Monday, 8 June 2015

Pattern Testing: Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress (and a giveaway!)

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in Atelier Brunette Origami Birds Cotton Lawn

So it would seem this is going to be the summer of wearing shirt dresses for me! A couple of months ago the lovely ladies at Sew Over It asked me to test their latest release, the Vintage Shirt Dress. After falling head over heels for their Ultimate Pencil Skirt pattern (I'm still looking for a big vivid floral print to make my third out of!) I jumped at the chance to try this dress. I was also really happy with the way they responded to the tester feedback and how readily they incorporated suggested changes last time and this occasion was no different. As with all their patterns the design is really classic and wearable and features pleats in both the bodice and skirt to give the dress it's shape. I was a little concerned that this style might feel a little too feminine for me as I was keen to make a casual dress and tend not to dress that girly from day to day; but for me personally the skirt has the perfect amount of flare and fullness to avoid feeling over dressed.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in Atelier Brunette Origami Birds Cotton Lawn

I chose the sleeveless version to make a breezy summer dress. I don't own many dresses with anything longer than a short sleeve, I'm not sure why I don't tend to wear them. However, I forget what it was I was watching the other day, but I spotted a stunning navy blue silk shirt dress with three quarter length sleeves which was almost an exact match for this design. I now can't stop thinking about making one in a scrumptious silk moroccan or double crepe...this pattern does eat up a lot of fabric though so I might need to win the lottery first!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in Atelier Brunette Origami Birds Cotton Lawn

As I was testing the pattern sewed up the straight size 8 with no adjustments. The only change I made was to take 1.5" off the length of the skirt and use 1" for the hem to suit my personal length preferences and also my lack of height! I chose the size 8 based on my previous experiences with Sew Over It patterns, despite my measurements falling between the 8 and 10. The finished result doesn't nip in at the waist quite as much as I'd hoped it might so I'd skim an inch or two off of here next time. I should have paid more attention to the finished measurements on the back of the envelope as I would have seen that there is quite a bit of ease included in this area! Other than that I'm really happy with the fit, especially across the shoulders where I often have trouble.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in Atelier Brunette Origami Birds Cotton Lawn

Looking at the side on photo I can see the hem is sitting slightly higher at the front than the back, I think this means I need to look at the length of the front bodice so it's something I'll try and address next time. Getting the waist to fit snuggly will probably help everything sit a little neater too!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in Atelier Brunette Origami Birds Cotton Lawn

I was able to choose my fabric from the Sew Over It online shop and jumped on this Atelier Brunette origami birds cotton lawn. In my quest to make this not too girly I thought this monochrome design was a good choice to give it a bit of edge. I must admit I was a bit rubbish at keeping track of how much yardage I needed for this one but I'd say I used around 2 metres. It's a beautiful quality lightweight cotton that's lovely to sew and wear but I must say I was surprised at how sheer it was when it arrived! I decided that it was going to need lining if I was going to wear it in the sunshine. I used a plain black cotton lawn from Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road for this, it's of almost exactly the same weight so worked perfectly. The plan was to underline the bodice pieces as that seemed easier than trying to draft lining pieces to work with the facing, then use the lawn as a separate lining in the skirt. However I changed my mind at the last minute and underlined the skirt pieces too to give them a bit more structure and body than the warty quality the two separate layers would have had.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in Atelier Brunette Origami Birds Cotton Lawn

As I had two layers of fabric going on I deliberated for a while about using interfacing on the collar and facing pieces as I didn't want them to end up too thick and stiff. I decided to use the lightest weight interfacing I could get my hands on and am pleased with that choice as it's helped that front placket and buttons sit nice and securely. Now I've got some experience with sewing under my belt I'm fully on board with the appreciation for the difference good quality interfacing makes so for this project I purchased some from Maculloch & Wallis on Poland Street. They had a great selection, all of good quality and this particular one was £4.30/m which I didn't find too unreasonable for a central London supplier.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in Atelier Brunette Origami Birds Cotton Lawn

