This light and lovely shirt dress is great for layering now, then staying cool all summer long – especially if you opt for chambray, like Amanda Walker has here (don’t forget to neaten the raw edges). You’ll add shaping with simple darts and tucks, then master gathered-head sleeves and inserting an invisible zipper… we promise it will quickly become a favourite in your me-made wardrobe!
- Light to medium-weight fabric, 2.2m (1.5m wide)
- Fusible interfacing
- 30cm concealed zip
- Four buttons
- Single-sided fusible buckram, 2.5cm wide
- Front bodice: cut one pair
- Back bodice: cut one on the fold
- Front skirt: cut one on the fold
- Back skirt: cut one on the fold
- Sleeve: cut one pair
- Pocket back: cut two on the fold
- Pocket bag: cut two on the fold
- Belt: cut one 6cm x (waist + 24cm) strip
- Collar: cut two
- Belt: cut one 2.5cm x (waist + 20cm) strip
- 1.5cm seam allowance used unless otherwise stated.
1 Download and print the pattern at sewmag.co.uk/templates. Cut all the pieces as indicated in the cutting guide and transfer all markings. Fuse interfacing to the collar and front bodice facing area as indicated. Stitch the darts into the front and back bodice pieces, then press towards the centre. Fold in and pin the tucks at either side of the front darts, then stitch them down along the waistline.
2 Neaten the shoulders and side seams on the front and back bodice pieces, pin right sides together, then sew the shoulder seams. Pin the collars right sides together, then stitch along the outer edge. Trim the corners, then turn right sides out and press. Clip the curve around the neckline. Pin the collar to the neck, matching the centre-back points and the front dots, then stitch. Leave the collar pinned down.
3 Fold the facing part of the front bodice to the right side, noting the fold line indicated on the pattern, so that the collar is sandwiched between the bodice outer and the facing. Pin, then stitch along the neckline as far as the shoulder seams on both sides of the front bodice, so a small step is formed in front of each end of the collar. Trim the corners, turn the facings to the inside, then press flat.
4 Turn under the short edge at the top of the facing, then stitch it to the shoulder seam. Topstitch 1cm from the fold, up one front edge, around the back of the collar, then down the other side. Pin the front and back bodice at the side seams, right sides together, then stitch from the underarm to the zip notch on the left.
5 Sew two rows of 5mm-long gathering stitches between the notches on the head of the sleeves. Pin the underarm seams right sides together, sew, then press them open. Turn the sleeves out, then pull the gathering threads slightly to fit them into the bodice armholes, matching the notches. Align the side and underarm seams, then pin and stitch in place.
6 Pin the pocket bags to the curved upper edge of the front skirt, right sides together, matching the notches, then sew with a 1cm allowance. Clip the curve, turn the pouches to the wrong side of the skirt, press, then topstitch along the curved edges. Pin the back pocket pieces behind the bags, then sew around the curve and press. Fold the tucks on the front waistline, then pin the pockets onto the skirt and stitch along the top and side.
7 Pin the skirt pieces right sides together, then stitch the side seams, only sewing as far up as the zipper notch on the left-hand seam. Press the seams open. Pin the skirt to the bodice at the waistline, right sides together, matching the side seams and the centre-back and front, then stitch.
8 Insert the invisible zipper into the left-hand side seam. Fold and press a 3cm hem at the skirt base and sleeve cuffs, then topstitch in place. Make four buttonholes on the right side of the front bodice, then stitch buttons on the left.