Alex shirtdress

Sew Over It Alex Shirtdress

Howdy folks! I actually have a finished garment post! Gasp!

My lack of proper blogging over the last couple of years means that I have a massive backlog of finished projects to share.

I asked on Instagram last week if people would like me to blog about the finished garments that I haven’t done a proper blog photo shoot of but have a couple of photos of from Outfit of the Day type photos. And people mostly said yes so I’m going to start trying to get through my backlog.

Though today’s post actually has proper photos that I took ages ago but didn’t do anything with. You can tell how old the photos are from how long my hair is. I think I’ve chopped it all off twice since then!

Please excuse the fact that the dress is wrinkled to hell and back. These photos were taken after a day at work and this fabric is very wrinkle prone. You expect less wrinkling from polyester!

I originally bought this fabric to make an epic circle maxi skirt to wear to a wedding but I didn’t check the width and it was too narrow. So I made a pair of Helen’s Closet Winslow culottes palazzo pants instead. They turned out to be perfect for the wedding and meant I had lots of fabric left over. Enter Alex.

I absolutely love the colour of this fabric. It’s my dream green. Green is my favourite colour and it’s surprisingly difficult to find green fabric I like.

I made this dress such a long time ago – 2017 I think – that it’s hard to remember anything useful to say. Apart from the sizing stuff, which is all down the bottom of the post. I seem to remember that the fabric was a bit of a nightmare. It didn’t press well and it frays as soon as you look at it. I struggled to get my sewing machine tension right too.

I used French seams throughout and I bias faced the hemline with the same fabric as the dress.

I did make a self fabric tie but I don’t ever seem to wear it with it. I usually pair it with this tan belt or a silver one I have. I have thought about wearing it unbelted but it’s just a little too sack like. Here it is unbelted:

This photo also highlights the drag lines I get from my bust to my hips. I get these a lot and if after nearly six years of sewing I still don’t fully understand why or what I need to do to fix them. I feel like it means I need a dart but I’m not sure the best way to go about adding one.

In this blog post about the Archer shirt, Siobhan mentions that she lengthened the whole centre front by the amount she was taking out of the side seam with the dart. That makes sense to me and means that you don’t have to faff about shortening the back. So I might give that a go before making this again or the next time I spot the problem.

The details

Pattern: Alex shirtdress from the Sew Over It City Break eBook

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 40

A0 file included? Yes

Measurements: Somewhere around 38.5″ – 31.5″ – 41.5″ at time of photos

Size made: 10 (this is 2 sizes down from the suggested size)

Size range: Bust 33″- 45″, Waist 26″-38″, Hip 36″-48″ (Though there is 8″ ease at the bust, 17″ at the waist and 10″ at the hips so you may be okay if you’re just out of the size range.)

Alterations

Shortened 2″ around waist and 4″ on skirt part so 6″ in total.

Fabric used

Poly crepe from Minerva Crafts. I don’t know how much sorry because I cut most pieces from the offcuts from my palazzo pants rather than actual yardage (I know we buy fabric in metres here but but metreage isn’t a word and meterage means something else, plus yardage just sounds better anyway)

Another version?

Maybe. I have a New Look shirt dress pattern (6449) I’d like to try first.

Any changes next time?

I’d do what I mentioned about adding a bust dart. I’d add a bit of the length back to the skirt as it’s a wee bit skimpy without tights or leggings. There’s probably something to be done around the shoulders and back to improve the fit too.

Any tips or advice 

There was an error with the sleeve tab in the version of the pattern I used but I downloaded the copyshop versions of the patterns when they released them and it had been fixed in that version. So if you downloaded the pattern as soon as the eBook came out like I did I’d download the pattern again. I think half of the tab had been left off.

Final Thoughts

I really love this dress in theory. It’s a lovely colour, it’s super versatile as I can wear it as a top as well as as a dress.

This photo makes me miss that hair colour.

But sadly the fabric makes it a little difficult to wear. It’s thin so it’s better suited to warmer weather but it’s also polyester so the lack of breathability means it not the nicest to wear when it’s warm. That means it doesn’t get worn as often as I’d like.

I still consider it a successful project but I think I need to keep my eyes peeled for a better fabric match.

Christmas presents I made last year

Happy Wednesday folks. Hope you’re all having a nice week. I have one of those rare beasts for you today: a finished garment post! Not a proper one though as I still can’t find the mojo to take photos of myself these days. I don’t know how I’m going to cope with Me Made May! I realised I didn’t share any photos of the things I made for Christmas presents last year, which is daft as I made a point of taking a few snaps before wrapping things.

I made myself a promise after getting myself stressed and miserable the previous year that I wouldn’t make any Christmas presents in December. I didn’t really stick to my promise but I did get everything finished by mid December, which is progress.

Helen’s Closet Suki Kimono

Helen's Closet Suki Kimono

I don’t really wear a dressing gown apart from a ratty old towelling one that I put on when I get out of the shower but the Helen’s Closet fan girl in me still wanted to make a Suki kimono. So my nan got one for Christmas.

It’s another fab pattern, with great instructions and lovely touches. I particularly like the hanging loop and the fact that the ties are sewn on so you can’t lose them. There are two sets of instructions for certain parts – the neckband and the cuffs – depending on whether or not you want your seams enclosed. I chose to enclose them and I used French seams for a nice finish.

Dinosaur tail

A couple of years ago I made my cousin’s little boy a dinosaur tail for Christmas. So when I found out that their little girl likes dinosaurs too (I don’t think big brother gives her much choice) I thought it’d be nice to make her a little tail too. I was sent a lovely photo of the two of them in their tails and apparently she’s been accepted into Clan dinosaur. ETA: There’s a good tutorial on how to make a tail here: http://www.running-w-scissors.com/2011/03/dinosaur-tails.html.

Dinosaur hoody

  

And this hoody is for my cousin’s little boy to go with the dinosaur tail I made him previously. I cut it out the Christmas before last but ran out of time to sew it so I don’t know if it actually fits. I think my mum said she’s seen a photo of him in it but I haven’t. Hopefully he can least hang it from his head as a cape.

Sew Over It Alex shirt dress


Not the best photo and the dress doesn’t actually look that good on her here. I’m sure it looks nicer in real life but she looks a bit swamped in fabric around the shoulders and arms here. I’ll get more photos eventually and I might need to offer to take it in a bit. It is supposed to have a dropped shoulder but they look like they’re hanging a good 2-3″ off Mum’s shoulder.

Christmas cakes

  

Every year I make my mum and nan a Christmas cake each and I curse myself so much for making a rod for my own back every time. My royal icing skills aren’t the best and these looked way better in my head but I’m still pretty pleased with them.

And that’s the lot. I tried not to go too nuts with the plans this time. I think I’m going to try to phase out the handmade gifts from now on though. It’s a lot of unnecessary pressure to put on myself at one of the most stressful time of the year. Maybe I need a “only make things I can’t buy” rule. How about you, do you make handmade gifts? Do you plan 23 different gifts and then only end up making 8?