The buttons are just simple white shirt buttons from my stash. I laid out black ones at first because I wasn't sure that I wanted to make a feature of them but I felt the white ones gave the whole dress a lift and brought out the design. While I'm thinking about buttons Emmie posted a great tip about how she prevented gaping between the buttons at the waistline of her version of this dress. Well worth checking out!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in Atelier Brunette Origami Birds Cotton Lawn

All in all I had a great experience with the test version of this pattern. I had very few comments to make and found the instructions and illustrations to be very clear. You end up with a beautiful clean finish inside too; the armholes are finished with bias tape, the facing is under-stitched and the hem and the facing end up meeting super tidily as you can see above. I think this would be a great project to tackle if you've got some simple garments under your belt and fancy tackling some new techniques like a straightforward collar and buttonholes.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in Atelier Brunette Origami Birds Cotton Lawn

If you've fallen a little bit in love with this pattern I've got some good news for you! Sew Over It have provided me with a copy of the pattern to giveaway to one of you and also a voucher code for a 20% discount off the pattern from their online shop. I've been a bit tardy about getting the photos done for this post so unfortunately the code is only valid until Wednesday 10th June at midnight GMT but there's still time if you get on it quick! Just enter FIONA20VSD at the checkout.

If you would like to enter the giveaway just leave a comment on this post before midnight GMT on Saturday 13th June. Please make sure to leave your email address if it is not easily visible in your profile so I can contact the winner on Sunday. If you'd like to tell me what fabric you'd ideally sew this pattern up in too then I'd love to know! Good luck!

101 comments:

  1. I just love this pattern! Shirtwaists are one of my favorite types of dresses and are really great for any occasion. I've never made one though! I've just been too scared, lol. This one has lovely details though, so I think it would be a great one to try. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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  2. I love your dress! I had the same problem with the sheerness of this fabric.
    I would love to sew this dress in chambray, that's my new fabric obsession :)

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  3. So beautiful! I love the monochrome print, you are right it makes the dress a lot less girly. I would make the dress in a light weight cotton, perfect for summer

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  4. Wow, that fabric is gorgeous! I'd love to win a copy of this, I've been looking for a classic shirt dress pattern. I would make up the long sleeved version in some tartan wool crepe I have stashed (since its winter here), and would maybe make it in white cotton eyelet for summer...

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    1. Whoops, forgot my email address...its kirsten.mines(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. Oh, what a lovely dress! I love your fabric choice! I would sew it in Liberty cotton lawn called Morris I have been hoarding.

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  6. That looks so cute! I love the fabric choice. I've never made a shirtdress before, but maybe I would choose a chambray?

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  7. Beautiful dress! I love your choice of fabric too and would definitely wear one just the same :) I have some lovely house print cotton I've been hoarding - winning this pattern would be a good enough reason to break it out I think! Thanks for the chance x

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  8. Oooh I love this! Would be perfect for a holiday dress. I love all over the sewover it patterns though! tabbyh@live.co.uk

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  9. Love this dress –it's so adorable! I would love to sew this up in a nice lawn, or even rayon :) sstingaling[at]gmail[dot]com

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  10. I may try this dress with a floral red cotton...

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  11. This looks soooo good. It looks so professional and I think the fabric is perfect. Makes it just casual enough, but still feminine.

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  12. I absolutely love every version of this dress I've seen so far and yours is no exception. Great fabric choice and it's really useful to hear how you underlined it. I seem to have a knack for picking fabrics that are marginally too sheer to leave unlined!

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  13. BeautifulWell done. Pls enter me for your give away;)
    yomiwoghiren@yahoo.com

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  14. Great fabric choice. I'm wondering how it would look in a double gauze

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  15. Looks great! I love the two - tone version she is showing that makes it look like separates. I might have to try that some day!

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  16. I loved this pattern, and your dress is beautiful! Thanks for the giveway! tatimaio@yahoo.com.br

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  17. I've seen so many wonderful versions of this dress over the last few days, yours included.

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  18. I love the pattern and your fabric is absolutely gorgeous - I would love to completely copy it (if that isnt too weird!)

