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Second Chances Shirtwaist Dress

Added Mar 7, 2012

by tippiella

Bergen, Norway






This is the shirtwaist dress project, round two. I actually started this project before Christmas, with the aim of replacing a shirtdress I already had that I liked the idea of, but didn’t really love. I’m a big fan of shirtdresses but good ones are hard to find – the one I had was made in a thin, flimsy cotton that was usually a wrinkled mess before I even left the house, and the skirt was much shorter than I preferred, so I have been thinking about making a new one for a while. After a disastrous attempt at Simplicity’s 3039 (from 1959) (don’t ask!), I decided the easiest thing would be to make my own pattern for it, so this dress is partly based on an old dress I had (the shirt part) with a full, knife-pleated skirt.

I really like the pattern and think this has the potential to be the shirtdress, but this cotton fabric is still not quite perfect. The weight and drape is right, but it’s still a little too wrinkle-prone and dust-attracting. So the project continues, when I find the right fabric I will make up a version #3!

Any suggestions for fabrics suitable for a shirtdress? :)





Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Garment Type

15 Comments Sign in to add a post

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    Apr 1, 2012, 07.38 AMby JacquiLouise

    This is a great dress – you have done a wonderful job! Love your style.

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    Mar 16, 2012, 11.21 AMby nikkishell

    Viscose comes in many weights and textures though, maybe you just didn’t have the right one.

    1 Reply
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      Mar 17, 2012, 03.23 PMby tippiella

      Ahh, yes that’s probably true.

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    Mar 14, 2012, 02.51 AMby clareh

    Looks good! Thanks for the in depth analysis. It’s always great to hear from other sewist’s experiences!

    1 Reply
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      Mar 14, 2012, 07.12 PMby tippiella

      Thank you! :)

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    Mar 12, 2012, 04.13 AMby nikkishell

    This si a great shirtdress! How about viscose? The creasing is minimal. Wool crepe would be nice too.

    1 Reply
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      Mar 14, 2012, 07.11 PMby tippiella

      Hmm, not sure about viscose – I used that on the Simplicity 3039 shirtdress that I failed miserably with and found it was a bit too slippery and not structured enough for a shirtdress, at least not the look I was going for.
      Wool crepe however… :)

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    Mar 9, 2012, 08.21 PMby zranitelna

    It might not be the perfect shirt dress (YET!) but it looks definitely perfect on the pictures :) Nice silhouette.

    1 Reply
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      Mar 11, 2012, 08.37 AMby tippiella

      Thank you! :)

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    Mar 8, 2012, 10.10 PMby merche

    Lovely dress! It looks great as it is. There is a fabric, cotton satin ( I´m translating from spanish, maybe the term is different) that I think would look good.

    1 Reply
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      Mar 9, 2012, 08.30 AMby tippiella

      Thank you! Yes, someone else here also recommended cotton sateen so I am going to look for that! :)

  • Tea_party_qui_large

    Mar 8, 2012, 09.29 PMby jacquipardue

    great design! I have a black shirt dress that I think is a cotton blend. I love it but it does wrinkle a bit. Yours is very pretty!

    1 Reply
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      Mar 9, 2012, 08.29 AMby tippiella

      Thank you! :)

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    Mar 8, 2012, 06.01 PMby tirrs

    very lovely!

    1 Reply
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      Mar 8, 2012, 09.20 PMby tippiella

      Thank you!

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    Mar 8, 2012, 01.19 PMby scuffsan

    I agree that a good shirt dress is hard to find. Yours is perfect! I love the skirt, the pleats are lovely and it’s just the right length. Great job!

    1 Reply
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      Mar 8, 2012, 09.20 PMby tippiella

      Thank you so much! :)

  • Ri-twenty-profile-poi_large

    Mar 8, 2012, 10.06 AMby Ri-Twenty

    The dress is lovely, and suits you perfeclty…

    1 Reply
    • Dsc_0664-copy_large

      Mar 8, 2012, 10.31 AMby tippiella

      Thank you! :)

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    Mar 8, 2012, 09.27 AMby freakusbzzz

    Looks fab to me, how about cotton sateen,. It’s my new favourite fabirc.

    2 Replies
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      Mar 8, 2012, 10.31 AMby tippiella

      Thank you for that suggestion, I actually think cotton sateen might be a perfect option! :)

    • 5196510037_0646d0f80e_o_large

      Mar 8, 2012, 04.31 PMby kelepso

      I agree. Cotton sateen might be a good option. It’s one of my favorite fabrics too.

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    Mar 8, 2012, 07.22 AMby Anniemollison

    Really cute.

    1 Reply
    • Dsc_0664-copy_large

      Mar 8, 2012, 08.47 AMby tippiella

      Thank you! :)

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    Mar 8, 2012, 06.42 AMby mixtlii

    I love it! I’ve been willing to make a shirtdress for a while, but my machine doesn’t make buttonholes automatically, so I avoid buttonholes… For summer, I guess you could use shirting fabric (right!), poplin… I don’t know many names of fabrics in english sorry!

    1 Reply
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      Mar 8, 2012, 08.47 AMby tippiella

      I have been avoiding buttonholes too, for the same reason! It turns out my mother’s sewing machine has an automatic buttonhole-maker so I borrowed hers and it took all of five minutes to make a whole row. I am so jealous of that machine! ;)

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    Mar 7, 2012, 10.07 PMby Jolands

    Very Beautiful!!

    1 Reply
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      Mar 8, 2012, 08.44 AMby tippiella

      Thank you! :)

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    Mar 7, 2012, 09.05 PMby kihli

    Your shirt dress looks perfect to me! I am planning to make a very similar one with long sleeves, for which the old guy in my favorite fabric store recommended a sort of crepe satin, made of a lightweight wool synthetic blend. Maybe that would be an option?

    1 Reply
    • Dsc_0664-copy_large

      Mar 8, 2012, 08.44 AMby tippiella

      Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll see what I can find in my local fabric store. :)

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