I hadn't sewn a Sew Over It pattern before but I've seen lots of great examples of the Vintage Shirt Dress sewn up that inspired me to give it a go. It has all the ingredients I like in a dress, an A line skirt (more so than the line drawing would have you believe) narrow V-neck line, feature collar, yoke, gathering at the shoulder. A few things are lacking- pockets being the most notable and length of sleeve being another- I would usually choose either sleeveless or full sleeved but all these niggles are easy to rectify.
I made a bodice toile out of some shirting and as a result I made a few alterations to the original pattern.
- Added ¾" to bodice length (see photo below). I wanted the waist to hit me at my waistline, not above. I might shorten this by ¼" in the next version.
- Cut side seams between size 8 and 10. In hindsight, should've cut size 8, maybe smaller as it is generous on the side.
- All other seams size 8 apart from the back of the sleeve head and arm hole- cut size 10 as I like a lot of freedom to move across the back.
- Added 10" to length of front and back skirt- added on to the hem and flared out accordingly. Also added 10" to length of front facing.
- Lengthened the sleeve by 2"- the length added around 4" up from the cuffs and the side seams graded in. With the cuffs turned back they are bracelet length, with cuffs turned down, they are almost full length.
- Small (¼") round back adjustment. This could, will reduce it next time.
- Reduced fullness at the bust by removing around ½" from the top shoulder gathering area grading down to ¼" from the pleat at the waist.
- Fabric: I used Robert Kaufman Anchor print chambray from Village Haberdashery. This is a great weight for a dress. It didn't need lining an although in cooler weather I wear a slip underneath, I wouldn't need to do so on a warmer spring day.
- Contrast fabric is Cambridge lawn in navy, also by Robert Kaufman. This is a lovely silky cotton but I did need to take a bit of care with the iron as it easily becomes shiny. The solution us to use a pressing cloth, I use a thin piece of cotton fabric.
- Interfacing: Perfect fuse sheer. Also added to cuffs.
- Snaps replaced buttons and buttonholes.
The instructions are very detailed, especially for the collar and long facing. The shoulders ended up a little on the large side. I will reduce these by around ¼" at the armhole edge on the top and front armhole edges. The fit around the waist and sides was generous and I added ties at the back to cinch it in a little; even then there is a lot of ease. I will reduce the side seams by ⅜" on each side so 1½" in total. These are small tweaks to make and I definitely see this dress in a sleeveless version for summer. I've worn this three or four times already- firstly on Christmas day and I love it's period feel. I didn't add pockets on this particular dress but it I will on the next.