    Louise
    louise at fate16 dotcom

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  19. What a lovely version of this dress. I'd love to win a copy of the pattern. Catherine_turney@hotmail.com

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  20. oooh I love your dress! I think the print perfectly stops it being twee and dresses it down enough that you can wear it every day! I would love to win a copy of the pattern :-)

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  21. Adorable dress. Love the fabric! alice.lam1@gmail.com

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  22. My go to is a rayon challis. Rainpatter at gmail

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  23. I'd like to make one in a fine cotton like you did. Love your black interlining.

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  24. Gorgeous make - your finishings look so beautiful and professional!

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  25. Great dress! The fabric and pattern combination is perfect. And thanks for linking to that waist gape tip- genius!

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  26. This is looking like it's going to be a popular pattern - I certainly wouldn't mind my own copy. Your's is a very lovely version. Lyn (donny_born@hotmail.com

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  27. I love it! I haven't yet tried any of Sew Over It's patterns, but I love their design. Thanks for the giveaway! youngseamstress (at) gmail (dot) com

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  28. Such a cute pattern - love your version! I'd love to make a sleeveless one in linen!

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  29. I have a large scale plaid set aside for a shirt dress and this pattern may be the one I've been waiting for.

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  30. Looks lovely and a great pattern. I'm very keen on a cream version with sleeves like Lisa's in the sample photo too. (ville.emma@gmail.com)

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  31. Beautiful pattern. I'd try it in chambray. 87laia@gmail (dot) com

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  32. wow this looks beautiful and i really love your fabric choice. i have a lot of different fabrics in my stash which could work well with this pattern but i think a cotton retro red fabric might be the one.

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  33. Lovely! Great way to do my first shirt collar :)

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  34. Your dress is gorgeous! I love the fabric and the white buttons. I don't know what fabric I would use for it, but thank you for the chance of winning the pattern!

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  35. Ooh yes please. I got a cloud 9 biology print for my birthday which would be perfect for this.
    Louise _m_reed@yahoo.co.uk

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  36. This is lovely. I love your choice of material, pretty without being foofie.
    I could see this being a 'go to' pattern for my work wardrobe, as a T.A. I actually have a pretty white cotton, with tiny rose buds, sitting in my stash, which would be great with this. Either that or a navy cotton with a tiny Paisley print (I like tiny prints ;-) in pink.

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  37. This is a beautiful pattern, looks perfect to teach myself button holes.
    No Idea what I'd make this dress up in. Maybe a really crazy wax print?

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  38. I love that Atelier Brunette fabric. Shame it is so sheer!

    Please count me in for the giveaway. Thanks!

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  39. Gorgeous pattern. I would sew it in a lightweight chambray.
    Amanda
    black-amanda@hotmail.com

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  40. Your dress looks lovely. I've been looking at this pattern and wondering about it. I've also been looking at the Redbirds design at Print me Pretty - I'm not sure whether it would work as a shirt dress, but it might ...
    I'm always impressed by your workmanship - your dress looks so well put together! I think you're right about the white buttons, too. They just lift the dress and bring out the design. Good choice! (Not sure if my email address is obvious - it's admin@printmepretty.co.uk. Thanks for the giveaway!)

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  41. Oh wow, this is just gorgeous Fiona! I love the white buttons, as you say they make the origami cranes pop. I was going to say I'd use one of the many floral lawns that I have in my collection, or a graduated dot border print chambray. But Alex has mentioned wax print and I can see that really working well, so that's a possibility too! I do need some more solid coloured items though, so I may go for something more neutral... This would work really well with feeding Boy J as well as being great for work (if I rein myself in on the print front!). Gotta find some time to sew first though!!

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  42. What a beautiful dress Fiona. And what a beautiful fabric: I love the folded birds (they look a bit like folded cranes. Thanks for the link to Emmie. I've I'm going to be the lucky winner of this giveaway I'm definitely trying het method.

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  43. I love this dress and have wanted to take the class forever but just have not been able to make it work. So glad to have the opportunity to buy (or win!) the pattern! I would love to make it in something like the yellow fabric Lisa used for the photos on her site for the class.

