Make Your Own Basics: The shirt dress

Make Your Own Basics: The shirt dress

In addition to the “little black dress,” I think every closet is well served by the inclusion of a good shirt dress (or shirtdress, if you prefer), whether it’s the ultra-classic knee- or calf-length button-front shirt or any of the million variations thereof in the world. Here are a few good sewing pattern options:

TOP: I’m sure you can find a super standard shirtdress pattern from one of the big companies, or you could lengthen your Archer (the very first MYOB). Grainline has posted a couple of tutorials for Archer+Alder mashups: a super simple one merging Archer on top with Alder on the bottom, or a more involved one fitting the Archer sleeve into Alder’s more tailored bodice (pictured)

MIDDLE LEFT: The Reeta Midi Shirt Dress from Named has a ’70s-safari vibe and drawstring waist

MIDDLE RIGHT: The Factory dress from Merchant and Mills is a popover with a hint of war-era flavor

BOTTOM: And Closet Case Files’ Kalle Shirtdress pattern is a bit trendier box top/shirtdress hybrid

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12 thoughts on “Make Your Own Basics: The shirt dress

  1. When I worked in retail, the head of the fashion department said everyone needs a shirt dress. You can wear it as is or layer another shirt under it. Roll up the sleeves to show the other shirt material and leave a few more buttons undone to show more of the under shirt. Or layer a turtle neck under the dress. It gives it an entirely different look.

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  2. At 65+ my knees no longer make an appearance. I love this on young women and agree it is a wardrobe basic. Done is black and white! Alas, all I can do now is remember.

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  3. I am 70, and find there are still a lot of options. I would wear an open-front shirtdress over a skirt, either buttoned or as a coat dress. A picture of a denim one caught my eye a couple years ago and is on my Pinterest board as inspiration. Got some secondhand denim the other day….

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  4. Et voilà! For those of us looking for something a bit longer, Reeta (a “midi shirt dress”) by Named Clothing just coincidentally popped into my IG feed this morning.

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  5. After admiring the Factory Dress from Merchant & Mills, I followed your link and really enjoyed looking at all of their patterns. I wonder if anyone could tell me the level of difficulty of their patterns.

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    • I’ve made a few patterns from Merchant & Mills. I am a mostly self-taught sewist, and I find their patterns somewhere between easy and difficult. I’m currently working on perfecting the Fielder pattern – I have one shirt dress and one sweatshirt I’ve made, neither of which is perfect, but both of which I wear and each of which I learned from.

      Which is all to say: I love Merchant & Mills patterns a *lot*, and I learning as I go with them.

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  6. Love the shirtdress, works for almost any occasion. I’ve made the Factory dress and several dresses from the old Lisette Traveler dress pattern, Simplicity 2246. Would really like to try Kalle next time.

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