As part of this year's #thelittlereddressproject from @rosabellaangelica and @runningnstyle, I decided to sew a plaid, flannel Alex Shirt Dress to keep me cozy this winter!
Since I recently started working from home as part of my day job, tunics, shirt dresses, and flared knit dresses having become wardrobe staple: I can wear something comfy, cozy and put together on my top half, while rocking my leggings and long-johns underneath (very necessary for the winter months in Canada). It's just the right balance of being comfy and socially acceptable.
I bought the Sew Over It City Break e-Book when they had a flash sale this past summer, and this is the first pattern I've tried from it. So far, I've made one shirt-dress with the Rosa Shirtdress pattern from Tilly and the Buttons and two collared shirts (one for myself using the Rosa and the other for my husband using the Colette Negroni). I would definitely describe the Alex as a simpler shirt pattern if you are new to sewing shirtdresses - and if that is the look you are going for.
It being the holidays, I was in the mood for a quick, relatively simple shirt-dress pattern! This definitely fit the bill. Here are my pattern notes:
- The shirt has a camp-collar, and the button stand is created by folding over the main fabric - no need to fiddle with interfacing :)
- Underneath the collar where it is attached to the yoke, I used some obvious, meant-to-be-decorative stitching to give it more of a handmade, laid-back feel.
- When attaching the back piece to the two yoke pieces, PIN FIRST horizontally, then turn the piece right side out to make sure you've arranged it properly. It took me unpicking the stitches three times from the same seam to try this, and another two tries to actually get it correctly arranged so it wasn't twisted or backwards. In previous shirts, I'd rolled the back pieice sausage-style into the yoke, so I was unfamiliar with this technique and struggled real hard.
- Pattern matching with this pattern is also hard. I made a concerted effort to do so, and really should not have bothered as you can barely notice. Pattern matching is still a skill I've yet to master, and this buffalo plaid did not play nice. It was made more challenging because of the back yoke pleat, patch pockets, sleeves and it's A silhouette. I don't think it's impossible (especially depending on your print), but it is challenging if you're obsessive about that type of thing.
- The brushed plaid was super cozy, and easy to work with. After working with knits for most of my projects over the holidays, it was super satisfying to blast this flannel with steam and get a crisp fold. I definitely think it worked well for a structured version of this pattern. However, for next time, I think I might try a rayon blend brushed plaid so that it has a bit more drape to it. Because the shoulders and top are meant to be loose, sometimes I felt like I had a shoulder-pad situation going on because the fabric didn't have enough drape.
- I used French seams on my dress for the side seams so that the dress would last longer and have a cleaner finish. The flannel really frayed, so I thought it would look nicer with a cleaner finish. While they are slightly more bulky, I clipped them down quite nicely so that's it's not in a bothersome way.
- When sewing the collar, try this technique:
When you get to the corner, with your needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and adjust the fabric to sew a single stitch diagonally before sewing in the opposite direction. This can help you get a crisper corner.
What cozy winter makes have you been up to?
Self-taught sewist, Knitter, Crocheter, and all round crafty person from Ottawa, Canada.