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  44. gorgeous dress and great print! would love the pattern!

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  45. I have loved every single version of this dress I have seen. If I was to make it I'd like to use a striped cotton, to sort of suggest a man's shirt.
    my email is retro-wren@hotmail.co.uk

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  46. I love it! I have a Morrocan tile print fabric in my stash that would suit this dress perfectly!

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  47. Perfect dress and fabric combo
    jrattrie@hotmail.co.uk

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  48. Oh, I'd love to try out this pattern, looks gorgeous! :-) I'd make it up in a pretty black and green floral sateen I have in my stash, with green buttons. :-)

    macska at gmail dot com

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  49. Love this version...I agree that the monochrome is feminine without being too twee. I'm itching to make a plain navy shirtdress for this summer. I have the shoes already to go...just haven't found the fabric yet. Much as I'd love silk, it's going to have to be a lightweight cotton for practicalities sake.

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  50. Love the dress! I have this fabric too bit haven't used it yet due to it being more sheer than I expected. I really want a shirt dress for summer now, maybe in a Chambray!

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  51. Ooh, I've spent all my money on holiday sewing so would love to be in with a chance of winning a copy! Otherwise will have to dig down the back of my sofa for some pennies... :) I like the fabric you've chosen - am working with some Atelier Brunette lawn from Sew Over It too at the moment and it's gorgeous stuff! For this I think I'd opt for tiny polka dots... Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! nina.chang at cantab.net

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  52. Is looks amazing and I would so like tto make my own as soon as I get some personal sewing time. mail at docksjo dot com

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  53. I love your dress, it looks great on you as it is. I would love to make this dress for myself in a darkish, small flowery cotton I have in my stash. Thank you for hosting the giveaway. annmarshalluk@gmail.com

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  54. I'm sold! Your dress is adorable :)

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  55. Beautiful! The pattern and fabric go so well together! sewingandmore@gmail.com

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  56. LOVE your version. The more I see of this pattern the more I want it! I think I'd make mine a light floral cotton for summer!

    prairiegirl1971 {at} hotmail {dot} ca

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  57. It sure looks nice and I would love to make one myself. So count me in!
    paivi.ahlfors@suomi24.fi

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  58. I would love to make this pattern for my daughter in a light colored solid. She's not much of a print girl.

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  59. Wow, I love this dress. I wasn't bothered about this pattern before but now I've seen your dress I'm thinking again!!

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  60. Beautiful dress! I love the little origami birds - so cute!

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  61. I have been wanting to make up a shirt dress. Yours is gorgeous. casehanks(at)gmail(dot)com

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  62. This is a fantastic pattern, and a fantastic dress! I love the print too. I think I'd definitely make one in quite a solid colour cotton, something really bright for summer days! Email is katie.colledge@gmail.com

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  63. Great choice of fabric. Love to win this pattern.

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  64. There are a few sewists making this dress: yours is one of the best. I just ordered the pattern for myself this past week. Cannot wait for it to arrive and am deliberating between two choices of fabric: one with small flowers in taupe and cream, one navy blue with Queen Anne's Lace on it. Either way, this is a stunning little dress. You look great in your creation!

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  65. So so pretty, but not too girly! I tend to avoid vintage-inspired patterns but this looks so cool and modern in this fabric.

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  66. You've made this beautifully and great review thank you. Would love to win this pattern, I'd make it up in the green peacock feather fabric I have in my stash. sarahlouwils(at)iCloud(dot)com

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  67. I love this pattern and your fabric choice, lots of love really x jennie.glaze@live.co.uk

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  68. So so lovely, the more I see this dress the more I think I may just go and get the pattern! Definitely gonna make it in rayon, I do love the selection from the sewoverit website. Fingers crossed, my email is megan_carter_@hotmail.com :)

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  69. Lovely dress - I must take a deep breath and jump into doing buttonholes - haven't attempted them for years!

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  70. Lovely dress and fabric!!! I'd love to win the pattern. Fingers crossed. steameverdine@gmail.com

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  71. I love the thought you put into your projects - balancing the girliness with your fabric and color choices really worked, it looks like a dress you could easily wear every day. I also love the origami crane print!

