Black floral Nicola shirt dress

IMG_4542 I have a search. A search for the perfect shirt dress. As an item of clothing I blooming love them but as a thing to make I’d felt pretty daunted by it as a possibility.

I’m going to say right now that this dress is not the perfect shirt dress. In fact, this dress very nearly got consigned to the WIP pile for all eternity and even once complete it very nearly caused a meltdown and immediate binning.

But more of that when we get there, for now….

What is it?

A black floral shirt dress with V-shape neckline and full length sleeves

Is it blue?

No (note to self: this is becoming a bit of a trend at the moment. Must buy more blue fabric)

What’s the fabric?

A super soft cotton (polyester? rayon? I have no idea) that’s black with white and red flowers (best description I can think of for them)

What’s the pattern?

The Nicola Dress from Sewaholic

Where’s the fabric from?

I got it at the Birmingham Rag Market during SewBrum for the princely price of £1 per metre!

1-IMG_4078What was good about making this?

I got to try out a new skill with this dress; making sleeve plackets! I realised I hadn’t quite read the instructions correctly about half way through, but I was pretty please when I did it, as evidenced by my immediate wearing of said sleeve…

IMG_4536What was bad about making this?

Where to start? With the collar piece that I cut to the wrong size because the schematic diagram for the layout wasn’t particularly clear? The confusion around finishing the facing? It doesn’t help that I got so far with making it and then ran out of time before Christmas, so left it unhemmed and unbuttonholed (?) for about a month. By which time I was fed up of it and bored, a feeling repeated when I hand sewed on the buttons (whodathunk a shirt dress would have lots of buttons….).

The absolute moment of (near) tears though was when, having finished it, I tried it on with the belt that comes with the dress. It looked hideous. A moment of learning the hard way that I do not suit a loose bodice or fussy waistlines with extra fabric. I looked – and felt – like a giant sack of potatoes.


For then I remembered my old friend the cinch belt and lo, with a bit of a nip in and reallocation of fabric folds, the dress was completely redeemed. And now I love it. So much so that I’ve worn it a couple of times already in the fortnight since making.

Would you make it again?

Nope. This dress is not the dream shirt dress that I was hoping for and, whilst I’m pleased with the finished product, I think that I wouldn’t make it again. I have however found out about the fabled McCalls 6696 shirt dress that seems to be getting a lot of positive press in the blogsphere, so have bought a copy and plan on making that after my current (nearly finished) project.

The great shirt dress search continues…


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