa g.

a very loud alder shirtdress

Hey guys! June was a major whirlwind around these parts, with school finishing up and the accompanying busyness that ensues. Then we took off for our family vacation as soon as school was out and were gone for almost two weeks. We drove cross country, from (west of) Boston all the way to my home town in the middle of Kansas. It’s about a 24 hour drive, but with kids who have bladders the size of a walnut, it ends up being much, much longer. Oy. Not my favorite trek, but flights to KS (for a family of six) are just crazy expensive. We managed to visit some friends and family both coming and going in order to convince ourselves that it was worth the effort!

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Anyway, we’re back now, so here is a Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress I furiously sewed up before our trip. I jumped on this pattern the second it came out, but have only sewed it up once. THE SHAME! But I’ve had a hard time finding the right fabric since I needed it to be opaque, but not so stiff that it would be difficult to gather or not hang nicely. My dive of a fabric shop, Sewfisticated, stepped up to the plate and delivered this super awesome fabric. It’s a cotton sateen, but light weight enough to be a shirting fabric. It has the right drape and it’s perfectly opaque and the pattern is a large scale paisley. I could hardly believe my luck! Man I love that shop. Hardly anything is priced above $4/yd, unless it’s silk or wool.

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As I cut the dress out, I began to doubt my choice of admittedly very loud fabric. However, giant paisley=awesome so I kept at it. I’m very glad I did, because I think it’s a super fun dress. It wasn’t super fun finding buttons though. Purple is a pretty difficult color to match, and JoAnn’s yielded nothing. Shocking. Eventually I found something passable at Fabric Basement. Is it too picky to say that I prefer a four hole button when it comes to button ups? I suppose it can be forgiven since it’s a women’s dress and not a men’s shirt, but whatever. Random note: The pattern and website says you need 9 buttons, but you actually need 10. I had to leave off the last buttonhole because my buttons came in a pack of 3, and thus I only bought 9 buttons!

Fitting tweaks:

I’ve made view A before, so I had a good idea of the fitting tweaks I would need. I cut a 6 in the bodice with a teeny tiny SBA. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t even need to bother because the dart is fairly small to begin with. On the front, I graded the side seam out to the 8 (per my measurements) but left the back at a 6. My lower back is narrow and I would have been tempted to add darts for shaping, so I figured keeping the smaller size would have similar effect. Last time I raised the bust darts and armholes, but really what I needed was a petite adjustment, which is easier anyway. I shortened the bodice above the bust by 1/2″ and now everything is in place. I think I still added 1/4″ or so the the armholes, because I detest low armholes. Also, I feel as though I should raise the pockets by another 1/2″ or so, because the current placement kinda flattens my chest a bit, visually.

For the skirt portion, I cut a 10 (per my hip measurement). Then I sliced and lengthened the skirt by 1″ at the L/S line. I do wish I had another 1/2″ to 1″ in length, because I feel a bit exposed as is. The side curves up and feels really short, but I love the swoop of the back hemline. I carry my width in my thighs, so I feel mildly porky with my small upper body, skinny ankles, but thick thighs. Oh well… I will continue to wear this dress and hopefully make a few more in time!

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So that’s that. Great pattern, fit, style… everything. I’ll be sewing this up every time I find Alder-appropriate fabric!

—lisa g.