    Personally, I love a nice bright shirtdress for summer and I've been looking for a good pattern to make a sunshine-yellow dress, so a crisp cotton in yellow would be my ideal fabric. My e-mail is brigid.l.randolph(at)gmail(dot)com.

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  72. Your dress looks lovely on you, thanks for the giveaway. avril_corbett@yahoo.co.uk

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  73. I love this pattern and too be honest I think I would choose a fabric very similar to yours as I am trying to make more dresses that go with black tights. Fingers crossed I win...my email address is beccaneale22@hotmail.co.uk

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  74. LOVE the fabric! It's perfect for that dress.

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  75. This looks like the perfect summer dress. Just enough of a slowing skirt without feeling like it's too much. Love the whole style.

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  76. You dress is lovely. I'd love to have a go myself, think it would be a bit of a challenge! Thanks for the giveaway.

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  77. This pattern keeps popping up and catching my eye. I think for summer a lovely cool lawn would be in order!

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  78. Oh my gosh, I'm in love with your version of this dress, that fabric works so well! Please include me in your giveaway janettaplanetta@gmail.com

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  79. Your dress looks fabulous - I think it would look great in a lightweight denim too, that would be my choice.

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  80. Cotton chambray would be my choice. jenny larking at gmail dot com

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  81. I love the fabric you used... I'm currently trying to reduce my stash, so I would use an African wax print from Nigeria - dark brown, turquoise and orange flowers and shapes on a beige ground, perfect for summer! (elentari95@yahoo.com)

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  82. The pattern looks great, and your make from it suits you really well and looks very professional. I'd love to win a copy of the pattern.

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  83. Loove your dress and love the pattern!!

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  84. I wasn't sure about the pattern, but you definitely convinced me. It looks like the kind of dress my mum would wear all summer, when I was little. I would turn it in a comfort dress to wear when I desperately want it to be summer. Without sleeves and in a distressed linen. A dusky violet or a earthy yellow, the kind of colour I can only wear when I am tanned. Thanks for the giveaway. Valentina - valemarconi(at)tiscali(dot)it

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  85. I would LOVE an amazing shirt-dress pattern! I would make it out of something light an summery, like a white eyelet! Thanks for hosting the give-away! artgirlrachel at gmail.com

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  86. This dress is completely adorable. I love sleeveless dresses - they're so comfortable. I spotted the most fabulous white and coral ombre geometric-printed fabric in a market recently. I'd love to make it into this dress.

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  87. Sleeveless shirtdresses are the best, and the pleats and fabric make this one especially gorgeous! Classic but still unique. I'd probably make it up in rayon challis (preferably floral) to keep cool in the summer. (fledglingsfirst@gmail.com)

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  88. This dress looks fabulous on you, I love the fabric that you chose. Shirt dresses are on my mind lately since I am 7 and half months pregnant and shirt dresses are perfect for nursing in (which I will be doing for the next year). I would love to try making the sleeved version in a wool fabric for winter.

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  89. I've been wanting to make a shirt dress for a while now and your version of this pattern has sold it for me!! I'd LOVE to make it in a crisp navy blue and white gingham!! email is kate-perry(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  90. I love the fabric you used! I've been meaning to make a shirt dress for a while now, and this seems like a perfect opportunity.

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  91. I love shirt dresses and this pattern looks beautiful! Nice fabric choice

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  92. Absolutely beautiful dress! Congratulations. You have a great talent!

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  93. This looks so very cute on you! I mean, everything does, but this looks PARTICULARLY cute!

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  94. Oh, this is lovely on you! Makes me want to buy the pattern and give it a try. It looks like it could work with my narrow shoulders and small B bust... May I ask what your upper bust and full bust measurements are?

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    1. Thanks Sofia, it's a cracking little classic style which end up beautifully finished so I recommend it! I have small shoulders too and didn't have to do any adjusting in that area. I wear a D cup bra but my full and upper bust measurements aren't that different 34" and 32.5". I hope that's helpful!

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    2. Thanks for the reply!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!